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2 minutes to read Posted on Tuesday June 21, 2016

Updated on Monday November 6, 2023

Finding the ‘right’ fit to share your cultural content

Finding the ‘right’ fit to share your cultural content: Two new Europeana rights statements launching November 2016.

Since 2011, the Europeana Licensing Framework is a best practice model designed to harmonise and standardise the way data providers communicate the copyright status of their collections to users. Data providers are able to choose one of 13 rights statements which best describes the way each digital object can be used. Over 50 million works are successfully shared online via Europeana using one of these rights statements.

Roman votive offering of two clay-baked hands, 200 BC to AD 200, The Wellcome Library, CC BY 4.0

To make sure our collections grow and evolve, it is important that the rights statements continue to support data provider’s internal policies whilst respecting the copyright status of cultural content.

Over the past two years data providers have identified two specific situations that the current rights statements do not support. These relate to instances where legal restrictions (other than copyright) can impact on the extent of re-use of works that are in the Public Domain or when data providers would like to allow permission to use in-copyright works for educational purposes.

Based on this feedback, Europeana, in consultation with the International Working Group on interoperable rights statements , has developed two rights statements that can be used to support data providers in making more of their collections available online. In April 2016 both rights statements were launched as part of the initiative:

Following consultation with the European Network via the Copyright Working Group, the recommendation to include these 2 rights statements in the Europeana Licensing Framework was proposed to and have been approved for use by Europeana Foundation.

This means that in November of this year they will be included as part of the broader transition to the statements provided by and will offer more accurate rights statements for data providers when selecting what works they wish to make available via Europeana.

What the new rights statements mean for data providers and users

Some collections made available via Europeana are in-copyright and permission will have been granted by the copyright holder before they are published online. Equally, there will be a number of works which are in the public domain. Wherever possible Europeana encourages data providers to respect that all public domain works should remain available in the public domain once they are digitised.

The introduction of the new rights statement ‘In Copyright - Educational Use’ will allow data providers to make available for the first time some in-copyright works for educational use only. This will allow users to engage with content shared via Europeana as part of educational activities. This rights statement is intended for use in situations where the data partner is not able to make the digital object available under one of the Creative Commons licenses (which offer much more robust permissions for re use).

Whilst Europeana promotes the principle of what is public domain should remain public domain, as outlined in the Public Domain Charter, we also accept that in some countries other legal restrictions may be relied on to inform what is made available online and under what terms. An example of when the rights statement ‘No Copyright Other Known Legal Restrictions’ might be used by a data provider is by Italian organisations who can provide access to public domain works but in some cases it might be limited by the Italian Code of Cultural Heritage and Landscape (the ‘Codice Urbani’).

Another example of when the ‘No Copyright Other Known Legal Restrictions’ might be used is by French organisations. The Public Sector Information Directive governs how much access and re-use may be made of public sector material, allowing French institutions to limit the commercial re-use of public domain heritage content.

On this basis , the working group recommended to and had the following approved by Europeana Foundation:

‘We recommend to Europeana Foundation to add the In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted rights statement to the list of available rights statements as part of the transition to later this year.

We recommend to Europeana Foundation to add the No Copyright Other Known Legal Restrictions rights statement to the list of available rights statements as part of the transition to later this year. Use of this statement on Europeana should only be permitted when the data provider identifies a concrete legal basis for the restrictions on re-use and provides a URL that contains more information about the specific restrictions and their legal basis.

We recommend that Europeana Foundation reviews the use of both rights statements 1 year after they have been made available for use on Europeana and shares the outcomes of this review with the copyright working group of the Europeana Network Association.’

We will introduce the new rights statements in November as part of the transition to and will help data providers in best managing, sharing and engaging others in discovering their collections via Europeana. To find out more please see our factsheet.