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Open Data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control. The goals of the open data movement are similar to those of other "open" movements such as open-source software, open government, open access etc.
An example of a formalized definition of open data is the Open Definition which requires that the data is A) Legally open: that is, available under an open (data) license that permits anyone freely to access, reuse and redistribute; and B) Technically open: that is, that the data be available for no more than the cost of reproduction and in machine-readable and bulk form.
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