How to Identify Third-Party Content

Rights clearance obligations apply to any content in your digital project that you did not create and which Yale does not own (“third-party content”). 

It is likely that you will use third-party content throughout your digital project.  Photographs or images obtained on the internet, embedded videos, excerpts from a published text:  all are common examples of content for which a rights clearance analysis should be performed.  For some types of content, it may not be obvious that rights clearance obligations apply.  As a result, you will need to be conscious of the types of material you use throughout your project and conduct a thorough review of each to understand what kinds of rights are implicated and how to clear them.

You may find it helpful to identify and track all of the content in your digital project using a Third-Party Content Inventory Form.  When filling out the inventory form, list all content included in your digital project without thought to whether or not such content may require clearance.  Examples of content to record include:

  • A person’s voice, image or performance
  • An interview (interviewee’s response, interviewer’s commentary and questions)
  • Published written works (e.g., a book or magazine excerpt, script) whether presented in written form or performed/read
  • Musical compositions (score or performance)
  • Lyrics (written form or performed/read)
  • Pre-existing sound recordings or audio-visual recordings
  • Chart or diagram
  • Photograph
  • Illustration
  • Symbol or trademark

As you inventory each type of content, include details that will help you determine whether the content is covered by copyright or involves the use of trademarks, a brand identity, or personal identifying information.  Basic details to look for include:

  • Name(s) of content creator and/or rights holder (e.g., author, trademark registrant, publisher, interviewee, artist, performer, etc.)
  • Any copyright notices on the material (including the date of any copyright renewal, if applicable):
    • Books/articles:  appearing on the copyright page of the book or journal
    • Music recording:  appearing on the label or in the liner notes
  • Date and country of first publication
  • Address and other contact information for rights holder(s)
  • Amount of material to be used

This kind of detail will help you determine whether you will need to seek permission to use the content in your digital project.  Refer to the Sample Inventory Form for an example of the level of detail you should aim to achieve.