The US government has further endorsed steps towards the open publication of public data with the Open Data Access Plan (2014). This includes new data releases for small business data, digitized museum collections, and data from the Food and Drug Administration.
Over the past few years, the Administration has launched a number of Open Data Initiatives aimed at scaling up open data efforts across the Health, Energy, Climate, Education, Finance, Public Safety, and Global Developmentsectors. The White House has also launched Project Open Data, designed to share best practices, examples, and software code to assist Federal agencies with opening data. These efforts have helped unlock troves of valuable data—that taxpayers have already paid for—and are making these resources more open and accessible to innovators and the public.
As Timothy Vollmer notes over at Creative Commons:
From a legal standpoint, some agencies have decided to place their datasets into the worldwide public domain using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. This means that all copyright and related rights to the data are waived, so it may be used by anyone–for any purpose–anywhere in the world–without having to ask permission in advance–and even without needing to give attribution to the author of the data.