Data sets, databases, or APIs we can find these days are either licensed openly or commercially. I'm a bit confused as to how the publishers / owners / compilers are rightfully licensing these factual data by their own terms?
I mean, first of all, they are not the creator nor originator of the data. Second of all, the data are almost certainly harvested or collected from public sources such as Internet or government / university or other sources such as users' inputs / contributions, over the years.
This is not to mention that lots of the data sets have repetitive data (same piece of factual data) that are actually licensed under very different terms, which makes the situation even more confusing.
What actually gives someone the right to license factual data under their own terms? How and why someone can govern how a piece of factual data can be used?
- It's not the data itself, because nobody can own factual data, right?
- But is it the unique structure / organization / compilation of data set / database? So the license is about the particular organization of data. As long as I have a different organization, e.g. from various different sources, or very different tables, columns, names, I can then license my data set / database in my own terms?
- Or is it the effort paid to gather / organize the data? So as long as I paid an effort in making the data set different, I'm entitled to license it in my own terms?
- Is it the user input / contribution that transfers the right to the website / company that they are contributing to? When a user contributes some local business contact information to a website, does it give the website the right to license this data in their own terms?
Why should I follow some data license that disallows me to use the factual data (such as Earth parameters, birthday of Elvis, etc.) commercially?
Update (of some examples)
For instance, a hotels booking website clearly states in the terms that they disallow any usage of their hotel listings for commercial purposes other than on their website. But why should I follow it? Do they own the hotels information such as title, phone number, address, website URL, etc.? If not, why should I follow the terms?
A similar example is IMDB. They definitely wouldn't allow commercial purposes regarding their movie data (factual data, title, date, names, etc., not creative texts / descriptions, etc.), but why should I follow the terms if they don't own the data? Especially if I'm not blatantly copying the entire database exactly as is on a grand scale, just some of its data remixed / rearranged with movie data from other sources.
Another example is data on Freebase, Dbpedia, and Wikidata. They disallow commercial purposes and mandates that I share-alike the data openly without charging people. But why should I follow the terms? Can't I do business and profit from these data if I can? Because open and free is not always the answer in a business world, otherwise Linux would be the most popular OS.
Sui generis database right
What makes up the Sui generis database right? I read the Wikipedia article and yes database has rights in the EU and UK but what kind of databases?
If I gathered data from dozens or hundreds of different databases (each of their own Sui generis rights) and made 'substantial investment in obtaining, verifying or presenting the contents' of the database, remixing and rearranging the original data so they become better categorized / indexed and more searchable / traversable, do I have my own Sui generis rights to this new and much bigger database with the same factual data?