Assert your rights in online content

f you are a creator of online content, you should make sure your rights are clear to web crawlers when they read your site.

If you create or if you own content, you are not required in law to assert your rights since they are automatically protected except in specific situations (copyright exceptions). 

Things are changing as more uses for online content emerge. For example, more exceptions will be introduced in the EU next year. Article 4 of the Copyright Directive creates a revocable exception for text and data mining for all systems, which means that commercial web crawlers may pick up and use content from your web pages unless you assert your rights in a way that the bots that read and harvest your content can understand.

It is always good practice to state your rights clearly. The Copyright Hub offers a simple way to assert your rights that can be understood by machines (web crawlers) as well as by humans (your site users).

What you need to do

First, decide how you want to assert your rights. Choose between:

  1. Rights are reserved and are not available.
  2. Rights are reserved, contact us for details.

Then, sign up to the Copyright Hub. It only costs £50 a year.

  1. Email admin@copyrighthub.org
  2. Tell us which option you choose above: 1 or 2

We will send you a few lines of code to include in your site and some instructions on how to do it.

How does it work?

The code you add tells site crawlers that your content must be licensed. As well as that, it sends them to a link which provides your rights information in machine readable format (ODRL in JSON).

To say this, it uses web standards in 2 ways:

  1. Schema.org (common standard supported by Google)
  2. HTML5 (newly emerging standard from W3C)

Additionally You can decide to show the eCopyright symbol on your pages. Displaying the symbol on your site shows your users that your rights are reserved and provides them with human-readable details when clicked.

The eCopyright Symbol