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OpenCorporates: The Struggle of Capturing Control Information as Open Data

OpenCorporates believes that corporate control data is the cornerstone of a useful Open Corporate Data platform.  Without it, there’s no way to linking apparently unconnected regulated events that are in fact related.  The topic of “Understanding corporate networks. Part 4” was recently featured in an article which explains how the company records corporate data linking it to ultimate owners.

OpenCorporates lists an example the City of Prineville, Oregon which in 2009 granted a 15 year property tax exemption in 2009 to a company called Vitesse LLC.  This, in fact, is a tax exemption that ultimately benefits the ultimate owner:  Facebook Inc.  perhaps implying that the City of Prineville may have ignored that the ultimate beneficiary was a distant owner.

Open Corporates vitesse

OpenCorporates opines that there are many sources of corporate hierarchy data online, but these are not open, and thus it considers this a problem for itself and the general public.  It also bemoans the fact that an interested party has to pay to access this kind of information which shuts out many potential users, and thus has negative effects on data quality.  This also results in an incomplete picture of corporate linkages.

(Editorial comment: In emerging markets undeveloped infrastructures and negative attitudes towards disclosure often retard any effort to develop accurate corporate linkages).

The company states that the main purpose of its article is to describe how it models its data.  It wants its users to understand what the data on OpenCorporates means, and to decide whether the control models work for them.  It also believes that this granular, provenanced approach to facts is innovative and it is willing to share it with the business community.

OpenCorporates is owned by Chrinon Ltd.  a company formed in the UK in 2010 and is dedicated to improving and publishing public data under an open license that allows and encourages reuse, including commercially.

Source:  OpenCorporates Article

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