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Rules for the re-use of Commission information

News: 22/11/2012

The Commission is itself a producer and holder of public sector information, which could be re-used in added-value information products. It needs to set an examply by applying the same set of rules that it would like to be implemented on Member State level.  

In December 2011 the Commission adopted therefore a revised Decision on the re-use of Commission documents.

The decision on the re-use of Commission documents has the following key features:

As a default rule, reuse has to be allowed for non-commercial and commercial purposes

  • without the need for an individual application,
  • without charging the reuser;
  • without putting conditions on the reuse and
  • without discriminating between reusers.

Each of these features is subject only to limited, duly justified exceptions.

The decision does, however, not apply to:

  • Software or documents covered by industrial property rights (such as patents, trademarks etc)
  • Documents for which the Commission is not in a position to allow re-use in view of intellectual property rights of third parties
  • Documents made accessible to a party under specific rules governing privileged access to documents.

The Commission first decision of 7 April 2006 on reuse of Commission documents already went beyond the provisions of the 2003 PSI Directive. The changes introduced by the revised 2011 decision are therefore limited. New features of the improved decision of 2011 include:

  • Research information of the Joint Research Centre will be covered by the Commission's re-use policy, and
  • Machine-readable formats will become the norm.