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Free Government Information (FGI) is a place for initiating dialogue and building consensus among the various players (libraries, government agencies, non-profit organizations, researchers, journalists, etc.) who have a stake in the preservation of and perpetual free access to government information. FGI promotes free government information through collaboration, education, advocacy and research.

No, Mr. Mayor. You may not copyright city council meeting videos.

Judge Rules That Inglewood, California Cannot Copyright Public Videos Slashdot (August 24, 2015).

Recently a judge ruled in California that the city of Inglewood cannot hold copyrights of videos of public city council meetings which they published on their YouTube account and thus cannot sue individuals for copyright infringement for using them. In several YouTube videos, Joseph Teixeira, a resident of Inglewood, California, criticized the mayor, James Butts. Under the account name Dehol Truth, Teixeira took city council meetings posted on their YouTube account and edited them to make pointed criticisms about the mayor.

Visiting Assistant Professor Uses Public Data to Transform How New Yorkers See Their City

Ben Wellington uses his popular I Quant NY blog to dig into public New York city data posted by city agencies. He digs deep into the the data to post about the city’s filthiest fast-food chains, mapped out how half of Manhattan is within four blocks of a Starbucks and determined which neighborhoods boast the most trees. “His mission for the blog is simple: to change government policy by using open data.”

Some recent posts:

  • Is the NYPD About to Start Ticketing More Cyclists Due to a Mathematical Error?
  • The Hot Spots of New York: A Coverage Map of NYC’s Free WiFi Payphones
  • Colorfully Decoding Manhattan’s Address System
  • Found: The Brooklyn Residence that’s Farthest from the Subway
  • Affordable Housing Without Representation
  • Found: The Manhattan Apartment that’s the Farthest from any Subway
  • You’ll Never Guess the Cleanest Fast Food Joint in NYC
  • Fecal Map NYC: The Worst Places to Swim in the City

Data from city governments on data.gov

The federal government’s data portal data.gov has a space for American cities to make their data available: cities.data.gov. Data from four cities, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle, are available so far.

  • Cities.Data.gov

    Showcasing the applications and opportunities for harnessing the power of open data across the nation. City officials and developers working together to help improve the information available to city residents. Data in Cities.Data.Gov is not federal data.

  • We Want You: City Data Edition, by Nate Berg, The Atlantic Cities (Aug 02, 2012).

    The new clearinghouse features thousands of openly accessible data streams, including information on building permits filed in these cities, a regularly updated feed of Seattle Fire Department 911 dispatches, budget documents and tons of maps of things like parks, film locations and building footprints.

    Chicago has 1,826 data feeds on the site, New York has 1,087, Seattle has 711, and San Francisco has 310. The federal government has made 6,560 of their own available.