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Public Domain Manifesto

January 27, 2010 in COMMUNIA, External, Public Domain

On Monday the Public Domain Manifesto went live:

From the introductory paragraph:

The public domain, as we understand it, is the wealth of information that is free from the barriers to access or reuse usually associated with copyright protection, either because it is free from any copyright protection or because the right holders have decided to remove these barriers. It is the basis of our self-understanding as expressed by our shared knowledge and culture. It is the raw material from which new knowledge is derived and new cultural works are created. The Public Domain acts as a protective mechanism that ensures that this raw material is available at its cost of reproduction – close to zero – and that all members of society can build upon it. Having a healthy and thriving Public Domain is essential to the social and economic well-being of our societies. The Public Domain plays a capital role in the fields of education, science, cultural heritage and public sector information. A healthy and thriving Public Domain is one of the prerequisites for ensuring that the principles of Article 27 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (‘Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.’) can be enjoyed by everyone around the world.

The manifesto gives a series of principles and recommendations for promoting and protecting the digital public domain. For example, a point that we have mentioned in the past:

What is in the Public Domain must remain in the Public Domain. Exclusive control over Public Domain works must not be re-established by claiming exclusive rights in technical reproductions of the works, or using technical protection measures to limit access to technical reproductions of such works.

The manifesto was drafted under the auspices of Communia, the EU thematic network for the digital public domain. In particular it was created by Working Group 6, of which I am co-lead. If you support the manifesto, please consider signing it!

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