Digital Public Domain

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Concept

Michael Carroll:

“In the age of the Internet, we need to reconceive the public domain as the Digital Public Domain. In the Digital Public Domain, it is not enough that a work is free from copyright restrictions. A positive commitment to universal access to the public domain requires first that public domain works be digitized or at least be subject to a protocol that enables digitization when cost effective.

Second, works free from copyright restrictions should be made accessible over the Internet. Mass digitization of the public domain promotes the goals of universal access, improved learning, and the progress of science.

Third, works free from copyright restrictions should not be subject to technological measures or contractual restrictions or “terms of use” that in any way inhibit members of the public from exercising their usage rights in public domain works.

Fourth, access and the absence of legal restrictions alone are insufficient. Those who search the Internet for information often do so for active purposes. It is not sufficient to find information that is topically relevant. The information also must be useful for the researcher’s purposes. Marking and tagging works with their use rights enables computers to search for information that is both topically relevant and useful. I’ve argued more extensively about use relevance here.

From this principle follows the corollary that the digital public domain should be tagged and marked as such….

Consequently, those public and private bodies that laudably have been investing in efforts to digitize public domain works should increase the returns on their investment by marking and tagging public domain works as such. Creative Commons provides a metadata standard for digitally marking works with their use rights, the Creative Commons Rights Expression Language (ccREL). Specifically, Creative Commons provides a means of marking a public domain work as such. Creative Commons requires support to implement plans to update this protocol to provide more robust information about public domain works.” (http://carrollogos.blogspot.com/2008/12/digital-public-domain.html)


Book

The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture. Melanie Dulong and Juan Carlos De Martin. OpenBookPublishers. 2012


Abstract:

"Digital technology has made culture more accessible than ever before. Texts, audio, pictures and video can easily be produced, disseminated, used and remixed using devices that are increasingly user-friendly and affordable. However, along with this technological democratization comes a paradoxical flipside: the norms regulating culture's use - copyright and related rights - have become increasingly restrictive.

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."

Under a CC Attribution license.



More Information

  • The Digital Public Domain: Relevance and Regulation. Conference Draft, October 2011 Leonhard Dobusch [1]