Why there is need for a new agreement between Europeana and the providers?

Between autumn 2010 and spring 2011, Europeana held extensive consultations with its key stakeholder groups: content providers and aggregators, users, policy makers and the market. The clear message it received was that Europeana should be more than a destination portal. It should act as a facilitator, where the aggregated and enriched data is widely distributed, through partners' sites, embedded in educational applications and re-used by the creative industries.

In the Europeana Strategic Plan 2011-2015, the Europeana Foundation lays out 4 strategic paths: aggregation of cultural content; facilitation of innovation in the cultural heritage sector through knowledge transfer and advocacy; distribution of the content into users' workflow; and advancement of new ways to engage users with culture.

These plans cannot be realised under the current data provider and aggregator agreements which grant Europeana the right to allow third parties to re-use data only for non-commercial purposes.

The Europeana Foundation is therefore promoting a new data agreement with content providers and aggregators under which metadata delivered to Europeana would be released under a CC0 Public Domain Dedication.

Is the new Data Exchange Agreement the same for data providers and for aggregators?

Yes, the Data Exchange Agreement will replace both the data provider agreement and the data aggregator agreement. The Data Exchange Agreement treats both data providers and data aggregators the same (both are providing data to Europeana). Data aggregators are treated as data providers that have data providers of their own. The Data Exchange Agreement contains clauses that require data aggregators to be mandated to provide their data providers' data and a clause that ensures that all attribution information will be passed on to Europeana.

As with the current situation, the Data Exchange Agreement will need to be signed by an individual provider or aggregator delivering data directly to Europeana.

Why drop the non-commercial clause from the agreement?

There are several reasons for dropping the non-commercial clause from the agreement and allowing third parties to use the data published by Europeana for both commercial and non-commercial purposes:

  1. The non-commercial clause severely restricts Europeana in its choice of partners and the type of projects it can undertake (under the current terms Europeana engages in partnerships with non-commercial entities). Being limited to non-commercial partners makes it impossible for Europeana to achieve the goals formulated in the strategic plan. It cannot, for instance, make the metadata available to commercial providers of school interactive white boards; it cannot make the connections with mobile phone operators to be able to feed cultural heritage data into geo aware applications; it cannot work with genealogical ventures to provide background data, etc.
  2. The non-commercial restriction prevents Europeana from making available the data as Linked Open Data (see below). Linked Data published under a non-commercial license makes such data incompatible with the core of Linked Open Data, which severely limits its usability for applications based on the Linked Open Data principles.
  3. The non-commercial restriction will prevent full implementation of the Europeana Data Model (EDM) that has been created and implemented by the providers themselves. The EDM is based on the linked open data concept and allows for the integration of commercial ontological resources, translation of metadata and integration with other sources under the same standard licenses. Using a license such as CC0 allows the level of flexibility to accommodate the diversity of formats and field sets of EDM.
  4. The non-commercial restriction makes data published by Europeana incompatible with Wikipedia (Wikipedia insists that all data and content contributed to the project are licensed without restrictions on commercial or other forms of use). This means that the data and information published by Europeana will exist alongside and in competition to the information made available by Wikipedia. In the current situation where Wikipedia is the first point of reference for factual information online, this carries the risk that much of Europeana's efforts will remain invisible to a broad public.
  5. Europeana's data providers vary widely and some of them are commercial entities. As long as the non-commercial restriction remains in place this means that Europeana cannot share back the data with all of its providers.
  6. The terms "commercial use" and "non-commercial use" are open to interpretation. This means that the use of a non-commercial use restriction generates a level of legal uncertainty. Publishing the data aggregated by Europeana as Linked Open Data also makes it impossible to effectively enforce a non-commercial restriction.
  7. Once data is on the open web it becomes very difficult to enforce restrictions on it. Europeana feels that it is better to only release data that will not cause problems to the institution if it gets re-used.

How is attribution handled in the context of the Data Exchange Agreement?

CC0 does not require end users to give attribution when using the data, but when publishing data Europeana will always give attribution to the data providers and aggregators that have contributed the data to Europeana. Europeana will also link to a set of Europeana Metadata Usage Guidelines that request users of the data to leave attribution information intact whenever possible. Through these guidelines Europeana intends to establish good practice for users of cultural heritage metadata that deal with attribution and other issues, such as privacy.

Does Europeana plan to use data from its data providers for commercial purposes?

