30 Data Use License

Opening databases in the terms suggested by this guide involves providing complete information on the Web in non-proprietary formats with unrestricted, free access for anyone, such that anyone can reuse the data for any purpose without restrictions. This paragraph is a brief summary of what can be considered an "open license", and the conditions under which the custodian of the data grants the consumer permission to use it. Without this license, the data cannot be considered "open," because there is no guarantee that its use is kept under open data principles.

An "open license" is also important in respecting the Brazilian Information Act. The National Infrastructure of Open Data, of the federal government has not yet reached a conclusion as to whether the Brazilian legal system is sufficient to deal with open government data without the need for licenses, if other existing licenses fit into the Brazilian context, or if it will be necessary to create a specific license for Brazil. For example, in the Copyright Act, Brazilian legislation explicitly provides for the protection of databases that constitute "intellectual creation." On the other hand, the Brazilian Information Act states that the state must provide access to all information that it creates or holds, provided that data is not considered confidential. The interaction of these laws is still an object of study.

The Brazilian Information Act, however, does not determine which license should be used when publishing data; but it lists principles that may very well direct the preparation of an open license or terms of use compatible with the open data concepts explained in this guide:

Art. 3. The procedures provided for in this Act are intended to ensure the fundamental right of access to information and must be carried out in accordance with the basic principles of public administration and with the following guidelines:

I - Publishing as a general default rule and confidentiality as an exception.

Art. 8º ...


§ 3. The sites mentioned in § 2 must meet the following requirements under the regulations:


II - Allow reports to be saved in various electronic formats, including open and non-proprietary formats such as spreadsheets and text, in order to facilitate the analysis of information.

III - Enable automated access by external systems in open, structured and machine-readable formats.

IV - Disclose in detail the formats used for structuring the information.

V - Ensure the authenticity and integrity of information available for access.

VI - Keep the information available for access up-to-date.

When preparing terms of use or an open license for use of data, it is your responsibility to consider whether the text is compatible with other open data licenses. This consideration is vital for it to be legally possible to perform aggregations, statistics, analysis, and crossing of data from different sources. The results of these activities are what add value to open data and make it useful for society. If the state government uses a license incompatible with the license used by municipal administrations, it is not legally possible to cross the database of hospitals, for example, to build an application that displays city and state health facilities. An open data license or terms of use should be prepared to maximize the degree of compatibility with the licenses used, or likely to be used, by other spheres and branches of the state.

In Brazil, most of the public agencies have not specified any license for publishing data on the Internet. There are exceptions, however, where they are using the ODbL and DbCL licenses.