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

James McKinney james at opennorth.ca
Thu Apr 3 14:30:55 UTC 2014

>> - we are asked by the commission to include a business plan to make this
>> independent and sustainable.
> i think this is the real challenge in this project. i have the strong
> suspicion that self-sustainability is incompatible with an ethical licensing
> of the data.
>> Of course, this will rather go into a social
>> entrepreneurship direction, but still, something has to come in someday to
>> keep it running. We are currently thinking of models like in the Linux
>> world (RedHat, Ubuntu) but we are really grateful for any ideas or links to
>> successful projects!!!
> the only successful models i know are based on national monopolies over such
> data. or selling expertise to various lobby interests groups, you can chose
> between getting paid well from industry, or feeling good for civil society.
>> - being open means also that we will somehow include commercial partners if
>> they want 
> would that mean, that some participants to democratic governance would be
> facing financial barriers to full participation? what percentage would be
> affected of european citizens? would this enable some other actors to escalate
> their privileges over the excluded ones?

Hmm, that’s strange, I thought there was a self-sustainable alternative that is compatible with ethical licensing, that does not require a monopoly or selling services exclusive to lobby groups, and that maintains free access for all… Oh, right, the Free Access to Law Movement! Wow, look at that! Since the Legal Information Institute was founded in 1992 at Cornell, these have sprung up all over the world: http://www.fatlm.org/ In Canada, CanLII is great.

> If you're not entering the data into the public domain

Not all countries have a legal concept of “public domain.” You cannot assign works to the public domain in Canada, and you can’t remove someone else’s copyright, just like that. All laws in Canada have copyright protection, automatically, with no option to waive copyright. It would require a change to a federal statute to change that. In Canada, we find other ways of making data available for free to the public - without entering data into public domain, because that’s impossible / doesn’t even make sense in Canadian law.


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