Digital Rights

Digital Rights

Below a list of talking points essential for any publicly accessible website hosting digitized publications.

The situation regarding access to digitized works is characterized by mostly one of two extremes: prohibitive rules of access, which are mostly the result of the publishing industries’ FUD campaign, or a general permission to access and reuse their material, without going too much into detail (and, unfortunately, therefore defining the exact rights).

Instead, each site — and maybe each collection inside a site — should have its distinct, exactly specified policy regarding use, access, reuse of its material, for the sake of research and the future of digitizations.


  • commercial use forbidden
  • private use only
  • scientific use only
  • limited access to known users only


  • limited time only (e.g. project)
  • unlimited access


  • no further distribution
  • only by granting the same rights / obligations
  • only for scientific use
  • only with written consent of owner
  • freely distributable (common domain)

Display on Website:

  • provenance of original (logo / link)
  • digitization provider
  • copyright holder
  • rights / restrictions to the material

Download possibilities:

  • no download (i.e. only visible online)
  • low-res scans
  • high-res scans
  • complete edition as pdf
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