Entry for Company Register / Brazil




This is a discussion about the submission for Company Register / Brazil.

While the submitter seems to have been very thoughtful in his or her response, and has actually found all major official sources of company data in Brazil, I think this is an entry that deserves special scrutiny, as each of the different official sources have quite different characteristics.

First of all, about licensing, I argue that all company data is in the public domain in Brazil. According to Article 7, III of Law 9.610/1998 (Brazilian copyright law), databases are only copyrightable if their creation has involved a creative step (“criação intelectual”). A registry of companies is just a collection of factual information, so it is in fact not copyrightable. Thus, open licensing gets a pass.

Now, lets look into each individual source of information,

Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística - IBGE

Brasil em síntese and the SIDRA system have aggregate data. While this may be useful for some purposes, I do not think that aggregate data qualifies for the company registry of the GODI, as it should have data on each individual company.

Also, the data is offered as tables in a webpage, and there is no download option (at least that I could find).

Ministério do Planejamento, Desenvolvimento e Gestão

There is an API call (and corresponding entry on the open data portal), on government suppliers, within the open data API for government procurement, acquisition and contracts.

However, this is incomplete, as it only contains data on companies that have ever supplied goods or services to government, or those who have ever registered as a requirement for any businesses to be allowed to apply for a bid in public tenders.

As an incomplete register of companies, this has not been considered to qualify for this dataset in previous editions of the Index.

Ministério da Transparência, Fiscalização e Controladoria-Geral da União

Portal da Transparência also offers downloads for the same data of the registry of supplier companies.

This is also incomplete and hasn’t been considered to qualify in past editions of the Index.

Receita Federal do Brasil

This is the official registry for taxation purposes, and the most reliable national registry of companies in Brazil. As the submitted mentioned, the query on their website only allows you to fetch information in one company at a time and you have to fill a Captcha to get it.

So it is not open.

Juntas comerciais

There is one of these in each of the 26 Brazilian states and federal district. They are the official registry of companies de jure, i.e. when you want to register a new company you go there. Some of them have a query form online that allows for some kind of search in company names, e.g. the one in the State of São Paulo.

In the São Paulo example, the information available on each company is quite detailed, but you can only get one at a time and there is no kind of bulk download available.

Some states require a login in order to search, e.g. states of Minas Gerais and Paraná.

Others require you to fill an inquiry form and wait for a response from some public official, e.g. the state of Mato Grosso.

Still others (e.g. Paraíba) offers to send you a listing of all companies registered in the state for a fee.

Finally, some (e.g. Amapá) do not appear to even offer some basic kind of name discovery service, at least not that can be used by internet.


As the official company registry in Brazil is decentralized by state, the best hope for a full and complete dataset rests with the Receita Federal registry, which is for taxation purposes, but mandatory for all businesses (and even for non-profits).

However, even with the Decree 8.777/2016 specifically demanding that they open this dataset by November 2016 (a deadline that was just missed), Receita Federal has shown no sign that they are preparing to comply with this, as the dataset is nowhere to be seen in the Open Data Plan recently released by the Ministry of Finance. Even a formal Freedom of Information Request about it has been recently denied by the Ministry. Perhaps the best hope lies when one day some official auditing institution finds out about their lack of legal compliance and demand that they open the dataset or be penalized for not doing so.

As for the GODI submission, it seems unfair to grant Brazil more points for this dataset than before, even though as nothing has really been improved since last year.

Note: for the record, Brazil scores exactly zero points on the Open Company Data Index.


Until recently, we had a similar situation in Ukraine: there was only a one-at-a-time captcha-protected search.

I think it’s not fair to provide zero points in this case. In some countries you don’t have even that.

So I think for now we should ignore everything except that online captcha-protected form.


In Brazil’s case, there isn’t even a national search available. The captcha-protected, one-at-a-time form provides information only if you already know the company’s official registration number. So, unlike Ukraine’s it does not qualify for getting any points at the Open Company Data Index.

As for the Global Open Data Index, as I said before, I don’t think Brazil should get more points than last year, considering that nothing has really improved since then (except for a legal obligation that is not being complied with - that one is new).