We are a commercial company that wants to offer easy access to EU geographic boundaries spatial data through an API service. The API service would be freely accessible for limited use. No charges are requested for the data itself. Very intensive users will be charged the cost for transfering the data, not for the data itself.

The data we are providing access through via the API is stored on our databases in the cloud. We have not created the data, it is downloaded from the EUROSTAT website. In addition to the general copyright and licence policy applicable to the whole Eurostat website, the following specific provisions apply to the datasets we have downloaded (source: https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/gisco/geodata/reference-data/administrative-units-statistical-units)

The download and usage of these data is subject to the acceptance of the following clauses:

  1. The Commission agrees to grant the non-exclusive and not transferable right to use and process the Eurostat/GISCO geographical data downloaded from this page (the "data").
  2. The permission to use the data is granted on condition that: (i) the data will not be used for commercial purposes; (ii) the source will be acknowledged. A copyright notice, as specified below, will have to be visible on any printed or electronic publication using the data downloaded from this page.

Copyright notice

When data downloaded from this page is used in any printed or electronic publication, in addition to any other provisions applicable to the whole Eurostat website, data source will have to be acknowledged in the legend of the map and in the introductory page of the publication with the following copyright notice:

EN: © EuroGeographics for the administrative boundaries

FR: © EuroGeographics pour les limites administratives

DE: © EuroGeographics bezüglich der Verwaltungsgrenzen

For publications in languages other than English, French or German, the translation of the copyright notice in the language of the publication shall be used.

I am assuming that this license does not prohibit the usage of the data as planned in our use case, since we have no plans of selling the data itself.

Is this assumption correct in your opinion?

Thank you for help.

2 Answers 2


"data will not be used for commercial purposes". That's quite big in there. Selling the data is not the only commercial use. You are a commercial business, what other reason would you have to use the data other than commercial purposes? I'd ask a lawyer, and I'd ask the provider of the data, but it looks to me like full on copyright infringement.

  • Thank you for your reaction. To answer your question: facilitating access and usage of common data, supporting development of valuable applications, showcasing of what we can do... I think these are not necessarily all commercial purposes when offering a data service for free?
    – idespues
    Apr 5, 2022 at 10:18
  • 1
    Supporting development of valuable applications - definitely commercial. Showcasing of what we can do - definitely commercial.
    – gnasher729
    Apr 5, 2022 at 17:07
  • Can you give some examples of what is non-commercial use?
    – idespues
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:35
  • 1
    @idespues household use, educational use, government use
    – Dale M
    Apr 5, 2022 at 21:26

Your assumption is not correct

Commercial is much broader that for profit. The fact that you charge for data transfer, even at a loss, makes your use commercial.

Further, you describe yourself as a “commercial company”, so your use of the data, even internally, is commercial.

  • Thank you for your response. As I understand, a company is either commercial or non-profit. We are not a non-profit company, which means we are commercial. However, we can still offer services/data for free. Do I understand correctly that any service/action we do as a company is regarded as 'commercial' since we are not defined as non-profit organisation?
    – idespues
    Apr 5, 2022 at 10:12
  • Think why you would offer anything for free. Do you offer things for free to sell your other products? Do you offer things for free because a customer pays you to offer them "for free"? Do you offer things for free to become more well-known? What is your reason for offering things for free? Is the reason commercial?
    – gnasher729
    Apr 5, 2022 at 10:19
  • 1
    It doesn’t matter if you are non-profit. I have been treasurer of a junior rugby league club: we were non-profit but everything we did was “commercial”
    – Dale M
    Apr 5, 2022 at 11:37
  • Can you give some examples of what is non-commercial use?
    – idespues
    Apr 5, 2022 at 18:36
  • @idespues a charitable donation wouldn't be commercial.
    – Trish
    Dec 31, 2022 at 9:43

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