We have been scraping information regarding oil wells drilled in a particular state using web scraper from the state regulatory agency. This agency provides an arcane interface for this information. Theoretically i can obtain information for any well drilled prior to last 3 years from this.

Does this classify as open data (so that we can distribute it to others using CC/ MIT license). Or is this a grey area. This question can also be extended to other Govt. regulatory agencies such as FDA that contain valuable information in their repositories. I am sure interested parties use different automated scripts to extract useful information in this case simply because there is no API/ direct download option available , but no restriction on use of data.

  • 1
    This might be a good use for the CC-PD mark, where you assert that you do not have copyright.
    – Joe
    Commented Aug 23, 2013 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


In order to license the data you have to hold a copyright, which it sounds like you do not.

If you believe the data is in the public domain, then you can consider Public Domain Mark

  • I think PDM is only meant for material free of copyright worldwide. US gov't produced information may not be free of copyright outside of the US.
    – Eric Mill
    Commented Sep 1, 2013 at 20:49
  • That may be so, but if you don't hold the copyright I think it's all you can do.
    – fgregg
    Commented Sep 16, 2013 at 18:44

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