The wizardry of licensing models

It is of little value to the users if it is easy to find the reference data and it is available through on-line services if it will take days, even months to get the licenses needed to actually access and use it. The pressure is on for more free of charge and free of restrictions public data. But even in these cases, a license is usually required, if nothing else for the disclaimers. And the same dataset may be available free of charge and restrictions from one provider and for a paid license from another. A licensing system must therefore cover the entire spectrum.

Past experience has proven it difficult to harmonise NMCAs licensing policy. Each European NMCA has evolved within its own unique national context, and to various degrees, each exists in a different cultural, political, social and economic framework, often bound by decisions outside their influence as to what they can and cannot do. To address this, the ambitious and radical approach taken has been to develop a licensing system by which all NMCA’s can provide data at harmonised licensing and pricing terms. This is done by developing a set of parameters with values to choose from, that can be used to create a decision tree for determining the license terms in each case. In order for this to work properly for the users, it needs to be integrated with the services developed within the project. The idea is that the following will happen when a users starts looking for reference data:

1.The user access finding and viewing services and identify the dataset needed
2.From the viewing service the user is directed to a wizard, where user enter information asked for to determine what type of license is required. This will involve what types of use, how they wish to access the data, if they are in a position to ask special terms (INSPIRE), etc.
3.From here the users is directed to a new wizard, which asks the question necessary to provide the user with a finished license for signing. A part of this will be directing the user to a payment module if required.
4.Finally, with a signed license the user is directed to the access control mechanism, to enter the service and get the data.


An excellent concept and one

An excellent concept and one that I hope will be an output from the ESDIN Project WP4?

We then still face the situations where a new information product or service developer needs multiple licenses from multiple data owners, not only government bodies (such as NMCAs) but also (potentially) other info providers, such as environmental information, etc. While it is probably beyond the scope for ESDIN (or the NMCAs) to take on this additional issue, it would be useful (I think!) for the project to contact some of these product/service provides to see just what would make their lives easier in regard to licensing, in order to perhaps come up with some additional 'best practice' based on real world experiences.

Roger Longhorn
Compass Informatics Ltd
Principal SDI Expert

Roger Longhorn
Principal SDI Expert
Compass Informatics Ltd, Ireland