[Open-Legislation] openlaws.eu EU Project starting today

JOSEFSSON Erik erik.josefsson at europarl.europa.eu
Thu Apr 3 13:05:18 UTC 2014

Everybody wants to "involve the community", but what does that mean in practice?

I am sorry I let old frustrations spill over on your project, but legal matters matters in the start-up phase since it signals where you want to go, who you want to work with and where you hope there will be uptake.

We have AT4AM as a tragic example of where despite the clear legal advice from FSFE on licencing[0], the EP still did not trust the warnings from the few people who were the drivers behind the release of the source in the first place. Additionally, when one Swedish NGO was able to run AT4AM on their own server[1], the development on the EP side was terminated.

Another example is the Citizens Initiative platform where the Commission was happy to talk the talk, but was unable to walk the walk.

The folks behind http://europarl.me are still struggling with issues regarding private companies having privileged access to raw data. Parltrack and memopol were built with, and as a result of, community efforts. There are many projects needing helping hands to make those tools deliver even more functionality to the community that created them.

I'd love to see some reach out to people that has actually already built real applications.

Best regards.


[0] http://www.epfsug.eu/blog-entry/delivering-vision-at4am-all
[1] https://at4am.eu/pipermail/at4am/2013-June/000064.html

From: Clemens Wass [mailto:clemens at wass.at]
Sent: 03 April 2014 14:24
To: Francis Davey
Cc: Jörn Erbguth; JOSEFSSON Erik; open-legislation
Subject: Re: [Open-Legislation] openlaws.eu EU Project starting today

Dear all,

thank you for sharing your thoughts!

@Sander: yes, the idea is really to involve the community to a very large extent right from the beginning. This means that not everything is ready or perfect. Actually I am happy that we already have a project website...

@Francis: great, thx for this information. We have two partners from the UK on board, because of the excellent UK databases. Same for Austria. In Austria we have all legislation in the database. On an Austrian state level laws are even electronically published in a binding/authentical way (here the print version is only a copy; not yet for the federal states). Case law for the high courts is quite ok, but not everything is published. Currently only state law is available as open data (therefore we will run a standard search engine to somehow integrate the rest).

We have a new App for Austrian law in the pipeline. The current version we have is a little slow and not really user-friendly... I'll keep you up to date on this.

Regarding the project itself: The idea is really to integrate several open legal databases and provide tools so that people can better organize and work with that content. This will include linking, highlighting, creating personal folders, etc. This way we try to get some more metadata which then can be analyzed. Our internal capacities are rather limited, but I really hope that by providing open interfaces etc, the community will also use the platform to link additional databases (which is quite some effort) and to provide additional modules.

Apart from the ICT platform we will also come up with a policy recommendation for DG Justice. What could open mean in the legal world? Towards more transparency, collaboration, participation...

I would be really grateful for any comment, either on a technological or on a policy level! So please send your ideas and share it with the rest of the mailing list. The sooner the better. If before April 12, I will be happy to take it to the kick-off for discussion!



2014-04-02 22:36 GMT+02:00 Francis Davey <fjmd1a at gmail.com<mailto:fjmd1a at gmail.com>>:
2014-04-02 21:04 GMT+01:00 Jörn Erbguth <joern at erbguth.net<mailto:joern at erbguth.net>>:

However preliminary solutions tend to persist and I know more than one project that claimed to be open but in fact stuck to at first preliminary proprietary solutions till the end. I think that Eriks mail could serve you as a good reminder not to do that.

We have a publicly available database of court decisions (www.bailii.org<http://www.bailii.org>) run by an industry-funded charity. It is very much not open and its existence make it much more difficult to make real progress on making the underlying data open.

Francis Davey

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