[Publicwhip-playing] Re: [geo-discuss] Re: [Openstreetmap] Coders
needed for similar project & UK FOI act request update.
francis at flourish.org
Mon Nov 14 10:33:59 GMT 2005
On Fri, Nov 11, 2005 at 01:57:22AM +0000, James Cronin wrote:
> I'm sorry, this is probably something I don't fully understand, but
> I don't see why information being released to you under FOI necessarily
> places it free of copyright and hence into the public domain?
> I'm not a lawyer but I've had a go at reading around this and can't
> see that you'd be granted any additional rights to use data released
> in this way over and above any that you had already just because it was
> disclosed to you under FOI?
> Surely it's the rights that you want (or rather the right to further
> distribute without inhibition) not the actual data itself. So I can't
> see why this FOI request is relevant to what you want to achieve.
1) Because anybody else can make the same request.
[ In my opinion, it is stupid that rights to reproduce are not
automatically given to FOIed data, as you can post instructions on how
to get the data (send this letter to this department), which is almost
as good. ]
2) Because they then have the data, and can just publish it and wait
to be sued, much as we did with Hansard. Currently, they don't have
the data at all. Politically (not legally), I think being attacked for
publishing boundaries of electoral areas would make a good story, and
be easy to defend.
Oh, and more simply
3) They have personal access to the data and can use it indirectly for
their own projects. e.g. Retrace the boundaries using those and the SI
as a guide. Or do some analysis and generate data from that the
boundaries - e.g. cross reference first parts of postcodes (whose
lookup to lat/long is public now I believe) to electoral area, and
produce a free partial version of maPit.
> The boundary data isn't secret. FOI was meant to prevent stuff from
> unnecessarily being secret rather than forcing everything to be free?
Yes, I believe they can reject the request because the data is
available, even though you have to pay for it. Not sure though.
In contrast, my request for statute law is asking for secret data
http://www.flourish.org/foi/2005-09-20-pimms/, because the official
government copy of statute law is currently unavailable to anybody
IANAL (I am not a lawyer)
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