sabato 27 aprile 2013

The Italian Constitutional Court experiments an open data approach (with a CC license)

The Digital Agenda reform which ratified for the Italian legislation the idea of ​​open data is starting to bring results and this time it happened to judiciary data.
At the end of March on the official website of the Constitutional Court an "experimental" open data section (with all the data of the Court are published in XML format) has finally appeared.

The published data include:
  • The archive of all the verdicts (about 18 thousand texts from 1956 to present);
  • The archive of the maxims;
  • The identity records of the Constitutional Judges, with the dates of oath, cessation and a brief biographical note;
  • The rules pending before the Constitutional Cour.
The online consultation of the Constitutional Court website was already free (free as in "free beer"); but this is obviously a step further, allowing an effective reuse of this mass of information. Effective from a technological point of view, with the availability in standard and interoperable format; and effective from the legal point of view, thanks to the application of an open content license (Creative Commons BY-SA).

Somebody will say: "hey, there is no copyright on verdicts!". Sure, we all agree. But if verdicts are printed on paper and stored in the dusty folders of the courts, how can we make them really open and reusable? Having a digitized entire dataset available is a big step. And remember that in Europe we also have the so complicated database right.
We should greet this decision as an excellent example for all the main Italian courts: the major courts (Court of Cassation and State Council) and maybe also the biggest local courts (Milan, Rome, Naples...).
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Read the Italian version  |  Read the Spanish version.

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