ISSUE-60: dct:license vs. dct:rights


dct:license vs. dct:rights

Raised by:
Richard Cyganiak
Opened on:
Last Call comment from Jeni Tennison:

In Europe, data publishers have both copyright and database rights over the data that they publish, and may have to reference more than one licence as a result. In addition, there is often extra information that supplements the licence to enable reusers to fulfil it, such as the attribution that they have to provide when they reuse. Having a single link to a licence and not having a mechanism to give this supplementary information might be too simplistic.

So, I wonder whether it would be better to incorporate dct:rights than dct:license, and link to a rights statement that would include licensing and attribution information both for the copyright and for the database right if there is one.

I note that in CKAN the link to the licence uses the relation dct:rights. The only things related to licensing in are around attribution (I believe this is because all US government data is public domain).
Related Actions Items:
No related actions
Related emails:
  1. DCAT ISSUE-60 (from on 2013-05-16)
  2. ISSUE-60 (licenseOrRights): dct:license vs. dct:rights [DCAT] (from on 2013-04-12)

Related notes:

Question: Are we restricted to one or the other for the vocab? Why can't providers have a choice between either?

Failing that: dcterms:rights is ALWAYS application, but dcterms:license is not, thus we can choose dcterms:rights and then dcterms:license can be an optional choice by providers

John Erickson, 2 May 2013, 14:53:24

Regarding ...

After "doing my homework" a bit on this, I believe we have little
choice but to make dct:rights the preferred recommendation, and to
allow dct:license as a option for providers to "refine" dct:rights.

By my reading, dct:rights may be either a literal or a URL to a
RightsStatement whereas dct:license must be a LicenseDocument. Thus
dct:rights is more flexible and captures various interpretations,
while dct:license is only valid when there is actual a LicenseDocument
(and where the notion of a license is appropriate).

All of this, plus JeniT recommends we do it this way ;)

[1] dct:rights
[2] dct:license

John Erickson, 3 May 2013, 14:31:12

UPDATE: No one has responded positively or negatively to my comment/suggestion of 03 May. I say we adopt my suggestion:

* declare dct:rights the preferred recommendation
* allow dct:license as a option for providers to "refine" dct:rights

John Erickson, 16 May 2013, 13:57:49

dct:rights should not be used with a literal, at least according to what DCMI says about it at

Makx Dekkers, 16 May 2013, 17:39:27

implemented in the Spec now

Fadi Maali, 30 May 2013, 14:24:24

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