Getting started: tools for working with copyrights

1 Dec 2021

Do you sometimes struggle with digital cultural content rights? Usage restrictions and a lack of good metadata rights often cause difficulties with online access to digital cultural content and its re-use. We are committed to removing this stumbling block, including in our extensive project: Tools for dealing with copyrights and usage restrictions on cultural content – which we launched in 2019 and concluded two years later with a set of handy tools.

Rights status is a complex and layered issue. We often receive helpdesk requests about cultural content rights. And we often encounter challenges related to our content partners’ content, which we digitise and make available for them, in our own work. We have therefore developed tools and good practices to help a wide range of cultural organisations.

What went before

In September 2019, we started work on the Tools for dealing with copyrights and usage restrictions on cultural content project. We set and achieved the goals of developing a shared data model (link in Dutch) and translating Rightsstatements.org into Dutch. We also worked on six pilot projects to develop, test and deliver tools and good practices.

Getting started!

Cultural organisations that manage heritage collections can now benefit from our tools, which provide them with support in identifying and documenting rights and usage restrictions on content, and maximising access and re-use. We’ve developed these tools and good practices around four principal areas:

  • risk analysis for orphan and out-of-commerce works (works which are no longer commercially available or never have been, but are still protected by copyright);

  • an open content policy tailored to the cultural organisation and creator in question;

  • documentation for metadata relating to rights and usage restrictions;

  • extensive research into content rights status.

We drew up six model agreements (on CEST and TRACKS) for contracts for freelancers, translated Rightsstatements.org and its twelve standardised rights statements into Dutch, and provided deliverables: deliverable 1 and deliverable 3 are already available (all links in Dutch). We look at the rights data model in detail in these parts of the project, and provide good practices for performing risk analyses for providing access to orphan and out-of-commerce works.

Some of the deliverables are the results of pilot projects carried out in collaboration with Kusterfgoed and COMEET heritage bodies, Museum M, Royal Conservatory of Brussels, Het Letterenhuis (House of Literature) and STAN theatre collective. Find more information about the pilot projects here.

Afbeelding: Dame in expositie, Léon Spilliaert, Mu.ZEE, foto door Cedric Verhelst, CC0

Do you have a question?
Contact Bart Magnus
Expertise Officer
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