0

Let's say I have access to a... certain... database. I want to make it accessible to the general public, since I believe it would serve the public interest.

The content is non-creative - numeric public knowledge facts, so it wouldn't be protected under copyright law. It also doesn't contain personal data.

I know that some countries in the world protect databases with specific laws. This is the case in the European Union and the UK for example, but not on the US.

If I currently have this data stored on a computer within the US, can I license it under the Open Database License and release it to the public?

Would it make a difference if I'm not physically located in the US, or am not a US citizen?

Even if there are possible legal consequences for me, would the general public be able to legally use the database?

  • Are you only interested in copyright considerations? There could be other legal problems with publishing the database. Are you bound by a non-disclosure agreement? Were you authorized to access the data? Is it classified? Et cetera. – Nate Eldredge Jan 1 '17 at 3:08
  • Remember that when you "license" something, you are saying "I hold the copyright to this work, and I give you permission to copy it under certain conditions." You can't "license" something to which you don't hold the copyright. The concept just doesn't make sense. – Nate Eldredge Jan 1 '17 at 3:09
1

First, remember that this site does not provide legal counsel. If you are actually planning on doing something, hire a lawyer for actual counsel.

Now, to the issue:

The content is non-creative - numeric public knowledge facts, so it wouldn't be protected under copyright law. It also doesn't contain personal data.

The fact that the content is non-creative sites not mean that the database itself is non-creative: designing the database itself is most probably a creative work, involving things like :

  • deciding the opportunity of the creation of the database itself

  • its structure

  • which info include in the database and which not

To put some examples of recopilación of public data protected by copyright :

  • textbooks

  • maps

  • logarithmic tables!

And four the second part, obviously disclosing the database does not change its protection, the same way that the fact that someone posts a film on YouTube does not make it public domain

TL;DR if it is not yours, you have no right to make this kind of decision. Discuss with an actual lawyer.

  • +1 for The fact that the content is non-creative sites not mean that the database itself is non-creative... and obviously disclosing the database does not change its protection... I wrote an answer on webmasters covering something similar to what the OP is asking where I explain things. Here is the link: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/73908/… I do into some detail that users here may enjoy. Cheers!! – closetnoc Jan 5 '17 at 4:57

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.