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Rights Management and
Payment Technologies
Executive Summary
The heritage sector has tremendous financial potential bound up in its collections.
This potential is largely untapped.The Lund Principles, which were adopted by the EU
Member States in 2001, stressed that public access to this material should be free of
There is, however, widespread recognition that commercial exploitation of
cultural services is essential if we are to ensure their long-term sustainability. As the
public sector financial climate becomes increasingly constrained and competitive in
Europe, heritage institutions must increasingly fight for a share of revenue funding and
demonstrate their ability to generate income for themselves.The income-generating
potential of the assets in the care of heritage institutions needs to maximised.
Licensing others to use their assets will provide an increasingly significant income
stream. Deals will be made over the Web in an ever more automated environment.The
publishing, broadcasting and advertising sectors appear to be making increasing use of
images from cultural heritage institutions. Cultural heritage organisations lag behind
commercial image libraries such as Getty, Bridgeman and Alinari
in offering
services that provide rapid turn-around, are customer focused, and are reliable.While
public sector institutions are unlikely to be able to compete with commercial enterprises,
newer business models might provide opportunities for them to increase their revenue
income and reduce the costs associated with generating that revenue.There are significant
risks involved in the licensing of cultural heritage assets. Many of these risks are created
by the flexible way in which the Internet enables content to be copied and distributed.
Many institutions recognising the risks posed by piracy, including loss of income and
control of their content, have shied away from making their content available on the net-
works.The lack of technological awareness in many institutions combined with limited
resources to create, maintain, and exploit the necessary information and technological
infrastructure means the cultural heritage sector is not benefiting as effectively as it might
from the rise of digital opportunities.
Digital Rights Management (DRM) and related
security technologies streamline and simplify the process
of granting and gaining licences for the distribution of
protected content.They allow organisations to define
and represent access rights and conditions, ensure that these
are adhered to, and facilitate the collection of licensing
charges for the use of resources. Rights management
software and automated payment systems will be crucial
to the cultural heritage sector if it is to become and
heGlasgowStory and Glasgow City Council (Glasgow Museums)
(April 2001)
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