Data Exchange Agreement

When making their collections available via Europeana, contributing organisations also need to provide descriptive metadata relating to the objects in those collections. They are also asked to provide previews to illustrate search results. The terms under which Europeana and its users can make use of previews and descriptive metadata are established by the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement.

The Europeana Data Exchange Agreement (DEA) is the central element of the Europeana Licensing Framework. The DEA structures the relationship between Europeana and its data providers. As of 1 July 2012, the Europeana Data Exchange Agreement replaced all the existing agreements between Europeana and its data providers and aggregators. 

With regard to licensing of the resources provided by data providers to Europeana, the DEA sets out two simple principles:

  1. For all descriptive metadata provided to Europeana, data providers grant Europeana the right to publish the metadata under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. This means that all metadata provided to Europeana can be re-used by third parties without any restrictions.
  2. Each digital object (and the associated preview) that is available via Europeana needs to carry a rights label that describes its copyright status. Data providers grant Europeana the right to publish previews provided to Europeana. Previews may not be re-used by third parties unless the rights label related to the object allows such re-use.

Provision of Metadata and Previews

Article 2 of the DEA deals with the provision of metadata and previews by data providers to Europeana. It establishes that data providers are free to decide how much metadata they provide about their content. This means that data providers can themselves decide how rich the metadata they provide to Europeana should be. This allows them to keep certain types of metadata to themselves. Although Europeana would like to receive the richest possible metadata, there can be good reasons (e.g. the metadata is covered by intellectual property rights of third parties or it is too sensitive to be freely distributed) to keep certain parts of the metadata out of Europeana (and thus out of the scope of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication applied by Europeana to all metadata). 

Article 2 of the DEA also establishes that data providers shall submit metadata and previews in accordance with the Europeana Data Model that has been developed by Europeana for this purpose. Since the Europeana Data Model contains a number of fields that are mandatory (as they contain essential information that is required for Europeana to function), it necessarily limits the ability of data providers to decide which metadata they want to make available.

Article 2 of the DEA also requires that data providers must make best efforts to provide the correct metadata concerning the intellectual property rights of the content (digital objects), including the identification of content that is public domain. This requirement is important for several reasons:

  • It allows Europeana to properly communicate what users can do with the content. 
  • Europeana uses this information to display icons with rights information alongside the search results. In order to do so, the information has to be supplied and must be correct (see ‘Available Rights Statements' for more information on this). 
  • This information is also used to communicate rights information about the previews that are displayed on Europeana. Without this information, Europeana cannot provide end-users with information about the rights status of the previews.

Article 2 also states that the metadata specifications used by Europeana (the Europeana Data Model) can only be changed after consultation with the Europeana Network which represents the data providers and aggregators of Europeana. 

Finally, the DEA requires that Europeana complies with requests to update, remove or correct metadata provided by a data provider within 30 days after receiving a request to do so by the same data provider.

Use of Metadata

Article 3 of the DEA deals with how Europeana and third parties can use metadata provided by data providers. Article 3 gives Europeana the right to publish the metadata it has received from data providers.

As part of Article 3, data providers authorise Europeana to publish all provided metadata under the terms of the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. This means that all the metadata provided to and published by Europeana can be used by third parties without any restrictions. Effectively, the metadata becomes part of the public domain and is no longer subject to intellectual property rights.

However, Article 3 places a number of restrictions on the way Europeana itself can use the metadata. Whenever Europeana publishes metadata that can be attributed to one or more data providers, it has to give attribution to these providers. This ensures that whenever users of Europeana encounter such information on the Europeana website, it will be clearly attributed to the data provider(s).

In addition, Europeana is required to provide a link to the Europeana Data Use Guidelines when it makes metadata available under the terms of the CC0 waiver. These guidelines provide third party users with clear instructions on how to best re-use the metadata.

Article 3 guarantees that the metadata provided to Europeana can be re-used as freely as possible, while at the same time supporting the data provider's attribution, visibility and professional reputation. 

Use of Previews

Previews provided to Europeana do not fall under the scope of the CC0 waiver and cannot be re-used by third parties unless specified otherwise. Article 4 of the DEA deals with the use of previews by Europeana and (if applicable) by third parties. 

As part of Article 4, data providers allow Europeana to store previews on its servers and to publish them on Europeana. Previews may only be published together with the metadata that they pertain to. This ensures that the previews will be attributed to the data provider and that the correct rights information will be shown alongside them. 

Users can only use previews published by Europeana in accordance with the rights statement displayed alongside them (see an overview of all available rights statements). If this rights statement allows the re-use of the preview (for example because the work is in the public domain) then the preview can be re-used. If the rights statement does not allow re-use, then users are not allowed to re-use the previews displayed on Europeana.

Article 4 also allows Europeana to publish a URL that points to the preview on its servers via the Europeana API and as Linked Open Data. This allows third-party applications to display the previews by linking to them on Europeana (for example when displaying search results in a mobile app). 

Data providers are encouraged to provide previews but may opt not to (for example if rights could not be cleared). The end-user experience is much enhanced by the presence of previews and the evidence is that users only click on items with previews.

Notice and Takedown

Finally, Article 6 of the DEA establishes rules and procedures for dealing with situations in which metadata and/or previews that have been published by Europeana infringe the intellectual property, privacy, personality or publicity rights of third parties or violate public order or morality.

Article 6 requires data providers to make best efforts to ensure that Europeana can use the metadata and previews provided by them without infringing on third parties' intellectual property rights. Data providers must ensure that they own any relevant intellectual property rights in the metadata and previews, or that the metadata and previews are not protected by intellectual property rights, or that permission has been obtained for publication on Europeana under the terms outlined above.

Contact me for IPR and Policy Information

Julia Fallon

+31 70 3140964

Download the Europeana Licensing Agreement