Guidelines for Interpretation of the Rules and Standard Licence Agreement

These guidelines have been provided to assist with the interpretation of the Rules governing the distribution of ECMWF real-time Products and the ECMWF Standard Licence Agreement

The guidelines below refer to the interpretation of Value Added Services (VAS) and Graphics Based on ECMWF Products.  The following terms used in these guidelines can be found both in the Rules and the Standard Licence Agreement:

  • Non-retrievable VAS
  • Retrievable VAS
  • Broadcast/Broadcaster
  • Graphics Based on ECMWF Products
  • Additional Internet Broadcast Fee (AIBF)

1. Software as a VAS

A software package that allows for the download/retrieval of unmodified Products in a manner similar to file-sharing, peer-to-peer sharing, web-hosting or file-hosting does not constitute a VAS.  For this to be classified as a VAS, the software should provide a service that requires, as a minimum, that both the service and the Products are needed within the software.  In this case, the Products can then be extracted by End Users of the VAS.  Note, however, that if the VAS provided is purely the visualisation of ECMWF Products, then these would be considered Graphics Based on ECMWF Products and hence Non-retrievable VAS.

2. Modifications of ECMWF Products that do not constitute VAS

Non-meteorological processing, such as colouring, data format, data compression methods, fixed or arbitrary percentage adjustments to the data, method of transmission, geometric transformation, sub-setting of areas, custom combinations of time-steps/parameters/model runs, etc. do not constitute VAS.

3. What can be retrieved from a Retrievable VAS

Where a VAS is defined as 'retrievable', unmodified Products can be supplied with the VAS. However, these should be limited to the Product(s) required for the VAS to work or be correctly interpreted. For instance, if the VAS is based solely on one parameter, that is the only parameter that is permissible to be transmitted to End Users. Likewise, it would not be permissible for a VAS based on point data or a limited area to supply global fields.

4. Visualisation of Products as a Non-retrievable VAS

Visualisations of Products, whether publicly or as part of paid-for services and software programs, are classified as Graphics Based on ECMWF Products, which are Non-retrievable VAS.  Internet visualisations of the Products in the public domain (e.g. imagery broadcast via website or social media where a subscription is not required) are subject to the Additional Internet Broadcast Fee (AIBF).  Furthermore, whether a subscription is required or not, the original Products should not be retrievable or reverse engineered without significant effort and/or expense.  Meteograms are also classified as Graphics Based on ECMWF Products and should therefore be Non-retrievable.

5. E-mail, VPN and social media transmission of Products is not a VAS

Dissemination of Products via e-mail, VPN or social media type platforms, irrespective of how the request for data is generated, is not a VAS.

6. APIs allowing the retrieval of Products are not VAS

The provision by Service Providers of APIs where the sole purpose of the API is to transfer unmodified Products is not a VAS.