Making that pesky “Rights” field a little less pesky
Unfortunately, rights statements in digital collections don’t always give the user much guidance on how the item can actually be used. Sometimes the Rights field just says, “All rights reserved. Contact [holding institution] for permission to use.” Sometimes it says, “©1978. Smithsonian Institute.” In an ideal case, it may say, “Public domain. May be used freely without permission or restriction.” Really it can say anything because the Rights field is a free-text field.
Recently the DPLA did an assessment of 1.4 million rights statements from their service hubs as part of one of their new projects “Getting It Right On Rights.” They determined that almost 50% of the statements that they looked at said “All Rights Reserved” and 13% of the records were in the public domain. Only 3% of records had a Creative Commons license on them and 7% had no copyright statement at all.
At MWDL we are encouraging our partners to pay close attention to the Rights field and to create rights statements that help users to know what they can do with the items they find online (this is often referred to as an “access statement”). For instance, yesterday I recommended this language to a partner who wants to start using a Creative Commons license on her materials. It’s the most restrictive CC license but it’s still light-years better in the information it conveys to users.
Here was the suggested language that I gave to our partner:
Inspired? Want to learn more about copyright? Check out this great list of resources below, compiled by our friends at DPLA:
- Anderson, Rick. “Asserting Rights We Don’t Have: Libraries and “Permission To Publish.” Library Journal’s “Academic Newswire,” 2014. http://bit.ly/anderson-assertingrights
- Light, M. Controlling Goods or Promoting the Public Good: Choices for Special Collections in the Marketplace. Presentation at Rare Book and Manuscript Preconference, Las Vegas, NV, 2014. http://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/libfacpresentation/121
- Terras, Melissa. “Reuse of Digitised Content (1): So you want to reuse digital heritage content in a creative context? Good luck with that.” Melissa Terras’s Blog, 2014. http://melissaterras.blogspot.nl/2014/10/reuse-of-digitised-content-1-so-you.html
- Library Law (Mary Minow and Peter Hirtle). http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/
- Scholarly Communications @ Duke (Kevin Smith). http://blogs.library.duke.edu/scholcomm/
- “Copyright Genie,” ALA Office on Information and Technology Policy. http://librarycopyright.net/resources/genie/description.php
- “Copyright Tools,” American Library Association. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/copyright-tools
- “The Good news about library fair use (infographic).” Association of Research Libraries. http://www.arl.org/publications-resources/2875#.VIC2eqTF-Qg
- “Available rights statements,” Europeana. http://pro.europeana.eu/available-rights-statement
- “Copyright,” HathiTrust. http://www.hathitrust.org/copyright
- “Copyright Basics,” University of Michigan. http://guides.lib.umich.edu/copyrightbasics
- “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States,” Cornell University Library. http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
- Creative Commons. http://creativecommons.org/
- “Fair use,” Stanford University. http://fairuse.stanford.edu/
- “Public domain.” Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain