Preserving the Public Domain

Copyright Week provides a timely opportunity to reflect on Communia’s mission to preserve the public domain and our common heritage against copyright extension, misleading attempts to privatize public domain works, the shrinking of users’ rights, and the general trend in extending the scope of copyright in ways detrimental to the production of culture and knowledge.

Communia began as a European Union-funded research network, consisting of an initial group of 50 researchers, practitioners and activists, and led by Juan Carlos De Martin. Communia was joined by non-European institutions in order to study the public domain at large, and also related topics such as open licensing, copyright exceptions and limitations, orphan works, and open data. Unusually, the Communia project produced a piece of work not foreseen in the original grant agreement, the Public Domain Manifesto. The Manifesto is an emblematic text stating that the public domain, the obverse of copyright, is a wealth of works which are difficult to identify and to define. The Manifesto proclaims, Public Domain is the rule and that copyright is the exception. Continue reading

COMMUNIA Positive Agenda for the Public Domain

This policy paper proposes to contribute to defining a positive agenda for the Public Domain. It is grounded on a WIPO study by Professor Séverine Dusollier, Communia policy recommendations and Communia previous WIPO statements.

This work-in-progress document presents policy recommendations and strategies aimed at the transnational level, namely WIPO CDIP and SCCR. Legal language will be drafted at a later stage.

Policy recommendations are:

  1. 1. Definition of a positive status for the Public Domain
  2. 2. Recognition of the validity of voluntary dedication to the Public Domain
  3. 3. Facilitating the identification of the Public Domain status

The full policy paper can be downloaded as a pdf: Communia Positive Agenda for the Public Domain and the full text is also available below/after the jump.

Continue reading

Position on EC Horizon 2020 Open Access policy

COMMUNIA International Association on the Public Domain is publishing a policy paper entitled Position on EC Horizon 2020 Open Access policy before the vote taking place at the European Parliament in November 2012. The policy paper is available as a PDF and reproduced below:

The work of Communia is based on a set of 14 policy recommendations which aim to support policies that enable a rich and accessible Public Domain. In light of these recommendations, Communia welcomes the development of a strong Open Access (OA) policy at the European level around the following main ideas:

  • All publicly funded research outputs and educational resources must be made available as open access materials (aligned with the Budapest Open Access Initiative).

  • Notwithstanding the need to support OA policies, access to copyright protected material for education and research purposes must be improved by strengthening existing exceptions and limitations to copyright, and broadening these exceptions to cover uses outside of formal educational and research institutions.

Continue reading

WIPO CDIP/10 Comments on the Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain

This CDIP/10 second statement on Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain (CDIP/9/INF/2 Rev.) is following Communia’s previous statements delivered at:

- CDIP/10 commenting on Terms of Reference for a Comparative Study on Copyright Relinquishment (document CDIP/10/14),

- CDIP/9 on the Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by the Secretariat (document CDIP/9/INF/2) and

- CDIP/8 supporting the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by Séverine Dusollier (document CDIP/7/INF/2). Continue reading

WIPO CDIP/10 – Comments on the Terms of Reference for a Comparative Study on Copyright Relinquishment

WIPO CDIP/10 – Geneva, November 12 to 16, 2012

This statement on the Terms of Reference for a Comparative Study on Copyright Relinquishment by the WIPO Secretariat (CDIP/10/14) is following Communia’s previous statements delivered at CDIP/8 and CDIP/9 supporting the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by Séverine Dusollier (document CDIP/7/INF/2) and the Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by the Secretariat (document CDIP/9/INF/2).

Comments on the Terms of Reference for a Comparative Study on Copyright Relinquishment

COMMUNIA International Association on the Public Domain welcomes the document produced by the WIPO Secretariat in preparation for the tenth session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) titled Terms of Reference for a Comparative Study on Copyright Relinquishment (CDIP/10/14).

We believe that this document is an encouraging sign for copyright international law-making to commit itself to considering crucial aspects of access to culture and knowledge in recognising the increasing importance of the Public Domain, on the basis of the WIPO Development Agenda Recommendation #16: “Consider the preservation of the public domain within WIPO’s normative processes and deepen the analysis of the implications and benefits of a rich and accessible public domain.

