CREATE & MANAGE DATA
COPYRIGHT AND DATA SHARING
When data are shared or archived, the original copyright owner retains the copyright. A data archive cannot archive data unless all rights holders are identified and give their permission for the data to be shared. Secondary users need to obtain copyright clearance before data can be reproduced. Exceptions exist under the fair dealing concept.
Normally copyright clearance needs to be obtained from the rights holder before data can be reproduced. Under the fair dealing concept, data can be copied for non-commercial teaching or research purposes, private study, criticism or review without infringing copyright, provided that the owner of the work is sufficiently acknowledged. This only applies to literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work, not to films or recordings. An acknowledgement should give credit to the data source used, the data distributor and the copyright holder.
For databases, if researchers use parts of the data, as well as the structure in which those data are held, to create another dataset, they should obtain explicit copyright and database right clearance before they publish these data. Using these data solely for research purposes should not infringe any rights under the concept of fair dealing where legitimate users may copy sections of material for non-commercial, teaching or research purposes. We provide some examples of rights when using existing sources.
If a researcher wishes to share data by archiving them, all the right holders need to be identified and the necessary copyright permissions be granted for data to be archived and shared.
An archive, such as the UK Data Archive, acts a as a 'publisher' of data and does not consider itself to have any rights in any of the data collections it distributes. The researcher(s) or data creator(s) keep the copyright over archived data and licence the Archive to process and distribute the data. If the Archive were to distribute copies of data without having explicit permission from all the copyright holders, it would be breaking the law.
Assigning copyright correctly is especially important where data collections have been created from a variety of sources, for example when data have been bought or 'lent' by other researchers. The Archive requires written permission from all copyright owners to acquire and provide access to these materials. The Archive specifies how data use should be acknowledged and cited, either within the metadata record for a dataset or in a data use licence.
No obvious third party organisation exists to negotiate rights on behalf of researchers, unlike the Performing Rights Society which administers rights relating to the public performance and broadcast of musical works. In most cases the researcher will need to contact the rights holder, or the rights holder's estate, and come to an agreement whereby the terms and conditions of reproduction can be laid down in an agreement or licence.
Creative Commons licences allow creators to communicate the rights which they wish to keep and the rights which they wish to waive in order for other people to make re-use of their intellectual properties more straightforward. For some data collections Creative Commons licences may be appropriate, but Creative Commons itself does not recommend using Creative Commons licences for informational databases. Other licences with similar objectives are more appropriate, such as the Open Data Commons Licence or the Open Government Licence.