If you want to share data, you will not just need the technical infrastructure, ideally in the shape of APIs. Understanding the legal conditions under which you can and want to share data is essential, too. A good license will cover important questions, such as:
- What data is being shared?
- How – and for how long - can the data be used?
- Are you charging any fees?
- Are you offering any professional support for licensees?
Answering these questions and translating your provisions into a license is seldom straightforward, particularly if you start from scratch.
Therefore, we at the Support Centre for Data Sharing have created the API Licensing Assistant. The Licensing Assistant guides you through a series of important questions, helping you to assemble a tailored license for API-based data sharing. At the end of the questionnaire, you will be provided with a full license text, specific to your case, which you can copy, download, and further customize. That way, we hope to provide you with a bit of head start on crunching the tricky legal questions around data sharing via APIs.
Why you should still take due care
Unfortunately, we have to mention a caveat as well (we’re in legal waters after all): While the API Licensing Assistant is based on our own research about licensing best practices and while we have tried to cover the most important issues around API-based data sharing to the best of our knowledge, we cannot guarantee that a license created via the API Licensing Assistant will always be the right one for your case. Therefore, please always apply your own due diligence before using it in practice. We cannot assume responsibility or offer guarantees for the outcomes of its use. If in doubt, we strongly recommend to obtain an independent legal assessment before deploying it in practice.
How the API Licensing works in detail
The API Licensing Assistant is based on a modular API license, developed by the Support Centre for Data Sharing. In short, this license is modular, because it consists of a number of different text elements that can be combined in different ways, depending on the specific circumstances; e.g. different licensing provisions are employed if your API is for sharing personal or non-personal data. Through the Licensing Assistant’s front-end, users indicate their preferences or circumstances in a series of relevant questions. Explanations on the exact scope and relevance of questions are provided to assist users. Based on the given answers, a suitable license text is then assembled dynamically and eventually displayed by the Licensing Assistant tool.
You can download the underlying report on the development of a modular European API Licence here.
Last but not least, we are keen to hear your feedback regarding the API Licensing Assistant. Let us know your thoughts via the forum – or send us a message via our support form!