Continue reading

Book launch of ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, Brussels, June 18th, 18:30-20:00

On Monday, June 18, MEP Amelia Andersdotter, along with her colleague MEP Ioannis Tsoukalas, is inviting you to attend the launch of the book ”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, edited by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin as an output of the Communia Thematic Network.

The book is under a CC Attribution license and the PDF can be downloaded here.

”The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”
18 June 2012
18:30 – 20:00
European Parliament, Brussels, ASP Main Hall
(Ground Floor, in front of the Newspapers Quiosque)

18:30 Welcome: MEP Amelia Andersdotter
18:35 Introduction: MEP Prof. Ioannis Tsoukalas
18:45 The Digital Public Domain – presentation by editors: Melanie Dulong & Juan Carlos De Martin
19:00 Q&A and Discussion / Cocktails
19:45 Closing remarks: MEP Amelia Andersdotter

If would like to attend the event and require access to the Parliament, please register with amelia.andersdotter-office@europarl.europa.eu before June 14, indicating your full name, date of birth and ID number.

More information on the book can be found on the Communia Association’s website.

Link to the invitation on Amelia Andersdotter’s blog.

Edit on 14 July 2012: a video interview of Anne-Catherine Lorrain, Juan Carlos De Martin and Melanie Dulong de Rosnay during the book launch event is available on YouTube. Thanks to Amelia Andersdotter’s team members Julia Reda, Edvinas Pauza and Tess Lindholm.

The Public Domain at WIPO CDIP/9

In November, Communia made a statement to support the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by Séverine Dusollier (document CDIP/7/INF/2) discussed at the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP). Three recommendations had been selected by the member states for further work by the WIPO secretariat:

1.c. The voluntary relinquishment of copyright in works and dedication to the public domain should be recognised as a legitimate exercise of authorship and copyright exclusivity, to the extent permitted by national laws (possibly excluding any abandonment of moral rights) and upon the condition of a formally expressed, informed and free consent of the author. Further research could certainly be carried out on that point.

1.f. International endeavours should be devoted to developing technical or informational tools to identify the contents of the public domain, particularly as far as the duration of copyright is concerned. Such tools can be data collections on works, databases of public domain works, or public domain calculators. International cross-operation and cross-referencing of such tools is of particular importance.

2.a. The availability of the public domain should be enhanced, notably through cooperation with cultural heritage institutions and UNESCO (through its work on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage).

Document CDIP/9/INF/2 entitled Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain has thus been drafted by the secretariat and presented at this CDIP/9. Melanie Dulong de Rosnay on behalf of Communia made the following statement to support this Information Document Clarifying the Scope of Séverine Dusollier’s study:

“Dear Mister Chairman,

Congratulations on your election.
We thank the secretariat for preparing the document CDIP/9/INF/2 Scenarios and Possible Options Concerning Recommendations 1c, 1f and 2a of the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain, and support all of these recommendations. Continue reading

The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture

The book “The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture”, edited by Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin as an output of the Communia Thematic Network which took place between 2007 and 2011 and is at the origin of Communia Association, is out in all formats (hardback, paperback, and digital editions) and can be purchased on the website of OpenBookPublishers.

book cover The book is under a CC Attribution license and the PDF can be downloaded here: The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture

Citation reference: Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Juan Carlos De Martin, (eds.), The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture, Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK, 2012, 220 p.

This book brings together essays by academics, librarians, entrepreneurs, activists and policy makers, who were all part of the EU-funded Communia project. Together the authors argue that the Public Domain — that is, the informational works owned by all of us, be that literature, music, the output of scientific research, educational material or public sector information — is fundamental to a healthy society.

The essays range from more theoretical papers on the history of copyright and the Public Domain, to practical examples and case studies of recent projects that have engaged with the principles of Open Access and Creative Commons licensing. The book is essential reading for anyone interested in the current debate about copyright and the Internet. It opens up discussion and offers practical solutions to the difficult question of the regulation of culture at the digital age.

