[License-discuss] OPEN Government Data Act signed into law in US

Christopher Sean Morrison brlcad at mac.com
Tue Jan 15 22:12:17 UTC 2019

Relevant to the recent discussions about Government Open Source issues, the US federal government just signed the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act into law as part of HR4174 (Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act).  More details at https://www.datacoalition.org/open-government-data-act/ and the actual law can be read at https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/4174/text (see Title II)

For anyone that hasn’t been watching closely, this has been in the works for about 3-4 years now, survived the change of administration and was signed into law yesterday.  It’s related to efforts like code.gov, code.mil, and a handful of executive directives that have been blazing a path towards more Open Source and Open Data from the U.S. federal government.

Some of the more salacious bits relevant to this group and open source licensing are the definitions in section 202:

“(20) the term ‘open Government data asset’ means a public data asset that is—

“(A) machine-readable;
“(B) available (or could be made available) in an open format;
“(C) not encumbered by restrictions, other than intellectual property rights, including under titles 17 and 35, that would impede the use or reuse of such asset; and
“(D) based on an underlying open standard that is maintained by a standards organization;

“(21) the term ‘open license’ means a legal guarantee that a data asset is made available—

“(A) at no cost to the public; and
“(B) with no restrictions on copying, publishing, distributing, transmitting, citing, or adapting such asset;

“(22) the term ‘public data asset’ means a data asset, or part thereof, maintained by the Federal Government that has been, or may be, released to the public, including any data asset, or part thereof, subject to disclosure under section 552 of title 5;


More information about the License-discuss mailing list