The folks at Communia the European Thematic Network on the digital public domain have laid out a clear, concise, easy to understand Public Domain Manifesto calling for the preservation and strengthening of the public domain and calling on cultural heritage organizations (including libraries!) to ensure that works in the Public Domain are available to all of society. Please read the manifesto and consider signing on.
On a side note, This isn’t the first manifesto on the block. Also check out the Charter for Innovation, Creativity and Access to Knowledge and Columbia Professor of Law Eben Moglen’s dotCommunist Manifesto (coming out of the Free Software movement). These three together show that there’s a significant number of people around the world who think the public domain is something that’s too important to cultures to let go by the wayside.
- The term of copyright protection should be reduced.
- Any change to the scope of copyright protection (including any new definition of protectable subject-matter or expansion of exclusive rights) needs to take into account the effects on the Public Domain.
- When material is deemed to fall in the structural Public Domain in its country of origin, the material should be recognized as part of the structural Public Domain in all other countries of the world.
- Any false or misleading attempt to misappropriate Public Domain material must be legally punished.
- No other intellectual property right must be used to reconstitute exclusivity over Public Domain material.
- There must be a practical and effective path to make available ‘orphan works’ and published works that are no longer commercially available (such as out-of-print works) for re-use by society.
- Cultural heritage institutions should take upon themselves a special role in the effective labeling and preserving of Public Domain works.
- There must be no legal obstacles that prevent the voluntary sharing of works or the dedication of works to the Public Domain.
- Personal non-commercial uses of protected works must generally be made possible, for which alternative modes of remuneration for the author must be explored.
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