If you use databases created by others you will want to consider certain licensing rights.


When you use a dataset created by another organization it will often come with a set of terms and conditions that apply to your use. If you are going to, in turn, create new applications of the data, share ongoing analysis, or invite the public to consider several types of data at once you will want to make sure you have the right to do so. Similarly, if you create datasets that you want others to use you will want to think through issues of attribution, keeping the sets current, and clarifying what can be shared and what cannot.


Databases are not as easily licensed or copyrighted as other materials, as “facts” cannot be copyrighted in the U.S. There are some considerations for using and sharing data, especially where you want to give credit and allow users to share what they build. The examples we’ve linked to provide sample language for open sharing, sharing for noncommercial use, and allowing volunteers to use data that you’ve licensed from someone else.

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