The section on Why should we Open Data gives a good national policy background on open data, and shows there is a very good precedent and grounding for open data at a municipal level.
In most jurisdictions there are intellectual property rights in data that prevent third-parties from using, reusing and redistributing data without explicit permission. Even in places where the existence of rights is uncertain, it is important to apply a license simply for the sake of clarity. Thus, if you are planning to make your data available you should put a license on it – and if you want your data to be open this is even more important.
What licenses can you use? We recommend that for ‘open’ data you use one of the licenses conformant with the Open Definition and marked as suitable for data. This list (along with instructions for usage) can be found at:
A short 1-page instruction guide to applying an open data license can be found on the Open Data Commons site:
Some of the content on this page is reproduced verbatim from the Open Data Handbook.