Projects

Getting it Right on Rights

Simplifying, Harmonizing, and Maximizing the Openness of Rights in Digital Libraries around the World
This project launched on April 14, 2016. Learn more at rightsstatements.org.

Large-scale collections like the Digital Public Library of America, EuropeanaTrove (Australia), and DigitalNZ (New Zealand) have enriched the free web by making openly available tens of millions of items from libraries, archives, museums, and cultural heritage sites from their respective countries or continents. This incredible, burgeoning public commons of the full range of human expression from the past several millennia is weakened, however, by a lack of common agreement over rights statements on these items. Because of inconsistent international copyright law, risk aversion among many nonprofit institutions, and the grey area that many scanned materials fall into—unclear provenance or ownership, especially as materials recede into the past—these collections have too wide a variety of rights assigned to them and no clear pathway toward maximal openness and reusability. This project will bring together these important collections to harmonize and evangelize a simpler rights structure, one that includes ways for works of all types, including works with unclear or no known rights, to be put online and made available to the public.

Images from the National Archives, the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries, the State Library of North Carolina, and the Durham (NC) Public Library

Images from the National Archives, the Leslie Jones Collection at the Boston Public Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Libraries, the State Library of North Carolina, and the Durham (NC) Public Library

Our project will begin with two international summits, one in the United States and one in Europe, involving domain experts who have a deep understanding of both the legal and content sides of this burgeoning field, including library and museum leaders, intellectual property lawyers, copyright officers, policy advisors, metadata specialists, and web technologists. At these key stakeholders will analyze different national, international, and project-based rights work. One focus will be on the issue of items with “no known rights,” and guidance around that important and widespread category—orphan works of all kinds, from books to archival materials. We will also address fair use on the web, and the uneven application (and applicability) of that principle worldwide.

We will then work with these partners to set up a neutral namespace with an agreed-upon set of rights designations. Other projects will be able to link to those designations, e.g., http://[rightsnamespace].org/no-known-rights-1.0. We will translate the language of these designations into the multiple languages of the partners in this project, and encourage other translations as well. Our goal is to make these designations an internationally recognized standard, which will encourage widespread adoption. They will complement the similarly recognized Creative Commons designations, which very well may function as a subset of the digital library rights strata.

Finally, we will produce best practices guides, which we know from talking to contributing institutions to projects like the Digital Public Library of America are extremely important, often representing the only way past legal and institutional barriers. We will disseminate these guides widely to enable broader global education over rights on the web, and will work with our already robust and large partner networks, who can hold workshops and bring this rights work to thousands of other institutions and stakeholders.

For more information about this project, contact Emily Gore (emily@dp.la).


Read More


Announcing the launch of RightsStatements.org
April 14, 2016

Announcing the launch of RightsStatements.org

The Digital Public Library of America and Europeana are proud to announce the launch of RightsStatements.org, developed in partnership with Creative Commons, Kennisland and key stakeholders of the DPLA and Europeana networks. RightsStatements.org is a collaborative approach to rights statements that can be used to communicate the copyright status of cultural objects.

Final whitepapers for establishing international and interoperable rights statements released
October 6, 2015

Final whitepapers for establishing international and interoperable rights statements released

Over the past fifteen months, representatives from the Europeana and DPLA networks, in partnership with Creative Commons, have been developing a collaborative approach to internationally interoperable rights statements that can be used to communicate the copyright status of cultural objects published via the DPLA and Europeana platforms.

Help the Copyright Office Understand How to Address Mass Digitization
September 25, 2015

Help the Copyright Office Understand How to Address Mass Digitization

Wouldn’t libraries and archives like to be able to digitize their collections and make the texts and images available to the world online? Of course they would, but copyright inhibits this for most works created in the last 100 years.

The U.S. Copyright Office recently issued a report and a request for comments on its proposal for a new licensing system intended overcome copyright obstacles to mass digitization. While the goal is laudable, the Office’s proposal is troubling and vague in key respects.

New Contract Opportunity: Request for Proposals for RightsStatements.org
September 18, 2015

New Contract Opportunity: Request for Proposals for RightsStatements.org

The International Rights Statement Working Group, a joint working group of DPLA and Europeana, is seeking a vendor to implement infrastructure needed to launch the RightsStatements.org initiative.

DPLA and Europeana are seeking a contractor to assist us with development of our international framework for rights. The deadline for proposals is October 6. We encourage you to share this posting far and wide!

Seeking Balance in Copyright and Access
July 30, 2015

Seeking Balance in Copyright and Access

The most important word in discussions around copyright in the United States is balance. Although there are many, often strong disagreements between copyright holders and those who wish to provide greater access to our cultural heritage, few dispute that the goal is to balance the interests of the public with those of writers, artists, and other creators.

Developing and implementing a technical framework for interoperable rights statements
May 20, 2015

Developing and implementing a technical framework for interoperable rights statements

In this post, Mark Matienzo (DPLA) and Antoine Isaac (Europeana Foundation), members of the International Rights Statement Working Group, discuss the key requirements and implementation plan for the technical aspect of the group’s work.

Within the Technical Working Group of the International Rights Statements Working Group, we have been focusing our efforts on identifying a set of requirements and a technically sound and sustainable plan to implement the rights statements under development. Now that two of the Working Group’s white papers have been released, we realized it was a good time to build on the introductory blog post by our Co-Chairs, Emily Gore and Paul Keller. Accordingly, we hope this post provides a good introduction to our technical white paper, Recommendations for the Technical Infrastructure for Standardized International Rights Statements, and more generally, how our thinking has changed throughout the activities of the working group.

The principles for establishing international & interoperable rights statements
May 11, 2015

The principles for establishing international & interoperable rights statements

In this post Paul Keller & Emily Gore, Co-Chairs of the International Rights Statement Working Group, describe the progress made by the group and share the first two white papers published by the group.

Over the past twelve months representatives from Europeana, the DPLA and Creative Commons have been exploring the possibilities for a collaborative approach to rights statements that can be used to communicate the copyright status of cultural objects published via our platforms. This work is close to the heart of both Europeana and the DPLA as we both seek to share clear and accurate information about copyright status with users.