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Posted on Friday March 27, 2020

Updated on Wednesday April 15, 2020

1 March 2020 to 30 November 2020
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How-to guide for labelling cultural heritage

This Task Force aims to assess the feasibility, and provide instructions to replicate in different jurisdictions, a decision-making schema for cultural heritage institutions that helps them identify copyright and neighbouring rights in their collections and select the correct rights statement when making them available online.

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This will include an assessment of ethical considerations to undertake prior to digitisation or applying an open license, such as due to sensitive materials or privacy concerns.


A pilot system has already been developed by the National Library of Lithuania (in partnership with Juozas Markauskas and Jurga Gradauskaite), and was presented at Europeana 2019. It consists of questions that help both determine the copyright status of a work (authorship, rightsholders, licenses and other agreements) and choose the specific license (how willing and to what extent can the institution open up).

There are some existing tools that help cultural heritage professionals navigate copyright, but none provide the exact same support. For instance:

  • The Creative Commons License chooser only considers the terms of the license, not the copyright status of the work, because it assumes that the one applying the license is the rightsholder.
  • The Public Domain calculator helps cultural heritage institutions understand what works are in the public domain but does not advise what right statement to apply and does not provide guidance on works that are not in the public domain (and has not been updated lately).

Relation to the Europeana Strategy 2020

The Task Force will contribute to the following priority: '1. Make it easy and rewarding for Cultural Heritage Institutions to share high-quality content.' 

It is well known that copyright often stands in the way of cultural heritage institutions that wish to digitise and make content available online. The lack of copyright specialists and copyright knowledge overall in cultural heritage institutions makes this difficult to overcome. This obstacle undermines possibilities for cultural heritage institutions to share high-quality content not only through their own platforms, but also through Europeana. The development of the tool that the Task Force would analyse would facilitate the work of cultural heritage professionals who have no access to legal specialists.

Expected outcomes

The Task Force will produce a final report explaining the steps that need to be undertaken to convert the system that already exists in Lithuania to other jurisdictions. More specifically, it will:

  1. Describe the experience of converting the Lithuanian system into another legislation and the feasibility of replicating it to other countries.
  2. Explore legal and ethical questions that need to be solved in order to adapt the questionnaire to other jurisdictions
  3. Assess the type of support that will be needed in the future to encourage and assist other countries in adapting the tool, including possible budgetary needs and technical guidelines.
  4. Identify implementation needs including the role of a contact point in every country that wants to adopt the system, and Europeana’s possible coordination role.