The revised PSI Directive – European Commission publishes guidelines on re-use of public sector information

by White & Case LLP

[co-author: Mathias Bogusch]

On July 17th, 2014, the European Commission published guidelines[1] for the re-use of public sector information ("PSI"). These guidelines shall support the EU Member States in the transposition of the 2013 revision[2] of the so called "PSI Directive"[3], and to encourage the re-use of public sector information especially in the digital market.

The PSI Directive was adopted in 2003 to make public sector information, such as weather data, traffic data, property asset data or maps, more easily accessible to third parties. Public sector information can be used for innovative value-added services and products, such as mobile apps, by using the data as basis for the services and/or products. This can lead to significant economy growth and is capable of increasing the accountability and transparency of the administrative and governmental practice.

Even after the PSI Directive came into force, interested parties faced difficulties in gaining access to and use PSI. Reasons were the fragmentation of the original PSI Directive's transposition into national law and ambiguities affecting its interpretation and a certain hesitation of public sector authorities to disclose PSI. Against this background, the PSI Directive was revised in 2013. The now published guidelines shall provide non-binding guidance on three topics: recommended standard licenses, datasets and charging.

Recommended Standard Licenses

  • For licensing PSI, the usage of simple standard licenses in digital format is recommended.[4] Preference should be given to the use of open licenses such as “Creative Commons” instead of individual licenses.
  • When using individual licenses, limiting the amount and content of any provisions restricting the re-use of PSI as far as reasonably practicable is recommended. For instance, naming the source of PSI is supposed to be an acceptable restriction in licensing terms pursuant to the guidelines.[5]
  • If public sector information contains personal information, it is advised to make re-users aware of the rules on the processing of such information.[6]
  • To enhance the use of PSI in the public domain, simple notices indicating the legal status are recommended (e.g. the Creative Commons public domain mark[7]).
  • In any case, terms of use should appear prominently to facilitate the proper use of PSI. 


  • Five dataset categories of high priority are identified, namely geospatial data (postcodes, national and local maps), earth observation and environmental data (weather, land and water quality, energy consumption, emission levels), transport data (public transport timetables, road works and traffic information), statistical data (GDP, age, health, unemployment, income and education) and selected company data (company and business registers).
  • To promote the use of the prioritized datasets, the European Commission encourages the relevant owner of the data to assure availability, quality, usability and interoperability of the respective PSI.


  • Regarding the costs of providing PSI to third parties, the guidelines favor, at least for digital documents which can be downloaded, a no-cost policy. In any case, the relevant owner should carefully evaluate the potential costs compared to the benefits of a zero-cost or marginal cost approach.
  • In any case of cost-recovery, the guidelines recommend a "net cost" approach, covering the entire collection, (re-)production and dissemination procedure. When collecting or producing documents, any income generated should be subtracted from the total costs incurred. Public sector bodies are advised to regularly conduct cost and demand assessments and adjust charges accordingly to have a process of calculating charges guided by a set of objective, transparent and verifiable criteria.

It will be interesting to follow the further development of PSI re-use. Any re-use could lead to higher quality standards of value-added services, mobile apps and other data-driven businesses. The fact that several companies successfully use PSI as a key factor in their businesses could promote the re-use of PSI.

[1] - European Commission, Commission Notice – Guidelines on recommended standard licenses, datasets and charging for the reuse of documents of 24 July 2014, 2014/C 240/01, available at:; cf. European Commission, Press Release of 17 July 2014, IP/14/840, available at:
[2] - Directive 2013/37/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 amending Directive 2003/98/EC on the re-use of public sector information, available at:
[3] - Directive 2003/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 November 2003 on the re-use of public sector information, available at:
[4] - Art. 8 (2) 2013 PSI Directive.
[5] - See recital 26 2013 PSI Directive.
[6] - Cf. guidance and best practice in the area of the re-use of personal data as set out in Opinion 06/2013 on open data and public sector information of the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, available at and in related documents of the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS), available at
[7] - See

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© White & Case LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

White & Case LLP

White & Case LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at:

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.