Informatica e diritto, XXXVII Annata, Vol. XX, 2011, n. 1-2, pp. 199-217

Donatella Solda-Kutzman

Public Sector Information Commons

Le licenze Creative Commons per il settore pubblico

Riassunto: Lo scopo del presente saggio č di esaminare il regime applicabile a dati e informazioni detenuti dal settore pubblico. In particolare, il fondamento teorico del diritto d'autore e del diritto sui generis applicabile alla PSI č valutato alla luce dei diversi interessi insistenti sui dati pubblici: in particolare il titolo in base al quale la pubblica amministrazione applica termini e condizioni d'uso sull'informazione che detiene č analizzato e confrontato con le giustificazioni a fondamento delle esclusive autoriali tradizionalmente attribuite allo scopo di incentivare l'efficiente e sostenibile creazione e disseminazione di contenuti. L'esame intende contribuire al dibattito sulla potenzialitą dell'attuale regime di tutelare tutti gli interessi coinvolti ovvero se sussista uno sbilanciamento a favore del sistema autoriale a detrimento degli ulteriori interessi sociali e democratici realizzabili attraverso l'accesso e condivisione della PSI.

Abstract: In Europe, information or documents produced and/or managed by the State or other public bodies are governed by rules of various nature. For what relates to copyright, contrary to US federal information which is all placed in public domain, European legal systems provide that only some of PSI contents might enter the public domain (as defined within a copyright regime) through the effect of the rule of exclusion for official acts, while much other governmentally-produced information might still be copyrighted, and thereafter licensed to further users. For what relates to access, it is a constant of democratic systems to implement statutory rights to stimulate openness of government information and, by doing so, to stimulate the democratic participation of citizens. The policies of dissemination adopted are usually of two kinds: so-called passive dissemination implies an (enforceable) right for a subject to access to information on request. Active dissemination means that the information is publicly available on the basis of a direct initiative of the public body. Copyright and access regimes are supposed to coexist without overlapping, being copyright norms employed for boundaries on further re-use. However in the case of passive dissemination, even if copyright and access are not hierarchically ordered, IPRs may still affect the terms of disclosure of public contents. Copyright and freedom of expression regimes in relation to PSI, on the contrary, do overlap: the regulations on the re-use of PSI specifically safeguards copyright exclusives. The typical consequence is that PSIH are entitled with a discretionary right to regulate the terms of re-use of PSI. To fulfil the HR claims applicable to PSI, the research proposes to investigate the compatibility of copyright ownership on PSI with the traditional justifications of IPRs and subsequently explore an alternative scheme for the protection of PSI neutral to access to and freedom of information rights. Government-produced information, because of its peculiar nature, does not appear to require copyright protection as a financial incentive for its creation or management since PSI is anyway produced notwithstanding the attribution of a right on it; nor copyright on PSI seems to be needed to avoid market failure, as governmental intervention is normally seen as a remedy against it. In relation to HR, the discretionary power of the Public Sector Information Holder (PSIH) to grant a licence to use PSI seems at odds with the general access to information and freedom of expression rights. Therefore, the equilibrium between copyright ownership and HR in the case of PSI looks then unfairly unbalanced towards copyright. To this regard, the paradigm of the so-called Information commons shall be considered. Information commons intended as a "regulated open access" legal scheme may realise the challenging goal of rebalancing concurrent interests on PSI. In the alternative system, the agreement granting the use of PSI would be non-transactional and non discriminatory, thus fully realising the goals of access to information. Also, the system would switch from royalty-based to compensation for use, by this degrading copyright exclusives in a hypothesis of "paying public domain": the agreement, similar to compulsory licensing but shaped on the theory of liability rules, would allow a greater accomplishment of freedom of expression claims.

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