Public Domain Day in Paris, France, 26 January 2012

Creative Commons France organizes with Wikimedia France, the CNRS Institute for Communication Science and the Open Knowledge Foundation a public domain day in Paris, with members of organizations partnering for this event, Philippe Aigrain and Jérémie Zimmermann of la Quadrature du Net, Rémi Mathis of Wikimedia France, Lionel Maurel @calimaq and Tangui Morlier of Regards Citoyens.

Journée du domaine public
Jeudi 26 janvier de 18h à 21h
Institut des Sciences de la Communication du CNRS (ISCC)
Maison des Sciences de la Communication et de l’interdisciplinarité (MSCI)
20, rue Berbier du Mets 75013 Paris
Metro Gobelins

Séverine Dusollier’s Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain at WIPO CDIP/8

The Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain by Séverine Dusollier (document CDIP/7/INF/2) has been discussed at WIPO CDIP/8 (Committee on Development and Intellectual Property). WIPO secretariat will prepare a document to provide more information on three of the recommendations contained in the study (namely recommendations 1.c., 1.f. and 2.a.) proposing to lead further research on the legitimacy of tools such as CC0 dedicating works to the public domain, the development of tools identifying public domain works, being databases of calculators and cooperation with cultural heritage institutions and UNESCO to enhance the availability of public domain works.

1.c. The voluntary relinquishment of copyright in works and dedication to the public domain should be recognised as a legitimate exercise of authorship and copyright exclusivity, to the extent permitted by national laws (possibly excluding any abandonment of moral rights) and upon the condition of a formally expressed, informed and free consent of the author. Further research could certainly be carried out on that point.

1.f. International endeavours should be devoted to developing technical or informational tools to identify the contents of the public domain, particularly as far as the duration of copyright is concerned. Such tools can be data collections on works, databases of public domain works, or public domain calculators. International cross-operation and cross-referencing of such tools is of particular importance.

2.a. The availability of the public domain should be enhanced, notably through cooperation with cultural heritage institutions and UNESCO (through its work on the preservation of intangible cultural heritage).

Before reaching that consensus, delegations discussed whether they wanted to further discuss or implement the recommendations and which ones they would like to explore. As part of this discussion, Melanie Dulong de Rosnay made the following statement on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition and COMMUNIA:

“I would like to present a statement on behalf of the Civil Society Coalition and COMMUNIA international association on the digital public domain and take the opportunity to thank the secretariat for all the efforts led since years to lead a study on the public domain. As this is the first time I take the floor, I would like to also thank the chair for this opportunity and briefly introduce our work. COMMUNIA has been funded by the European Commission between 2007 and 2011 and recently incorporated as an international organization under Belgian law.

The most emblematic output of COMMUNIA is the Public Domain Manifesto, which was translated in over twenty languages and signed by several thousands individuals and a few hundreds associations worldwide. The author of the study under discussion was a member of the thematic network and we welcome very warmly all of its recommendations. A vibrant, positively defined public domain is of vital importance for the international copyright framework and for the Development Agenda as set up by the Recommendations in particular from Cluster B recommendations 16 and 20.

[Cluster B Norm-setting, flexibilities, public policy and public domain Recommendations 16. Consider the preservation of the public domain within WIPO’s normative processes and deepen the analysis of the implications and benefits of a rich and accessible public domain & Recommendation 20. To promote norm-setting activities related to IP that support a robust public domain in WIPO’s Member States, including the possibility of preparing guidelines which could assist interested Member States in identifying subject matters that have fallen into the public domain within their respective jurisdictions]

Specifying the boundaries of the Public Domain is of paramount importance for business and cultural sector organisations alike, as:

  • (a) an increasing number of businesses is making use of Public Domain material to offer value added services (e.g. applications based on public domain content) and
  • (b) cultural sector organisations and memory institutions are holding vast amounts of Public Domain material which they cannot use without a clear understanding of the Public Domain boundaries.

For these reasons, we believe CDIP is the right forum to discuss this study and all of its recommendations.

It is time to make full use role of the informational works owned by all of us, be that literature, music, the output of scientific research, educational material or public sector information. Identifying and preserving works which can legally be reused freely is beneficial for the society as a whole, for cultural expression, for innovation by economic actors based on public data, for access to knowledge and especially education through Open Educational Resources, a movement which is strongly supported by UNESCO, and for development by all countries.”