About RightsStatements.org

RightsStatements.org is a joint initiative of Europeana and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). Europeana, the Digital Public Library of America, and many other libraries, archives and other cultural heritage institutions believe that everyone should be able to engage with their cultural heritage online. We can help achieve this by providing cultural heritage institutions with simple and standardized terms to summarize the copyright status of Works in their collection and how those Works may be used. These simple and standardized terms we call “Rights Statements.” Providing this information is essential for those who wish to actively engage with the works they find online. Can they use it in a school report? Print it on a t­-shirt? Integrate it into a commercial app?

Currently, there is no global approach to rights statements that works for a broad set of institutions, leading to a confusing proliferation of terms. Simplifying the use and application of Rights Statements benefits both contributing organizations, which share their valuable collections online through aggregators such as Europeana and the DPLA, and the people who engage with those collections.

RightsStatements.org provides 12 standardized rights statements that can be used by cultural heritage institutions to communicate the copyright and re-use status of digital objects to the public. These statements provide a minimum, baseline standard for organizations contributing to the DPLA, Europeana and any other digital aggregator that adopts the RightsStatements.org standard.

RightsStatements.org establishes the vocabulary that every organization can use to talk to their audiences about copyright and related rights in a meaningful way. It provides the technical and governance infrastructure to support their development and adoption, and ensure their on­going relevance.

The Consortium Business Plan for 2018 prepared by the Steering Committee and supported by a Work Plan is now published:

  1. 2018 Business Plan
  2. Consortium Work Plan 2018

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee overseas the development of the work of the Consortium. Consisting of 9 members representing fee paying member of the consortium, the co-chairs of the working groups, and supported by a Coordinator, they meet virtually bi-monthly and once in person annually. The first annual meeting of the Steering Committee was held in September 2017, at the offices of Europeana Foundation, The Hague, Netherlands. The minutes of that meeting are publicly available here. Minutes of subsequent meetings will be published in due course.

Chair: Jill Cousins, on behalf of Europeana Foundation

Vice Chair: Caitlin Horrall, Library & Archives Canada


  • Partha Pratim Das, National Digital Library India
  • Cathie Oates, Trove at the National Digital Library of Australia
  • Emily Gore, the Digital Public Library of America (also Co-Chair of the Statements WG)
  • Paul Keller, Kennisland (Co-Chair of the Statements WG)
  • Antoine Isaac, Europeana Foundation (Co-Chair of the Technical Working Group)
  • Mark Matienzo, Stanford University (Co-Chair of the Technical Working Group)

Coordinator: Julia Fallon, Europeana Foundation

Working Groups

The basic principles and the technical infrastructure of rightsstatements.org have been developed by DPLA and Europeana with the help of two working groups (the International Rights Statements Working Group, and its Technical Working Group) comprised of individuals from Europeana, DPLA and a number of organizations contributing to these platforms.

Partner Organizations


Creative Commons is consulted and advises on this initiative. CC licenses and public domain tools are stewarded independently of the rights statements. The rights statements are not licenses and should not be used to license your work. Learn more about Creative Commons at http://creativecommons.org/.

Financial Support

RightsStatements.org has been realized with the support from:

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Co-Financed by the European Union - Connecting Europe Facility