Sometimes, data is listed as "open data", yet also has copyright statements that don't mention any permitted reuse. If the "data owner" is not responsive, what's the best way to determine if the data is really open, or if the copyright statement terms are still current?
On the Population Data page there's a link to historical vital records, produced by Massachusetts Archives. All their pages contain a Terms and Conditions footer link which states "©2012 Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The documents provided in this web site are for informational purposes only.". No mention of permission to reuse.
Obviously the best way to resolve this conflict is to simply ask the data owner. However in this case the project seems to have been abandoned or mothballed, many of the contact links are now broken, and no response from the data owner has been received from multiple attempts to make contact on the remaining addresses.
Given this is state data (not federal), is there any rule of thumb that be used to indicate if the data can be reused (does "informational purposes" include that?), or is there some other way to know if an Open Data initiative, even if abandoned part-way through, trumps a legacy copyright footer?
In response to the first answer from IM, I do need to explain a bit more clearly:
- the Mass. Open Data is just an example. I'm looking for generic rules when there are conflicts, like that.
- I'm wondering what is the purpose of an Open Data directory if the collections it links to are not open data? In other words, should the presence of a collection in a state open data directory indicate that the data is intended to be open data under the open data terms? If not, why list it?
- in this case the data owner (archives) have failed to respond after multiple attempts to contact regarding that collection. Thanks though for pointing out yet another license (public data without copyright but have to complete a permission form to publish) which conflicts with both the Open Data license, and with the copyright statement, but that does make it even harder to work out which one of the three versions is intended to apply to the example collection!