Investigate which part of your collection belongs in the public domain

3 Feb 2021

What if you could make your collection accessible online safely? Collections that are in the public domain are not subject to copyright protection (anymore) and can therefore be made available digitally as much as possible. It is therefore essential to know the copyright status for the items in your collection. But how do you find out which items in your collection are not subject to copyright protection (anymore)?

You could investigate every individual item in your collection, but that would be very time-consuming, which is why the Department of Culture, Youth and Media asked us to develop a useful tool for this purpose. This tool – aptly named the Public Domain Tool – is now available and ready to use.

What does the Public Domain Tool do?

By intelligently combining information that is already known – such as the collection item’s date of creation or the creator’s year of death – with data from Wikidata, the tool can take a sizeable chunk of manual work off your hands.

The tool then indicates – based on the data available – which works are definitely in the public domain, and when the copyright protection expires for works which are definitely not in the public domain yet. This gives you a quicker idea about which items in your collection you can make accessible online safely.

Questions, comments and feedback are very welcome and can be used to improve the tool further. Please contact our colleague Bart Magnus.

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