Open Data Licence Change

creative_commonsThe definition of open data by Open Knowledge Foundation  states: “A piece of data or content is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and/or share-alike”.

The Dublinked Open Data Portal for the Dublin Region provides the platform for the publication of open data for the four Dublin Local Authorities.

Dublinked welcomes the publication of the Open Data Licences policy paper[1] by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and the subsequent public consultation which recommends the use of more open licences such as the Creative Commons Licence, which is the licence used by the new national open data platform

The Current Licence

Dublinked mostly use the Irish PSI Licence for Re-Use of Information[2] (PSI Ireland licence); it sets out re-use requirements for the developers of new products and services based on government data.  Some of our users have reported that the PSI licence is potentially limiting commercial reuse, particularly its restrictive attribution requirements (how to give credit to the source of the data) and legalistic language. Most of the open data on Dublinked is licensed under PSI, with the exception of a small number of licensed or sensitive data that is available to Dublinked members for research purposes upon signing a data confidentiality agreement (an example would be OSI derived data or academic data where the ownership has been complicated by multiple users).


Creative Commons Attribution

From DEPRs public consultation there emerged broad support for the use of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence.  CC-BY lets others reuse, distribute and build upon data, including for commercial applications, as long as they credit the data owners or original creators. Reusers could comply by including or linking to an attribution statement in their product or application:

“Contains Irish Public Sector Data licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence”.

CC BY (Attribution Only) This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon data, even commercially, as long as they credit the original creators. Recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials.  The latest international version is 4.0


Technical Challenges

As much of the data on Dublinked was originally collected for administrative or operational purposes, there remain technical challenges in providing data to the standard where it can be used for commercial purposes- quality, consistency, reliability etc; some Dublinked metadata include a ‘health warning’ to cover this.  To address this and to protect data owners for any liability in this regard DEPR recommend a standard disclaimer statement to address the concerns of data owners in releasing raw data:

“All data linked to the Open data portal is published “as is”. The Information is licensed ‘as is’ and the Information Provider and/or Licensor excludes all representations, warranties, obligations and liabilities in relation to the Information to the maximum extent permitted by law.

The Information Provider and/or Licensor are not liable for any errors or omissions in the Information and shall not be liable for any loss, injury or damage of any kind caused by its use. The Information Provider does not guarantee the continued supply of the Information. ”


Data Migration

Dublinked propose that existing data published under a PSI licence will be moved to a CC_BY licence as we migrate to a new Dublinked Platform over the coming months.  This will not affect restricted ‘research’ data, which will still published with a relevant licence under NDA. Dublinked will be contacting data owners to communicate the new recommendations around licencing and attribution and address any concerns.



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