The Rights Statement Selection Tool
Through the standardized rights statements it provides, RightsStatements.org allows institutions to clearly communicate the copyright status of digitized cultural heritage works, promoting their reuse. However, it can be tricky for institutions to determine correct statement usage through the site without additional context. The Rights Statement Selection Tool [bit.ly/RSSTOOL] is an interactive infographic that serves to visually explain the statement selection workflow, allowing a copyright novice to identify the correct statement through decision tree alone. This legal tool lets cultural heritage institutions assign rights statement review work to non-experts, potentially increasing the number of items that can be evaluated. It’s meant to be integrated into cataloging workflows: clickable links lead to each statement’s URI page, and it can be viewed in a browser alongside the RightsStatements.org site. The Tool serves as a complete visual reference to the statements: each is covered and explained. It aggregates relevant resources and serves as a structural bridge between related copyright status determination charts and Creative Commons charts. Donation agreements–often a source of confusion for rights statements reviewers–are covered as well. The Tool is, by design, as agnostic to national law as possible. The US-centered copyright status determination charts that feed into it (such as the Hirtle and Sunstein charts) could easily be swapped for resources reflecting other countries’ national law; the RightsStatements.org logic that it covers would remain unchanged, and so would the chart. As the RightsStatements.org standard goes global, this tool can be translated, adapted, and re-used beyond the US.