[aprssig] I Apologize!
tyler at allisonhouse.com
Mon Jan 8 15:31:30 CST 2007
I've wanted to stay out of this spat but I can't help myself since
accusations are being thrown around by people who don't have all the
I happen to be a small business that makes money off so called "free" NWS
information, so I actually know how the system(s) work.
> The problem with the data they produce is that it is funded by the
> taxpayers dollars.
> This means the taxpayers own the copyright.
Not correct. Talk to your local lawyer. Just because your tax money was
used to "buy" something doesn't mean the government owns the copyright.
Otherwise we'd all be entitled to lots of Microsoft products.
> So the data should be free.
It is free. Always has been.
> The mapping data the US government produces is created in this way. That
> is how we get free mapping like the TIGER lines. The American public
> owns the copyright they should not be charged for the data if the project
> was funded with public dollars.
You never have paid for 'free' weather data.
> Taxpayer funded equals taxpayer access for free, anything else is being
> taxed twice.
You have free access to the data. Just like you have free access to
government documents via a FOIA requests. What you do not have, is the
"right" to show up every morning and ask for a custom forecast for your
house. If you want a custom forecast you pay for it. Just like if you want
the data of a FOIA request you pay for it.
Folks seem to think that simply because the data is there and "free" for
the taking, that they have some kind of "right" to have it hand delivered
by a limo without lifting a finger.
> For private business to think the government should not release the data
> to the public without charging a fee is just as absurd, why should they
> have exclusive rights to something they did not pay for.
The NWS makes 99% of their data available to the general public free of
charge. However *YOU* must pay to come get it. What they do not have is
the ability to provide that data 24x7x365 in the myriad of ways that the
public wants it. So what the NWS does is provide low hanging fruit
(www.weather.gov) and then they provide the data to the private sector for
anything else. The private sector has to pay to come get the data too. If
you have a big enough checkbook you can buy a T1 yourself and get all the
data your heart can handle directly from the NWS. The private sector then
packages, cleans, refines, whatever and makes it available in whatever
format you want. Say this with me slowly....
...YOU ARE NOT PAYING FOR THE DATA...
You are paying for the format and pretty pictures that the free data was
used to generate. If you have the time and money, you too can have access
to free data.
When you watch the weather channel or go to a weather website, somebody
had to write the website, someone had to buy servers, someone had to buy
bandwidth, someone had to pay salaries to private meteorologists to do
detailed forecast, etc...etc...etc. *THAT* is not and can not be free.
I do however agree that there are some large weather companies who would
like nothing more than to push the NWS out of the "low hanging fruit"
market as well so that there is *NO* access of any kind by the general
public. That I do not agree with.
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