ASCOLA Competition Law series
Edited by Josef Drexl and Vicente Bagnoli
Chapter 4: The competition dimension of the European regulation of public sector information and the concept of an undertaking
Many state bodies produce and hold a large stock of data that can be exploited commercially. These bodies, such as courts or land and company registries, often fulfil essential state functions. With regard to such data, every modern state today has to decide on the principles on whether and how to make that data available to the public for commercial re-use. In the European Union, already in 2003, the legislature decided to adopt a directive in this regard, the so-called Public Sector Information (PSI) Directive, which was most recently revised in June 2013. The objectives of this legislation are twofold: as its primary object, the Directive seeks to promote access of private businesses to PSI, based on the assumption that better commercial use of such information may help to develop new information markets and, finally, enhance economic growth. Secondly, by the time of its revision in 2013, the Directive had also become an important element of the EU’s open-data policies that are designed to make publicly-held data widely available to the public. The European PSI regime draws our attention to a new kind of economic activity or, at least, economically relevant activity of state bodies that comes along with the emergence of the information society.
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