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Introduction

On 23 January 2006, the Council of European Union has formally adopted a common position on the Inspire Directive, which stipulates that Geographic Data collected by National Mapping Agencies all over Europe should be owned by such agencies and not by the Public. While a lot of datasets are available in the United States under a public domain licence, little geographic data is available under open access terms in Europe but is instead made available at monopoly prices by national mapping agencies. Restricted access to geographic data for the public and businesses due to high costs and narrow licenses means fewer services and fewer jobs in Europe.

If the European Parliament does not adequately amend or, failing that, reject this directive proposal, INSPIRE will entrench a policy of charging citizens for information they have already paid to collect, enforced by state copyright over geographic information.

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