Put simply, licensing is granting certain rights to others to allow them to use your work. You do not give up ownership of your information by doing this (unless you specifically release your work into the public domain e.g. with a CC0 'no rights reserved' license); 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 your 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, e.g. 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, e.g. 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, e.g. someones else’s photograph.
If you want to share this type of data with the ALA, you must own or have a suitable license for it, including:
- a data set or database
- sound recording
- movie or other multimedia
A license is not needed by the ALA for:
- a link to further information such as a website
- an individual observation.