Data licensing

What is licensing?

Put simply, licensing is granting certain rights to others to allow them to use your work or data. You do not give up ownership of your information by doing this (unless you specifically release your work into the public domain); you just allow others to use it for their own research and analysis.

In relation to the ALA, you may need to grant the ALA and its users, a license to use you data.

Why license something?

Without permission from the owner, others cannot use something that is covered by copyright. The license documents your ownership, the conditions you place on others using it and how you would like to be acknowledged as the owner.

What needs to be licensed?

Anything that is considered a ‘work’ is covered by copyright and so the ALA needs permission to be able to display and provide access to it. ‘Facts’, eg the physical characteristics of a bird or an observation of the occurrence of a bird, are not covered by copyright but the documentation of facts is, eg text to describe a bird.

You cannot grant a license for a work that you do not own or for which you do not have the appropriate rights, eg someones else’s photograph.

Needs a license

You must own, or have a suitable license for, these types of data if you want to share them with the ALA:

  • text
  • a dataset or database
  • photograph
  • sound recording
  • movie or other multimedia

Does not need a license

A license is not needed by the ALA for:

  • a link to further information such as a website
  • an individual observation.

What license should I use?

The ALA encourages the use of the latest version of the Creative Commons Australia licenses and our contribution forms are geared to this type of license. Other license terms can be used if you would prefer as long they grant the right to share the information.

Creative Commons Australia Licenses are:

Since it would restrict its use, the Atlas does not support content licensed under a No Derivatives license.

See also:

  • a fact sheet by the Australian National Data Service for a useful summary of Creative Commons and Data
  • Creative Commons Australia for more information on the licences
  • for Government agencies

How do I license something?

If you need to nominate a license type when completing an online ALA form, the form will have the necessary fields.

If you intend providing regular data uploads please complete an ALA Data Provider Agreement (PDF) (174KB) to cover all data provided to the ALA.

See also Terms of Use for information on the conditions under which the ALA is used

For more information on licensing contact