No, Europeana does not plan to use the data from its data providers for commercial purposes. This includes selling the metadata (or parts thereof) to third parties or selling advertisement related to metadata or search results on Europeana.

At the same time, Europeana intends to make use of the aggregated data in the context of collaboration with commercial partners. At the moment there are no concrete plans. Prior to entering into any concrete partnerships, Europeana will consult with the members of the Council of Content Providers and Aggregators.

What does the Data Exchange Agreement foresee about previews (thumbnails, a/v snippets, etc.) and content?

The Data Exchange Agreement primarily deals with descriptive metadata. For the purpose of the Data Exchange Agreement neither content nor previews are considered to be metadata. The CC0 Public Domain Dedication applies only to metadata. Europeana does not publish any digital content as it does not hold any. This remains in the control of the data providers. When previews (or other thumbnails, a/v snippets, etc.) are provided to Europeana, Europeana will publish these alongside the search results. Unless the data provider explicitly specifies otherwise, with a rights statement, third parties are not allowed to re-use the previews.

Do I lose control over the data if my metadata becomes available under the new Data Exchange Agreement/CC0?

Whenever you publish something on the Internet you loose a certain amount of control over what you have published. Licensing conditions, such as the conditions established by the current Europeana Terms of Use, establish some amount of control. This control can only be maintained through enforcement.

Under the terms of the Data Exchange Agreement there are no restrictions on how the metadata provided to Europeana can be used. Europeana provides a set of Europeana Metadata Usage Guidelines (currently in draft form) that outline best practices for third parties using the metadata.

You can exercise some amount of control over your metadata by carefully selecting what data you make available, via which channels and by ensuring that your metadata is up to date and easy to find. Europeana will assist you with this by removing or updating outdated data upon your request.

Why is it not possible to create licenses at record level so that some data submitted to Europeana can be excluded from an onward CC0 license?

Europeana has looked into this and it could be an option. But it is an option that will complicate work processes enormously and confuse things for the user. The user will then be able to see things on Europeana, which is an open, public resource, but which cannot be used via an API in a site such as Artfinder. It will also necessarily exclude such records from the linked open data cloud and to some degree from EDM.

Can I continue generating income with my metadata if it becomes available under the new Data Exchange Agreement/CC0?

It is important to realise that making available your metadata via Europeana for free and without restrictions on re-use does not mean that you cannot provide your metadata to others under different conditions. This includes the ability to sell your metadata or products and services based on your metadata. For example, it is possible that you provide a limited set of metadata to Europeana while offering a more extensive set to another entity for sale. In this scenario Europeana can be an important driver of traffic to your commercial offering. Under the terms of the new agreement you can even enrich your metadata with metadata obtained from Europeana and sell the enriched datasets.

What can others do with my metadata after it has been published by Europeana?

Third parties (including individual users, educational institutions, cultural heritage institutions, internet projects and commercial entities) can use the metadata published by Europeana for any purpose they see fit. This includes re-publishing it, re-arranging it and combining it with other data. They can do so for commercial and non-commercial purposes and they can keep any proceeds to themselves.

What is Linked Open Data?

Linked Open Data is a way of publishing structured data that allows metadata to be connected and enriched, so that different representations of the same content can be found, and links made between related resources.

Why does Europeana want to publish my data as Linked Open Data?

Publishing data as Linked Open Data will improve the discoverability of your content. It will help Europeana enrich your metadata and give this enriched metadata back to you. It also populates the Linked Open Data cloud with trusted, authentic and quality sources, and makes data more accessible for all. This further increases visibility and use of your content and drives traffic to your site.

Are there any examples of LOD implementation in the cultural heritage sector?

Several heritage institutions understand the benefits of Linked Open Data and have started making their metadata or vocabulary sources available as LOD.

Here are just a few examples:

  • The Swedish National Library
  • The German National Library
  • The Library of Congress
  • OCLC's VIAF (The Virtual International Authority File)
  • The Swedish National Heritage Board
  • The Amsterdam Museum
  • The Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
  • The BBC
  • Conflicthistory.com

What is Europeana doing with LOD?

We are currently running a Linked Open Data pilot, which is working with over 3 million metadata records from 20 partners:

  • The national libraries of Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Serbia, the UK,
  • University of Patras - Library and Information Centre, Greece,
  • The Swedish National Heritage Board,
  • The Spanish Ministry of Culture for the Hispana collection,
  • The Danish Film Institute,
  • The Austrian Filmarchive,
  • The film archive of the national library of Norway,
  • Federacja Bibliotek Cyfrowych, Poland,
  • The Békés Megyei Tudásház es Könyvtár, Hungary,
  • ABM-utvikling from Norway,
  • Erfgoedplus.be from Belgium and
  • The Tyne and Wear Museums from the UK.

