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Fact Sheet

Version May 2011

Area of Application of the PSI Directive


What is this fact sheet about?
The PSI Directive empowers citizens and companies to reap benefits from documents held by public sector bodies. Availing of these rights requires an understanding of the relevant rules in the PSI Directive, which at first sight may seem a bit complicated. This fact sheet therefore provides a tool that should resolve most of the basic questions on this matter. PSI and PSBs must not be exempted Directive is the baseline, national laws may go further Once one has established that a document has been Under European law, Member States are obliged to produced under the public task, one must check transpose EU Directives, like the PSI Directive, into whether the PSI or the PSB is exempt from application. their national legislation. The PSI Directive provides a Some PSI is exempted because of other interests minimum set of rules, meaning that Member States connected to it, like rules of secrecy and third-party can adopt measures that go beyond the level sought intellectual property rights. And some PSBs are by the Directive. Accordingly, national laws can provide exempted because of the nature of their business, like rights exceeding those laid down in the PSI Directive. state companies, public broadcasters, educational, However, in any case, the Directive indicates the research and cultural establishments. minimum level required and thus forms the baseline. Decision to allow re-use lies with PSBs, which can PSI and PSBs have a broad scope impose licence conditions The Directive applies to existing documents (PSI) held Even if the PSI is produced under the public task and by public sector bodies (PSBs) in Member States. The not exempted, this still does not necessarily impose Directive casts a wide net: both documents and any obligations. The PSB can decide to disallow re-use, PSBs have a broad scope, meaning that, as a rule, although the PSI Directive strongly encourages re-use. almost any content or governmental organisation is Furthermore, even when the PSB does allow re-use, it caught in its net. can still impose license conditions, Exis ng content? for instance, conditions dealing with Directive seeks to multiply value charges and intellectual property yes of public-task PSI through second rights (like copyrights or, typically use applying to large PSI databases, soThe basic idea behind the PSI called sui generis rights). Held by PSB? Directive is that we are wasting a lot of economic potential if we The effect: a level playing field yes disallow PSI from having a second Nevertheless, once a PSB allows reuse. This is based on the notion use, it must apply the same Created under PT? that PSBs have been established to conditions across the board (to perform a task the public task comparable types of re-use). This yes and in the process of performing rule also applies to its own that task (the first use), produce commercial arm, meaning that the PSB nor PSI exempted? PSI. This is the PSI that the PSB may not cross subsidize its Directive wants to catch: PSI that is commercial (non public task) no produced anyway, whereby the activities through its public task public task is in fact the funded activities. Accordingly, the Reuse allow-ed by PSB? demarcation line for application. Directive creates a level playing field However, what exactly is included and the associated instruments a reyes in the public task is left to national user can use towards PSBs, like rules and practices (see ePSI Fact obligations on transparency, pricing Direc ve applies, leading to obliga ons for Sheet public task). and non-discrimination.
no no Direc ve does not apply PSB like: -Transparency -Non-discrimina on -Tariffs no ye s no

ePSI Platform Fact Sheets provide short introductions to key concepts and developments, allowing new comers to the PSI re-use arena to get up to speed swiftly. Find ePSI Platform Fact Sheets at epsiplatform.eu.