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Abstract

This Article examines some of the challenges presented by the transition from ‘closed’ to open data within the municipal context, using municipal transit data as a case study. The particular lens through which this Article examines these challenges is intellectual property law. In a ‘closed data’ system, intellectual property law is an important means by which legal control over data is asserted by governments and their agencies. In an ‘open data’ context, the freedom to use and distribute content is a freedom from IP constraints. The evolution of approaches to open municipal transit data offers some interesting examples of the role played by intellectual property at every stage in the evolution of open municipal transit data, and it highlights not just the relationship between municipalities and their residents, but also the complex relationships between municipalities, residents, and private-sector service providers.

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