The Rights Statement Selection Tool


  • Gabriel Galson Temple University
  • Brandy Karl



Through the standardized rights statements it provides, 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 [] 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 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 logic that it covers would remain unchanged, and so would the chart. As the standard goes global, this tool can be translated, adapted, and re-used beyond the US.  

Author Biographies

Gabriel Galson, Temple University

Gabriel Galson is a Technology Projects Librarian at Temple University. He works through PA Digital's Rights subgroup, and the DPLA's Rights Statements Working Group. 

Brandy Karl

Copyright Officer and Affiliate Law Library Faculty, Penn State University Libraries


The Rights Statements Selection Tool is meant to be viewed and used when opened in a browser. The web version can be viewed through this shortlink:




How to Cite

Galson, G., & Karl, B. (2020). The Rights Statement Selection Tool. Journal of Copyright in Education &Amp; Librarianship, 4(1).