Easy first steps
  • Start with low-risk steps, such as marking public domain material on your website as free for reuse. Examples of works that should be in the public domain include photographs taken before 1955 and works by authors who died before 1955.
  • Identify materials that the institution owns the copyright of and release them under broad terms of use (such as a Creative Commons licence). This may, for example, include catalogue data, descriptions of collection items, institution policies and photographs of non-copyright objects in the collection (ie not books or art). These materials can be very useful for historians, teachers and groups like Wikimedia but are not usually monetised, and so can be made available for reuse with little or no disadvantage to the institution.
  • Identify materials within your collection that have a single, easily locatable copyright owner – such as a collection of photos deposited by the photographer – and negotiate directly with them about the terms on which the material is made available to the public.
  • Incorporate an optional public access licence into your collection agreement. This highlights the issue of user access and gives donors the option of making their material more broadly available should they choose to. You may like to provide a range of options to donors, such as offering a choice of all rights reserved and the Creative Commons licences.
  • Try to make materials, wherever possible, available for reuse under upfront terms rather than requiring case-by-case permissions. Ensure these terms of use are user friendly, so staff members and visitors are aware of their rights and obligations.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License