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Open data is the notion that certain types of data should be freely available for everyone to use and share without restrictions such as copyrights, patents or other control mechanisms. The only requirement - at most - is that those who use and share the data attribute it to its source. Open data supporters believe that some types of data contribute to the common good or should belong to everyone because they were gathered using public money.
Open data is often focused on material related to science, medicine, maps, chemical compounds and other data that may contribute to the common good. Of course, much of the data also has commercial value, which drives those who discover it to prevent it from being open source.
Supporters of open data argue that some data - such as life-saving medical data - belongs to the human race and that facts cannot be legally copyrighted. Others argue that data gathered using public money should belong to everyone.
Those who argue against open data say that the government doesn't have the right to interfere with data gathered by the private sector and that because research and data collection is labor-intensive and expensive, even public organizations may have the right to use it for profit to recoup their costs.