Database & API licensing

Database & API licensing

"Great - pragmatic when it needs to be, and its responsiveness is excellent." "From a client's perspective, it is very proactive."


Databases are a core asset in your business. They may reside on your own secure servers behind a firewall or you may have them hosted in the cloud.

Their content may be a primary revenue source or they may be a repository of customer and other data as a by-product of your main business, but which nonetheless have significant value for data analytics purposes.

If you are in the online content business, you may also be exploring new ways to generate additional revenue from your database content through 21st century syndication techniques to license your content on a 'machine to machine' basis. For that, you'll be using API licensing to enable developers to access and use your content in their products and services under the terms of your API licences. You may also be looking to combine 'open data' with proprietary data.

Whatever their content and the technical infrastructure around your databases, you will want to have a clear strategy for the protection and exploitation of your databases and clear policies to ensure that your data collection and handling processes are legally compliant.

For this, you will need advisers who can provide strategic insight to develop new revenue streams from databases, with the commercial acumen to negotiate the right deals with partners.

You will also want lawyers who have deep experience of intellectual property rights for databases, including the specific legal protection for databases, and who understand the technical infrastructure of databases.

The publishing and digital media team at Shoosmiths has extensive experience in advising on database exploitation and API licensing.

They are led by Laurence Kaye, who represented UK publishers on the negotiation of the Directive for the Legal Protection of Databases and on its implementation into UK law.

Previous work highlights

  • Advising a leading database company on strategically-based legal advice on the exploitation of their databases
  • Laurence Kaye led cross-industry group advising UK Government on implementation of the Database Directive into UK law
  • Devising database licensing strategies for a number of leading publishers
  • Advising on API licences for publishers
  • Working with leading information publisher on strategic and day to day contracts and advice on a variety of licensing issues