CREATIVE SECTORS AND EU REGULATORS MAKE COPYRIGHT WORK ON THE WEB: NEW COPYRIGHT INNOVATION HAILED AS SUCCESS AT FINAL CONFERENCE

Today in Brussels, 9 December, on the day that the European Commission published its long-awaited Communication: “Towards a modern, more European Copyright Framework”, RDI, the part-EU-funded digital copyright project, held a conference to showcase the significant innovation in managing copyright online it has developed over a two-year period.

Thanks to the collaboration and support of project partners from the music, publishing, audiovisual, authors and image sectors (i), RDI’s work will revolutionize creators’ ability to express their rights online as well as B2B and B2C users’ ability to find content, use and re-use content.

European Commission Senior Innovation Adviser Robert Madelin said: "The success of this project reaffirms the synergy in Europe between private brainwaves and modest tax-funded support. This has been a two-year journey of innovation to improve legitimate access to online content and help towards the creation of a Digital Single Market, one of the aims being to improve and widen people's access to cultural content online – thereby nurturing cultural diversity – while opening new opportunities for creators and the content industry.”

The interoperable data model tested in the project will support millions of micro-web transactions, that would otherwise need to be managed manually.

RDI Project Director Andrew Farrow said: “Our approach has been very simple.  People create stuff, people want to use that stuff, and we want to make that process as easy as possible. There is no underlying assumption about business models, no obligation to adopt a particular technology, no requirement to adopt a new standard.  We just want to show that it is possible to automate some or all of the rights supply chain.”

In terms of its EU context, Commissioners Ansip and Oettinger have said that they have put copyright at heart of their digital agenda plans.  RDI relates directly to the overall objectives of the European Digital Agenda and will help identify solutions to the Digital Single Market.

Richard Hooper CBE, Chairman of The Copyright Hub Foundation, said: “The RDI project has shown big time that the theory works in practice. We need to move out of the laboratory into the real world and get creative companies and tech companies to apply the LCC’s non-proprietary and interoperable framework for real.”

The RDI project will directly benefit:

  • Anyone wishing to access and re-use online content easily and legally, whether individuals or businesses
  • Anyone wishing to create, upload and build business models around online content, whether individuals or businesses
  • Authors and individual professional artists of all types of online content wishing to make their work identifiable in machine-readable language
  • Businesses wishing to improve the efficiency of their licensing and rights management departments
  • Regulators working to improve licensing and to boost the digital economy

The RDI project partners now call on the creative sectors to integrate a rights’ data vision in their creations and right holdings to sustain and boost Europe’s cultural and creative assets on the web.

The Linked Content Coalition is now a permanent consortium of content sector standards bodies.  It is intended as a forum within which interoperable standards work can be carried forward.

It is hoped that a specific initiative to develop and implement a "Digital Rightsholder Statement", making it simple for anyone to declare their rights in a machine readable form using LCC standards and RDI methods, will begin in 2016. 

RDI was set up as a test case for the Linked Content Coalition (LCC) Rights Reference Model (RRM) (ii) to prove the efficacy of the new automated rights technology developed by experts across all media content sectors and published in 2013. Not only has the LCC model been proven in RDI, but the RRM been adopted by the Copyright Hub (iii), a global initiative to make licensing simpler. Elements of the RDI technology are also set to be used commercially in a number of different implementations.

There are many different standards for expressing rights information and this makes it difficult for potential users to establish whether they can use a piece of content.  It would be impractical to expect every content owner to adopt a new universal standard. RDI has proved that the LCC RRM can be used as a universal translator so that rights information can be expressed in a common language regardless of how the information was first expressed. It has also demonstrated that the RRM can accommodate different types of queries about rights.  For example, the question “I’d like to use your image in my corporate brochure” might get the response: “You can use my image if you credit me as the rights owner and only use it on the front page”.

RDI demonstrated three different ways in which people could identify content that they might want to re-use:

  • I find an image through a standard online search.  The image need have no information about its ownership associated with it but we can use the image itself to identify who can grant rights to use it;
  • I find a piece of music that I’d like to use in my corporate video using a standard online search.  The music could be hosted on any site but has a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) (iv) associated with it which directs me to the rights owner;
  • I want to identify a film clip I can use in a course I’m developing for students.  I visit a dedicated online rights store, use a text search to identify the appropriate clip, and can ask for rights information without leaving the site.

In summary, RDI has demonstrated:

  • That the LCC Rights Reference Model (RRM) can accurately represent all types of existing rights data across any content type, the relationships between them, and support a wide range of user queries.
  • That it is practical to provide an automated data transformation capability based on the formalised relationships (“mappings”) between the RRM and other formats.
  • That rights data in RRM form can be queried and/or aggregated as Linked Data.
  • That the RRM is highly extensible and should be able to cope with all new types of content, use and business model without significant revision, only by the addition of new or revised mappings
  • That the RRM appears viable not only for transformation and querying, but as a schema for databases/repositories within organizations or networks to enable internal data management and integration, including the management of related data such as for detailed content description or royalty management
  • That the RRM makes rights management flexible and simple and all the complexity is hidden from view

The following organizations have participated in RDI.

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Other contributors:

Axel Springer SE, Capture Ltd/British Library, Elsevier, International Press Communications Council (IPTC), Pearson PLC, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL)

Useful links:

www.rdi-project.eu 
www.linkedcontentcoalition.or
www.copyrighthub.co.uk 
http://ec.europa.eu/cip/

RDI FAQs: http://www.rdi-project.org/#!faq/c11lh

Twitter: @Linked_Content

(i) age fotostock Spain SL, Album Archivo Fotografico S.L., Axel Springer SE, Capture Ltd/British Library, Consolidated Independent Ltd, EDISER S.R.L, Elsevier, Getty Images, the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations (IFRRO), International Press Communications Council (IPTC), Pearson PLC, Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL), PLUS Coalition, Producentforeningen - Danish Producers Association, Consorzio Interuniversitario per il Calcolo Automatico dell'Italia Nord Orientale (CINECA), Rightscom Ltd, mEDRA S.R.L , RightsDirect BV, Center of the Picture Industry (CEPIC), Europe Analytica Ltd (representing European Publishers Council), European Writers Council (EWC)