Data published to the web should always be accompanied by machine-readable metadata that describes the dataset, its means of creation and, importantly, a statement of the rights that relate to potential re-use of the data.
While legal requirements vary across juristictions, a statement of rights will typically include some or all of the following information:
The Open Data Rights Statement vocabulary is intended to support the publication of machine-readable rights statements. The vocabulary builds on related work from the Dublin Core and Creative Commons communities and is intended to complement ongoing efforts to improve the quality of machine-readable dataset metadata. It is expected that the vocabulary will be useful in a number of contexts, e.g. for Linked Data publishing (DCAT, VoiD), dataset distribution (Data Packages), as well as data published via web APIs.
The following sections of the document provide more background on the vocabulary, including references to relevant related work.
There are two user guides which support the use of this vocabulary:
There are several existing vocabularies cover similar goals, but all have their limitations. The Open Data Rights Statement vocabulary builds on this earlier work to support clearer publication of rights information.
dct:License) and a rights statement (
dct:RightsStatement) and provides terms for relating a work to a machine-readable descriptions of these documents using the
These vocabularies provide some of the necessary foundations for publishing rights statements, but each has its own limitations. As described in the next section, the ODRS vocabulary is intended to support the publication of "rights statements" that annotate the relationship between a dataset and its license information.
The key limitations with the existing vocabularies are:
The intention is that this vocabulary should allow data publisher to publish, as machine-readable metadata, the following information:
The approach taken here borrows from Dublin Core and introduces a "Rights Statement" as a resource that relates a dataset to one or more Licenses as well as providing additional context that relates to re-use of a dataset.
The description of a License, such as the UK Open Government License, remains unchanged no matter how it is used or applied by an organisation. It is the Rights Statement that captures this customisation and description of copyright, attribution and other relevant relationships.
A Rights Statement might apply to an individual Dataset. But it could equally be applied to several Datasets, e.g. if an organization has a common set of attribution requirements.
The vocabulary does not provide a definition of dataset. This is intentionally under-specified to support the use of the vocabulary in a number of ways. The existing Dublin Core terms (
dct:license) can be used to relate a dataset to a
odrs:RightsStatement or a licence.
Similarly, this vocabulary intentionally does not attempt to support the machine-readable description of the terms of a specific license. This is already adequately covered by the ccRel and ODRL vocabularies.
The ODRS vocabulary is aimed at supporting a simple, common case of publishing open data using standard licenses. However it is compatible with efforts to create machine-readable expressions of licenses and policies. Additional notes on the use cases that have guided the design of the vocabulary can be found in the project wiki.
The following diagram shows the key resources, relationships and properties defined by this vocabulary.
For a full history of changes view the source files in github.
The following lists highlights some of the key recent changes:
An alphabetical index of the ontology terms, divided into classes and properties. All the terms are hyperlinked to their detailed description for quick reference.
Properties: | attributionText | attributionURL | compatibleWith | contentLicense | copyrightHolder | copyrightNotice | copyrightStatement | copyrightYear | dataLicense | databaseRightHolder | databaseRightStatement | databaseRightYear | reuserGuidelines | jurisdiction | rights
A legal document that describes the legal terms for re-use of some information. A licence might be applicable to content, data, or both. This definition of licence used here is deliberately loose, and is intended to also cover waiver documents that indicate that the owner waives all rights over some information, e.g. public domain dedications.
A description of the rights and terms of re-use for a dataset. A rights statement will include a reference to one or more licences copyright notices, and attribution requirements. Where a Rights Statement refers to several licences the intention is that these should separately apply to the data and content associated with the dataset. An individual Rights Statement may be specific to a dataset or could be applied to a number of datasets published by the same organisation or person, where the rights associated with each dataset are identical.
The link which should be used when attributing a data source. The URL could be a reference to the dataset or publisher homepage, but may also be a dedicated attribution page. This is useful when providing onward attribution to upstream sources.
This property is used to indicates that one license is compatible with another. A re-use that meets the requirements, permissions and prohibitions of the first license should also meet the requirements, permissions and prohibitions of the second, compatible license. The inverse is not necessarily true: the compatible license might have stricter requirements. This statement can be used as an indicator that a re-user could publish a derivative dataset under the compatible license, e.g. to help drive automated selection and guidance licenses for publishers of derived data. However it is not a substitute for properly reading and understanding the text of either license.
The contents of a database might be covered by a separate license, e.g. a database containing copyrightable material (e.g. text, images) might have different rights for the dataset and the contents. This property can be used to refer to a license that applies to the content of the dataset. In some cases the same license can be applied to both content and data, but in others a data publisher may choose to use a separate license for content. The value of the property will be the URI of the license that is being applied to the content.
A reference to the organization that holds copyright over the content of the dataset
A link to a document that includes a statement about the copyright status of the content of a dataset. The web page might include both a copyright notice for a dataset, and any relevant guidance for re-users.
This property is used to indicate which license covers reuse of the dataset(s) associated with this rights statement object. Typically this license will refer to a standard open license, e.g. as published by Creative Commons or Open Data Commons. The value of the property will be the URI of the license that is being applied to the data
A reference to the organization that holds database rights over the dataset
A link to a document that includes a statement about the database rights that apply to this dataset. The web page might include both a statement on the applicable rights and any relevant guidance for re-users.
Link to a document that provides guidelines for re-users of data that is covered by a specific rights statement. The guidelines may include more detail on attribution guidelines, a fuller copyright statement, and general guidance on how the data might be re-used
A reference to the jurisdiction in which copyright and/or database rights have been asserts. It is recommended that this refer to the URI for a country or region.
Associates a rights statement with a dataset. This property is equivalent to the Dublin Core rights property
The text to use in an attribution link. This may be the name of the publisher or a reference to a community or group of contributors
The copyright notice associated with a rights statement. A notice must typically be preserved and displayed when acknowledging the source of some data. This property is expressed as a simple literal value and so is suitable for simple copyright notices. Where a data publisher needs to reference a larger copyright statement and/or related guidance then the copyrightStatement property should be used instead.
The year from which copyright over the content of the dataset is asserted.