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## Three Questions For Your Data
1\. Did you create all of the data for your experiment or did you get them from elsewhere?
Scientific data are almost always a mix of raw facts that can't be protected and interpreted data that may be protected. Creative content is protected by default in the U.S. But, the same Constitution that protects rights of the creators in their original content also ensures that non-original content such as facts remain free forever for everyone's benefit.
2\. What intellectual property (IP) rights do you have in your data?
As data from different sources are mixed, resulting data acquire new use conditions that are as restrictive as the most restrictive conditions of a component dataset. This makes it very difficult to figure out the correct rights and conditions applicable to any given data.
3\. Do you want your data to be available freely to anyone? If not, what restrictions do you want to place on them?
The default all-or-nothing copyright protection provided by the U.S. Constitution is not easy to understand, and definitely not suitable for those who may want more granular control over their rights. Beyond a few permitted accepted uses, the copyright mechanism prevents substantive use of someone else's original creative content to create new content.
## Another Three Questions For Your Data
4\. Have you clearly stated your intent on what rights you want to keep and what rights you want to give away to others?
Scientists are not lawyers, and have little time or patience to wade through legalese. Creative Commons (CC) enables interoperability by providing an alternative to the default copyright via user-customizable licenses and contracts. These instruments can express your desire in three formats: human-readable text, legal text, and XML code that can be parsed by a computer program.
5\. Do you think others will be able to easily ascertain what they can do with your data?
Separating fact from copyrightable content is not only onerous, in most cases it ranges from extremely difficult to impossible. The creator can categorize data wrongly, protecting facts that shall remain free, and a user can misjudge the data category, wrongfully using data that shouldn't have been used or passing up on using data that had no restrictions on it to begin with.
6\. Do you think they will use your data per your conditions?
Compliance with licenses and contracts are very difficult to enforce, and may discourage legitimate users without keeping out those who want to use your data against your wishes anyway.
## Three More Questions For Your Data
7\. So, what should you do with scientific data?
CC created CC0 (pronounced CC-Zero), a new protocol specifically for scientific data. CC0 can be thought of as a data mark signifying an absence of any license or contract in the underlying data. CC0 tells the potential user that to the extent the creator of the data has any rights in the copyrightable portion of the data, the creator has waived those rights, and to the extent that the data are non-copyrightable facts, there are no rights to waive in the first place.
8\. How do you think will your data be treated overseas from a legal perspective?
The U.S. allows authors to waive their rights and place their creation in public domain. Some foreign jurisdictions don't recognize public domain, or don't allow waiver of all rights. In order to make your data easily usable overseas, applying a CC-BY license with a very weak attribution requirement can be very helpful.
9\. How would you feel if someone used your data and made a lot of money from it?
The ultimate success of science is when its discoveries and inventions are commoditized and become affordable for everyone. Creators of scientific solutions should be able to benefit from their creations, but the data that made their creation possible should be available to other potential creators.
## The Last Three Questions For Your Data
10\. How would you feel if someone used your data and didn't acknowledge you as the source?
Unlike an attribution license, the user is not contractually obligated to give attribution to the creator, but, expected, as per the norm in science, to cite the source.
11\. What obligation do you have to make your data available to others?
By removing all expectations and obligations from the use of our data, we remove all barriers to their use. Reciprocally, having free data available to us enables us to continue in our scientific quest unhindered and unfettered by legal hurdles. CC0 helps converge scientific data toward the public domain. CC0 guarantees the user that the data are free of any encumbrances, and can be used for whatever purpose, commercial or non-commercial, with no reciprocal obligation expected.
12\. Where do you go for further guidance, examples and tools?
CC provides an easy to use web-based license chooser from where you can choose one of the several [CC licenses](http://creativecommons.org/choose), or dedicate your data to [public domain](http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain).