ETLA Discussion Papers, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy (ETLA) 1277
In Finland access to public sector information (PSI) is guaranteed in the Constitution as part of the freedom of information. This provision focuses upon the citizen's right to access PSI; it does not cover the re-utilization of PSI for non-commercial or commercial purposes. The re-use of PSI is constricted by copyright law which only permits accessing copyrighted documents and using them for limited judicial and administrative purposes. The copyright protection in Finland is exceptionally extensive covering in practice all public sector information, since in addition to the EU sui generis database protection the law also provides for a catalogue protection which covers all databases and other collections of data in which great amounts of information is stored. Moreover, the pricing of public sector information has been prohibitively high and non-transparent. The extensive copyright protection and high pricing causes legal uncertainty with respect to further utilization of PSI. These issues are also interconnected because it is uncertain whether the high prices relate to licensing of copyrights in the information or recovering costs from the services. The study recommends adopting general open licenses for licensing re-use of public sector information. These licenses should be both legally and technically interoperable with licenses used in Europe and elsewhere in the world so that the Finnish PSI can be securely licensed for world-wide uses. Empirical evidence shows that the public sector wishes to guarantee the copyright attribution in their information which would make the future Creative Commons 4.0 attribution license a good option for a general license used in licensing PSI in Finland. It is also possible to draft a national license along the lines of the Norwegian or Spanish licenses if deemed necessary by the public sector. Smooth functioning of the PSI -re-use sector, both commercial and non-commercial would also require some legislative back-up.