They are at it again, it seems all the EU wants to do is suck every penny they can out of us, this time they want to pass a directive that ensures we pay twice for data, first with our taxes and second to view the data, see publicgeodata.org for more information.
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 license, 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 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.
Now I’m usually against US policy, but this time I have to say they are far ahead of us in Europe, by allowing US and non-US citizens to access high resolution data of their country for free they shame the rest of the world, and show our governments to be money grabbing and selfish.