What will happen when we move from the old agreement to the new?

If the new Data Exchange Agreement is adopted by the Europeana Foundation, the aim is to put it into force in the autumn of 2011 with an extensive grace period to allow providers to process the new agreements. During this grace period Europeana will not release the data.

What are the next steps in the process towards agreeing the new Data Exchage Agreement?

A final round of consultation and feedback takes place in May 2011.

This feedback to the consultation will be discussed at the Council of Content Providers and Aggregators (CCPA) legal working group meeting in Birmingham on 7 June 2011. The CCPA legal working group will then decide on the next steps.

It is likely that the Data Exchange Agreement will be adopted by the Europeana Foundation if the majority of the data providers and aggregators delivering data to Europeana respond positively to this second round of consultations which is running until 31 May 2011.

It is hoped to finalise the Data Exchange Agreement and make it available for signing on 1 September 2011. The current data provider agreement and the aggregator agreement will run until the end of the year (grace period) after which it will be no longer valid. All providers and aggregators delivering data to Europeana will need to sign the Data Exchange Agreement between 1 September 2011 and 31 December 2011.

In parallel, data providers and aggregators will need to update the data they deliver to Europeana if they wish to, and Europeana will need to re-harvest their data. Sufficient instructions will be given to partners regarding the practical aspects later in the summer 2011.

Where a provider has not signed the new agreement by the end of the year, their data is likely to be removed from Europeana in early 2012.

I am an aggregator/data provider and I deliver data to Europeana. I already have signed the existing aggregator/ data provider agreement. Do I need to sign the new one?

Yes, Europeana would like to terminate the current data provider and aggregator agreements at the end of this year. Between September and December all partners delivering data to Europeana will need to sign the Data Exchange Agreement. There will not be two parallel options, meaning, a provider will not be able to choose to deliver its data under the current data provider or aggregator agreement after the end of 2011.

I am an EU-funded project and I deliver data to Europeana. Do I need to sign the Data Exchange Agreement?

Yes, all partners that deliver data to Europeana will need to sign the Data Exchange Agreement whether the project is ongoing or is finishing. The Data Exchange Agreement needs to be signed by a legal entity. There are three scenarios envisaged regarding the projects that deliver data to Europeana:

  1. The project consortium, acting as an Aggregator, forms a legal entity that is also responsible for signing the DEA with Europeana. CENL, for example, could be responsible for signing the Data Exchange Agreement with Europeana on behalf of Europeana Libraries. The European Film Gateway is also setting up a legal entity to look after the sustainability of the project results. This legal entity would sign the Data Exchange Agreement with Europeana with the explicit consent of the project partners.
  2. One of the project partners assumes the role of an aggregator and signs the Data Exchange Agreement with Europeana on behalf of the other providers, with their consent. As it may be the case the coordinator of a project or another partner with a legal status takes on the role of the aggregator with the consent of the consortium. Europeana would then sign the Data Exchange Agreement with this aggregator.
  3. Europeana signs the Data Exchange Agreement with the individual project providers. If scenarios a. or b. above are not possible, Europeana will sign agreements with the individual project partners that deliver data to Europeana.

Although all running EU funded projects have a contractual commitment with the Commission to deliver their data to Europeana there may not be a uniform consent to the DEA by the consortium. In this case we will sign the DEA with the individual willing partners whose data will also be made available via Europeana.eu.

My project is coming to an end before September and I don't have any kind of Agreement signed with Europeana. What do I need to do?

Please contact your Europeana liaison person if you feel that you need to be contractually covered between the expiration of your project and the signing of the Data Exchange Agreement.

What happens to my metadata if I sign the Data Exchange Agreement?

When you sign the Data Exchange Agreement, sufficient time will be allowed for you to update the metadata you deliver to Europeana if you wish and have it re-harvested. Europeana will publish your metadata as Linked Open Data and will make it available via its APIs to third parties for re-use. From then on, everyone will be able to copy, re-use and adapt your metadata.

What happens with my metadata if I don't sign the agreement?

If you have data in Europeana and you don't sign the Data Exchange Agreement by 31 December 2011, your metadata may be removed from Europeana.eu.

