#60 Why should you consider data licensing?

In a previous blog post # 58 we discussed about data product specification (DPS) and at the same blog post a new term came up; data product license (DPL). Data is increasingly seen as a valuable business asset, so it is necessary to decide how it needs to be protected.


It must be possible to exploit data by licencing its use and exploitation to third parties. Machine-readable DPL as part of the data product is implemented for this purpose. It can be used to conclude various agreements regarding data protection, processing and intellectual property rights (IPR). Data can be protected by one or more intellectual property rights. Principle is that when a third party exploits the data, it must have a licence to the data.


Why data licencing is important?


Data licencing can:

  • tell users and reusers exactly what they can do with your data and metadata (data that provide information about the data).

  • encourage the use and reuse of your data and metadata the way you want them to be used and reused.

  • create visibility, lower risks and speed-up go-to-market processes

  • take care of liability risks of data, for example third party infringement rights and accuracy issues.


Perspectives on data licencing


Data licences have much the same features as other intangible licences. However, with regard to data licences, the following specific features can be identified, for which clear answers need to be found:

  • Background and objective

  • Definitions

  • Undertakings and instructions

  • Grants and limitations

  • Parties, roles and restrictions e.g. transfer of the licence to third parties

  • Day of validity and expiration (both data product and its licence)

  • Reference to DPS

  • Ownership and (re)use of data

  • Security (incl. Data Processing Agreement - DPA for transfer of person data)

  • Usage fees (or free of charge)

  • Accesses and credentials

  • Rules and regulations for processing of original or derived data and usage processed of data

  • Audit and supervision of the licence

  • Distribution and redistribution of data

  • Damages, compensations, disclaimers and force majure


Open data also needs its own licencing model. The licencing model that works most often in open data is Creative Commons (CC). Whenever data is licenced for open and unrestricted access, reusers can create new knowledge from combining it. CC licences are based on the premise that everyone has the right to make copies of a work, to perform and display the work in public, to distribute and forward the work, and to make derivative works of it.