[Open-access] NISO Recommendations on Open Access Metadata

Graham Triggs grahamtriggs at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 10:42:21 UTC 2014

On 7 January 2014 10:22, Cameron Neylon <cn at cameronneylon.net> wrote:

> No I disagree. I accept its less useful for non-standard and proprietary
> licenses but having gone over this I don't think it is either legally, or
> possibly even theoretically, possible to build a general machine readable
> standard for rights - and the core problem is that those non-standard
> licences are just less useful anyway, because they're non-standard. In
> practice the way to do this, as you say is for a single organisation to
> create a widely used standard that everyone understands. CC have done that
> - the URL to a CC license is as good as machine readable. And to the extent
> it isn't then there's CC-REL.

I'm only following this on the periphery at the moment, so forgive me if I
misstep a bit here. But I don't see why there is a theoretical problem to
machine readable standard for rights - create a model for the rights that
you wish to be able to check for, then the licenses can be expressed in
those terms.

Legally however, yes, I can see a potential minefield in who is asserting
what rights a particular license provides. If I use an object because I've
machine-read a right that isn't actually provided by the license, what does
that mean? Who is responsible? Although that is potentially just as true
for a URL.

That said, there is no reason why you can't create a local (or even public)
registry of known license URLs, and create an actionable description of the
rights that you care about. You only ever need to encounter a license URL
once in order to add it to the registry, and after that, you can rely on
the fact that you have a registry of the rights that you care about.

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