Directive on the re-use of public sector information
The Directive on the re-use of public sector information provides a common legislative framework to a previously unregulated European public sector information market. It is built around 2 key pillars of the internal market: transparency and fair competition.
It focuses on the economic aspects of information rather than the access of citizens to information. It encourages the Member States to make as much information available for re-use as possible.
It addresses material held by public sector bodies in the Member States, at national, regional and local levels.
Examples of public sector bodies: ministries, state agencies, municipalities, as well as organisations funded for the most part by or under the control of public authorities, such as the national meteorological institutes.
Date of adoption: 17 November 2003. It entered into force on 31 December 2003.
State of implementation: On 8 May 2008, all 27 Member States had notified the Commission that they had fully implemented the Directive.
Review of the Directive:
The review of the Directive is one of the key actions of the "Digital Agenda for Europe"
In 2009, the Commission reviewed the way in which EU PSI rules were being applied, which confirmed that PSI-re use has been on the rise but also that to realise the full potential of PSI for the EU economy, EU Member States must remove remaining barriers to re-use.
Revision of the Directive: In December 2011, the Commission presented a proposal to revise the Directive.
What information does it cover?
It covers written texts, databases, audio files and film fragments.
What information is excluded from the Directive?
It does not apply to the educational, scientific, broadcasting and cultural sectors.
Issues covered by the Directive
Procedures to deal with requests for re-use.
- Documents should be available for re-use in all formats and languages in which the information exists.
- Where possible, the material shall be made available by electronic means.
- Requests for re-use shall be processed, documents shall be made available or, if a licence is needed, the licence offer shall be finalised within a specific timeframe.
- Practical tools should be provided to find the available material for re-use more easily, e.g. lists of information assets or portal sites.
- Charges cannot exceed a certain ceiling. The calculation of the ceiling is based on costs incurred to produce the information, together with a reasonable return on investment.
- Lower charges (or no charges at all) can certainly be applied. Public sector bodies are encouraged to do so.
- On request, public sector bodies must indicate the method used to calculate charges.
- Transparency of conditions the re-use of public sector information.
- Charges and other conditions have to be pre-established and published.
- Clear information on the grounds for refusal in case of negative decisions, and on means of redress to complain about decisions that affect applicants.
Non-discrimination: conditions for re-use shall be non-discriminatory for comparable categories of re-use.
Cross-subsidies: cross-subsidies are prohibited. If public bodies re-use their own documents to produce added-value services in competition with other re-users, equal charges and other conditions must apply to all of them.
No exclusive arrangements:
- Exclusive arrangements are prohibited.
- In exceptional circumstances exclusive rights may be authorised if they are necessary to provide services in the public interest.
- Availability of standard licences, in digital format.
- Licences should not unnecessarily restrict possibilities for re-use or be used to restrict competition.