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Conforming Status for DCML Terms 'rightsHolder' and 'license'

DCMI Usage Board Decision on Proposal for Terms "rightsHolder" and "license"

Title:          Decision on proposal for dc:rights-related terms "rightsHolder" and "license"
Shepherd:       Andrew Wilson
Date:           2004-06-14
Description:    The decisions documented here refers to proposals considered at
                the Usage Board meeting of March 2004 in Bath UK.

Text of proposals

Decision: The Usage Board approves the addition of two new properties: "license" as a refinement of dc:rights, and an element "rightsHolder" as Conforming terms in the dcterms namespace.


Stuart Weibel, OCLC Office of Research, Andy Powell, UKOLN University of Bath, and Eric Miller, World Wide Web Consortium, proposed two new properties related to the dc:rights property — "license" and "rightsHolder". The DCMI Usage Board reviewed the proposal at a meeting in Bath UK on Monday, 15-March-2004. Members present were Tom Baker (chair), Diane Hillmann, Akira Miyazawa, Andy Powell, Roland Schwaenzl, Stuart Sutton, Rebecca Guenther, and Andrew Wilson (designated shepherd of the dc:rights-related terms proposal).

Although both terms were proposed with a status of Recommended, the Usage Board decided to accept both terms with a status of Conforming. The Usage Board took this decision because it is possible to model the relationship(s) between both terms in a variety of ways, and also because the proposed terms are not clearly related to resource discovery across domains although they do conform to Dublin Core grammatical principles.

The discussion of the proposal raised a significant issue concerning the relationship between the two proposed terms and what valid inferences can be drawn about the existence (or not) of such a relationship. There is a view that information about licenses typically requires the naming of the license holder, the licensee, the resource which is the object of the license, and possibly a validity period for the license, as well as the document setting out the license terms and conditions. The proposal submitted by Weibel, Powell and Miller made no statements about the existence of a relationship between the two terms. In fact, it was explicitly stated during discussion that there is no implied or inherent relationship between the two terms.

The two new terms enable the provision of metadata statements that: 1) identify a license associated with a resource, and 2) identify (or name) a person or organization holding rights over the resource. However, consuming applications MUST NOT infer that there is any relationship between the license(s) and the rights holder(s) indicated in the metadata statements.

As described in the proposal, the two terms approved here meet the very basic requirements to:

  • Support searches of the form "find all resources where an entity named using a simple string is a rights holder".

  • Support unambiguous searches of the form "find all resources where an entity that is identified using a URI is a rights holder".

  • Provide an unambiguous statement of the license under which the resource is made available, by providing a URI that identifies that license.

  • Support unambiguous searches of the form "find all resources which are made available under the terms of the license that has the following URI".

The Usage Board recognizes that meeting these basic requirements may be insufficient for many applications. The approval of these two "conforming" terms is not intended to preclude the use of more sophisticated solutions or the presentation of proposals for such solutions to the Usage Board, although in light of the many rights-related activities being carried out in the wider community the Board does not encourage such proposals.

Approved text - beginning
VMS-ID:          license-001
Name:            license
Label:           License
Definition:      A legal document giving official permission to do something
                 with the resource.
Comment:         Recommended best practice is to identify the license using a
                 URI. Examples of such licenses can be found at
Type of term:
Date issued:     2004-06-14
Approved text - end

Approved text - beginning
VMS-ID:          rightsHolder-001
Name:            rightsHolder
Label:           Rights Holder
Definition:      A person or organization owning or managing rights
                 over the resource.
Comment:         Recommended best practice is to use the URI or name of
                 the Rights Holder to indicate the entity.
Type of term:
Date issued:     2004-06-14

Approved text - end

[Source: ]

Additional References

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive.

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