Rights statements - an introduction

Providing rights information is essential because users need to know how to access and use the objects you share.

Europeana uses 14 standardised rights statements,which communicate to users how they can access and use the content you share. Mandated by the Data Exchange Agreement, each digital object must be published with a rights statement.

Why are rights statements important?

The statements give users information about rights and permissions in clear and simple language. If you have decided to share your content openly, for example, you will want to communicate it clearly and effectively to users.

Rights statements are split into 3 categories

  • Freely Reusable - applies to digital objects that are freely reusable because copyright does not exist, has been waived by the rights holder, or is licenced under Creative Commons licences that allows any form of use for any purpose. Best practice guidelines apply for such use.
  • Limited Reuse - applies to digital objects where the reuse is limited. Where copyright does not exist the reuse is restricted due to contractual or legal restrictions. Where objects are in copyright, the reuse is permitted according to the terms of the selected Creative Commons licence.
  • No Reuse - applies to in-copyright digital objects which can be accessed via Europeana but for which the rights holders have not given any permission for reuse, or the conditions for reuse have not been described in a standardised way.

How to access rights statements on www.europeana.eu

  • You can view the rights statement alongside each object when accessing a record.
  • By clicking on the rights statement accompanying any object, you will access a webpage that provides more information about the way your object may be used.
  • You can apply a filter to find objects with a specific rights statement, split into three categories of use: Freely reusable, limited reuse and no reuse.

How rights statements work with our API

  • Rights statements are shared via the API in the same way that any other metadata field is shared.
  • The rights statements are encoded as URLs in the edm:rights field.
  • Rights statements are a fully searchable field.
  • You can find out more about accessing our data via the API at Europeana Labs

We provide a choice of 14 standardised rights statements

The rights statements support a broad range of scenarios for describing copyright, access and reuse terms. Your institution collects and stores information about the copyright statuses of the works it holds, as well as the terms and conditions of how specific works can be used. You will use this information to select and apply a rights statement to each digital object.

You submit the rights statement as metadata at ingestion time

When you submit your data to be published, the correct rights statement you have chosen is part of that data. The rights statements are encoded as URLs:

  • The URLs of the rights statements are either from the creativecommons.org namespace (PDM, CC0 and the 6 CC licences) or from the rightsstatements.org namespace (the other 6 rights statements).
  • The pages referenced by the rights statements provide both human and machine readable information about the copyright and reuse status of the digital object.
  • The URL is submitted in the edm:rights metadata field : <edm:rights rdf:resource="http://a.rights.statement/"/>