Wanted to share an interesting piece from the BBC by technology reporter Michael Cross on efforts in Europe to make taxpayer-funded data free and open to everyone in the interests of creating jobs. I especially love this part:
Ms Kroes proposed widening a 2003 European directive on the re-use of
public sector information to make it a "general rule" that all
documents produced by public bodies can be re-used for any purpose, and
that public bodies should not be allowed to levy charges for their data
apart from the cost of meeting the specific request.
In the digital age, this will normally be zero.
The new rules, which could come in to force by 2013 if the
directive is approved by member states and the European Parliament,
would also require museums, libraries and public archives to open their
data for free re-use.
Seems like the attitude shift alone would be huge for those of us looking to acquire and do meaningful work with this data.