Europeana asks me to deliver the data I feel comfortable with delivering. What are the different implementation scenarios?

Removing data from Europeana will hamper the functionality and the user experience on the Europeana site, we, therefore, don't recommend it. We understand though that there may be some commercial interest in some data or some sensitive information that providers don't want to continue to make available. We see different implementation scenarios for delivering data to Europeana under the Data Exchange Agreement:

  • Filtering at provider level

The institution/aggregator providing data submits only part of its metadata to Europeana. It filters out the information that may be sensitive or is not intended for copy or re-use.

  • Filtering at aggregator level

The European Film Gateway is considering the development of a filter to withhold, on behalf of its providers, part of the information it delivers to Europeana.

  • Time-embargo filtering

The institution/aggregator providing content delivers data with some delay after it's been commercially exploited (i.e., a couple of national libraries are considering delivering data to Europeana with a few months delay and after it has been exploited commercially by the library itself)

  • Make use of different packaging options to exploit data

The British Library announced when releasing the national bibliography under CC0 that "the new free service will operate in parallel to the British Library's priced bulk MARC data supply activity which is used extensively by large commercial customers."

Europeana asks providers to deliver what they feel comfortable with but at the same time makes more metadata fields mandatory. Isn't this an oxymoron?

In the last two years the work of data ingestion has been focused on quantity - increasing the number of digital objects in Europeana. Now that we have over 19 million items, we are taking the opportunity to focus on improving the quality of the data.

Changes have been made to the ESE Specification to support the improvement in data quality. Several fields were made mandatory:

  • europeana:rights
  • europeana:dataProvider
  • dc:language (mandatory for objects with type TEXT, strongly recommended for other types where appropriate)
  • dc:title and dc:description (Mandatory to provide one of these two)
  • dc:subject, dc:type, dc:coverage; dcterms:spatial (Mandatory to provide one of these four)

We ask providers to give us what they feel comfortable while respecting some quality thresholds that will allow minimum functionality and consistency of quality across the portal.

In some domains it can be difficult to differentiate clearly between content and metadata, and as a result whatever data is given to Europeana is called, for purposes of this agreement, metadata. In the DEA it says explicitly anyway that Europeana is not aggregating content. So which is true?

In some domains (such as museums) it can be difficult to differentiate clearly between extended descriptions which may include domain specific research and publications; and factual Metadata, as typically found in libraries for example. As Europeana only accepts Metadata under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) rights waiver, partners must ensure that all IP rights allow for this or the problematic parts are withheld from Europeana. Note: Europeana does not currently accept any Content of any type. It is therefore not possible to submit the extended descriptions as if it were Content, as Europeana does not currently accept any Content.

Is Europeana going to update the agreement any time soon?

The proposed Data Exchange Agreement will allow the Europeana Foundation to fulfil its strategic objectives as outlined in the Europeana Strategic Plan 2011-2015. It is, therefore, unlikely that the agreement will be changed during that timeframe.

I am an aggregator and I need to convince my providers about the need to authorise me to deliver data to Europeana. How can Europeana help me in this respect?

Europeana has created some webpages which are dedicated to the promotion of the Data Exchange Agreement. There you can find a lot of supportive and informative resources that you can re-use. The Data Exchange Agreement itself can be used as a model for you to sign with your individual providers. If you need additional information or help please write to us at dea@europeana.eu and we will discuss the best ways for Europeana to help you further.

If a user obtains the Europeana data directly from Europeana and from a provider which law prevails for the application of the CC0 Dedication? The Dutch jurisdiction or the jurisdiction of the country of the provider?

The CC0 is not a licence proper, it's a waiver of rights with universal application. This means that the 'Affirmer' intends to waive all rights on his work with respect to all countries of the world. However, the document contains no choice of law or jurisdiction.

If a European court were to hear a dispute about it, it would in principle have either one of two choices: refer to the law of the country of the Affirmer or refer to the law of the country of the user of the waiver.

In the case of the application of the CC0 to Metadata by Europeana - the fear that the waiver amounts to different results across the EU is minimal, mainly because the protection of facts and other elements of information under the law of copyright and database right is highly harmonized in the EU (copyright through Infopaq and BSA decisions of the ECJ; and database right through the database directive). The waiver of rights on Metadata under European law hardly gives rise to any problem of interpretation. There would therefore be no need to look at the law of the country of the Affirmer, since the law of the user would most probably say the same.


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