1. Conduct an annual inventory (IP Audit) of the copyright status of all objects and their
images in your collection. An audit is a disciplined reality-check on a museumʼs
knowledge of the rights status of its objects and thus of the value of its IP assets.
2. Develop a strategy to expand any partial audits to generate the biggest return on
investment: piggyback on a major event (e.g., a new website or an anniversary
celebration) to push for an audit; use interns; target recently accessioned works,
artists with works on view, works requested by curators and educators, and artists
whose contact information is easily available; expand annual acquisitions review to
include IP status/clearance of any previously acquired works by a given artist.
3. Locate rightsholders using a spectrum of internal and external resources for locating
rightsholders. These might include curators, artist websites, online contact search
tools, colleagues on the Yahoo Museum IP Group mailing list, copyright collectives,
and other websites.
4. Map the results of the audit against the object inventory of the collection, integrating
with the records of the institutionʼs CMS. This serves to centralize the results of any
IP audit, irrespective of who conducts it.
Documentation & Management
5. As good workﬂow design depends on good analysis, conduct a rights workﬂow
analysis that includes an institutionʼs values and capabilities as well as logistics. Once
values are clariﬁed, goals and priorities can be established and required capabilities
deﬁned. Such analysis may surface previously unspoken assumptions and could
entail several reassessments and reformulations yielding a more automated system.
6. In reviewing rights workﬂow design, consider how to include greater rights
management capabilities with the CMS you already have. A reasonable goal should
be to centralize good, consistent object rights information that can be made available
across the institution.
7. Consider how many rights-management functions could be automated with your
8. With good in-house technical support, clear centralization and disciplined protocols,
you may be able to use your CMS “as is” to manage object rights. If not, consider
customizing your system, perhaps by re-tooling non-IP modules to better serve
copyright and licensing functions. Share your solutions with peer institutions.
9. A likely result of a comprehensive analysis of your image creation and delivery
workﬂow will be a decision to introduce a digital asset management system, which by
effectively centralizing and foregrounding rights and other image metadata, can speed
image location and delivery. Be warned though that designing and implementing a
DAMS will take time.
CHIN Museum Guide to Rights Management, 2010 Summary Recommendations
10. Many institutions freely display images to the public while also conducting commercial
licensing operations. While few proﬁt ﬁnancially from licensing, most use licensing
revenue to help cover imaging costs.
11. Licensing is another route for “discovery through the Internet” and of participation in a
global image ecosystem.
12. Requirements for effective licensing include a well-catalogued, high-quality inventory,
with clear rights and permissions information, a database that can match clientsʼ
requirements with the appropriate image, and a documentation system that can
invoice, fulﬁll and track the image. While some museums have managed to do this on
a customized CMS, more are using a CMS in ﬁne-tuned conjunction with a DAMS.
13. For a core set of popular, rights-cleared images, outsourcing to commercial image
agencies relieves much of the administrative burden of licensing, as well as providing
effective outreach into very different markets than the arts are accustomed to.
However, working with an agency still requires personnel—and the preparation of an
efﬁcient catalogue of images with standards-compliant metadata.
14. While the stream of requests for popular images can be automated using shopping-
basket-equipped, Web-based commerce operations, and/or outsourced, many other
requests will still need much one-on-one attention, often involving consultation with
the client, as well as with curators, conservators and others.
15. The PLUS Coalitionʼs metadata standards for embedding rights and licensing data
into image ﬁle headers offers a compelling solution for automating licensing
operations. For an institution, this would require fairly standard licensing conditions for
each item offered, but the beneﬁts include having copyright information and licensing
details travel with an image. Institutions should pay close attention to the progress of
the PLUS Cultural Heritage Working Group, formed in 2009.
Risk Management & Rights Protection
16. Develop an Institutional Risk Management Plan that will gauge an institutionʼs
comfort-level with risk, balancing assessment of potential prosecution against
institutional mission in displaying digital copies of works. Review Leslie Ann Harrisʼ
“Developing A Copyright Risk Management Plan” that lists questions and issues to
consider before displaying work without permission.
17. Have rights protection in mind from the beginning of imaging workﬂow. Good practice
in digitizing, documenting and cataloging collections should include researching,
documenting and disseminating each objectʼs rights story and its derivative images.
18. Watermarking may be an appropriate technology to consider for assistance in
" tracking and safeguarding re-use of copyrighted material by third parties.
CHIN Museum Guide to Rights Management Summary Recommendations