environment that is open and that minimizes barriers to access. As we look at the social and economic impacts of public sector information online, it is important to understand the motivations and the drivers of each agency.

To summarize, U.S. policy has a default rule of open availability and reuse of public sector information with the goal of maximizing the benefits of the public investment made in producing that information. Government information is normally placed in the public domain, reflecting a belief in the public’s right to access and reuse government information. U.S. policy promotes the dissemination of government information at no more than marginal costs as well as balancing the many different interests in adopting any new laws without limiting the public’s access to public sector information. As Thomas Jefferson, one of the country’s founding fathers, explained, “Information is the currency of democracy.” U.S. policy continues to build on this core principle.

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