[Rd] R datasets ownership(copyright) and license

S Ellison S.Ellison at LGCGroup.com
Thu Apr 5 14:08:48 CEST 2012

> My understanding is that rationality is not the case in 
> Europe - see e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Database_Directive.

I know we don't always see England as part of Europe, but 'ouch' anyway... 

This is not copyright law. It is protection of databases, and that is a different set of legislation. It just looks like copyright because the things it prohibits are the same.

And you need not look so far afield for that particular lack of rationality. In the US, databases are covered by the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act of 2003 (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/108/hr3261) which says almost exactly the same thing; that a database that took a lot of time and effort to collate is protected against reproduction 'in commerce' without authorisation.

The bottom line is that while most small published datasets are _likely_ to be exempt from such protection, it is not, and never has been, safe to assume that you can use someone else's data without their permission. So we just have to make sure we ask before using datasets in R packages.

Steve Ellison*******************************************************************
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