Through my work on API Evangelist, and heavy reliance on Github, I have a pretty good handle on the licensing of code involved with APIs--I recommend following Githubs advice. Also derived from my work on the Oracle v Google copyright case, and the creation of API Commons, I have a solid handle on licensing of API interfaces. One area I am currently deficient, and is something that has long been on my todo list, is establishing a clear stance on how to license data served up via APIs.
My goal is to eventually craft a static page, that helps API providers, and consumers, better understand licensing for the entire stack, from database, to server, the API definition, all the way to the client. I rely on the Open Data Commons, for three licensing options for open data:
- Public Domain Dedication and License (PDDL) — The PDDL places the data(base) in the public domain (waiving all rights).
- Attribution License (ODC-By) — You are free to share, create, and adapt, as long as you attribute the data source.
- Open Database License (ODC-ODbL) — You are free to share, create, and adapt, as long as you attribute the data source, share-aloe, and keep open.
I am adding these three licensing options to my politics of APIs research, and will work to publish a single research project that provides guidance in not just licensing of data served up through APIs, but also addresses code, definitions, schemas, and more.
The guidance from Open Data Commons is meant for data owners who are looking to license their data before making available via an API, if you are working with an existing dataset, makes sure and consult the data source on licensing restrictions--making sure to carry these forward as you do any additional work.