This question may be too specialist to be on topic here. If it is off topic, please feel free to transfer it to another SE site, or close it, as appropriate.
I am planning to publish an applied statistics paper. This paper develops an algorithm and then applies this algorithm to some data. I obtained most of this data from the site http://www.imgt.org. The data I am using are immunoglobulin and T cell receptor nucleotide sequences, in the form of FASTA files. I'm using around 200 of these.
Here is an random example of the data I am using (click on [6 Sequence (FASTA format)] to get the FASTA file).
Now, I have a problem. In Warranty Disclaimer and Copyright Notice, is written
The IMGT® software and data are provided as a service to the scientific community to be used only for research and educational purposes. Individuals may print or save portions of IMGT® for their own personal use. Any other use of IMGT® material need prior written permission of the IMGT director and of the legal institutions (CNRS and Université Montpellier 2).
I just heard from Prof. Marie-Paule Lefranc and she replied:
I have no objection that the data you retrieved for your work from IMGT/LIGM-DB be made available to the reviewers, but unfortunately we cannot authorize a script or a distribution of the IMGT/LIGM-DB files with your code to the users.
You can provide the users with the list of the IMGT/LIGM-DB accession numbers you used, with the source of the data clearly identified: (IMGT/LIGM-DB version number) and reference to NAR 2006.
Well, this just made my life more difficult. To start with, I'm puzzled by this. Isn't biological data like this public domain? Is it really possible to treat immunoglobulin and T cell receptor nucleotide sequence data as proprietary information?
I just wrote back and asked Prof. Lefranc what license the data was published under, which I had not done earlier.
Additionally, how does one make data available to reviewers and not to users? That is awkward, to say the least.
Also, the data is inconvenient to download. As you can see from the example above, the FASTA file is displayed in a web page, and is not downloaded by that button. One needs to clean the web page to get the FASTA file, which is a pain. As you can see Prof. Lefranc also disallowed the use of a script for doing this. What this most likely means in practice is that no user will ever actually test the code, because obtaining the data is too difficult.
I realise that the users of this site may not be comfortable offering what is essentially a legal opinion, and if so, can anyone suggest a more authoritative source to ask about the legalities of this? Thanks.