Public Domain Tool

Objects in the public domain are all creative works that are not subject to exclusive intellectual ownership rights. These rights might have expired or been explicitly waived by the author, or they might simply not apply. So you might have fantastic content you want to share, but how do you know if (part of) your collection belongs in the public domain?

You can of course investigate each individual item, but that can be very time-consuming if you have an extensive collection, and there is often information available that can help to largely automate the process. Consider the date of creation or the year the creator passed away, for example. The Public Domain Tool gets to work with this information by combining it with data from Wikidata, which relieves you of a chunk of manual work and gives you faster insights into the copyright status for (at least part of) your collection.

If you manage one or more heritage collections, you can get started straight away – with a CSV export of the part of your collection that you want to determine the copyright status for.

>> Go to the Public Domain Tool

How does it work?

With a valid CSV file, the tool matches the creators of your collection items with items in Wikidata. You will then receive an enriched CSV file a short while later in your inbox, so you can approve or reject the proposed matches. The tool suggests a copyright status for each item in your collection based on your information and the data from Wikidata.

>> Read how it works in detail here.

We developed this tool in 2020 for the Flanders Department of Culture, Youth and Media in the framework of the strategic vision paper: A Flemish cultural policy in the digital era. Corecrew took care of the technical development and CopyClear used bots to help us to improve the copyright status data on Wikidata for creators in Flemish collections.

Do you have any questions about the Public Domain Tool? Our colleague Bart Magnus will be happy to help you further.