Enabling Access and Reuse of Public Sector Information in Canada: Crown Commons Licenses, Copyright, and Public Sector Information
University of Ottawa – Common Law Section
October 14, 2010
Although the proactive disclosure of public sector information has been called a “basic right of citizens” and a “public right,” Canada has not yet implemented a national strategy to support public access to public sector information and enable its reuse. Public sector information, which is information created by government in the course of governing, is essential for transparency, accountability, democratic participation, and citizen engagement. This article examines public sector information and analyzes developments in Canada and other jurisdictions to promote its public access and reuse. It discusses the extent to which public sector information has been integrated into copyright reform efforts and, where public sector information is copyright protected, it discusses the mechanisms available within the copyright framework to facilitate public access and reuse of public sector information, focusing in particular on licensing. In Canada, Crown copyright restrictions and complicated licensing limit access to public sector information. The article recommends that Canada establish a centralized portal for open government data and implement Crown Commons licenses, which together would advance the objective of open government data by ensuring that public sector information is accessible online in usable formats, easily found, and not encumbered by restrictive Crown copyright licensing conditions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 45
Keywords: public sector information, open government data, government data, open access, Crown Copyright, Creative Commons, copyright