Become a Friend of The Public Domain Review

Open Knowledge project The Public Domain Review launches a major new fundraising drive, encouraging people to become Friends of the site by giving an annual donation. For those not yet in the know, The Public Domain Review is a project dedicated to protecting and celebrating, in all its richness and variety, the cultural public domain. […]

Newsflash! OKFestival Programme Launches

At last, it’s here! Check out the details of the OKFestival 2014 programme – including session descriptions, times and facilitator bios here! We’re using a tool called Sched to display the programme this year and it has several great features. Firstly, it gives individual session organisers the ability to update the details on the session […]

Copyright Week: Public Domain Calculators

From 13 to 18 January the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is organising Copyright Week, an event focused on promoting six key principles for guiding copyright policy and practice. Each day is dedicated to one of the principles, and today is ‘Building and defending a robust public domain’. This post is preceded by another one on […]

What We Hope the Digital Public Library of America Will Become

Tomorrow is the official launch date for the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). If you’ve been following it, you’ll know that it has the long term aim of realising “a large-scale digital public library that will make the cultural and scientific record available to all”. More specifically, Robert Darnton, Director of the Harvard University […]

Sita’s free: Landmark copyleft animated film is now licensed CC0

This past Friday, American cartoonist, animator, and free culture activist Nina Paley announced she was releasing her landmark animated film Sita Sings the Blues under a Creative Commons CC0 license. Sita Sings the Blues is quite possibly the most famous animated film to be released under an open license. The 82 minute film, which is an autobiographical story […]

Did Gale Cengage just liberate all of their public domain content? Sadly not…

Earlier today we received a strange and intriguing press release from a certain ‘Marmaduke Robida’ claiming to be ‘Director for Public Domain Content’ at Gale Cengage’s UK premises in Andover. Said the press release: Gale, part of Cengage Learning, is thrilled to announce that all its public domain content will be freely accessible on the […]

Taking “utmost transparency” to the next level – at4am for all!

What? When?? Where??? How?!?! were the questions that got me started some 10 years ago now, on my free software journey that’s taken me to the heart of the European Parliament. As a young Swedish musician, politically innocent and ignorant as the next, I got worked up together with a bunch of newborn stallmanites unleashing […]

TEXTUS: an open source platform for working with collections of texts and metadata

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. It is cross-posted from Since finally blogging about last month I’ve been thinking about how one could make a generic open source platform that could be used to power it, and other things like it. Enter ‘TEXTUS’: TEXTUS is […]

Ideas for

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. It is cross-posted from For several years I’ve been meaning to start, which would be a collection of open resources related to philosophy for use in teaching and research. There would be a focus on the history of philosophy, […]

Barcelona’s Free Culture Forum Builds Community the Spanish Way

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Free Culture Forum in Barcelona, Spain on behalf of the Open Knowledge Foundation with an invitation from some of the amazing folk at Wikimedia Catalan and Creative Commons Spain. While the format of Forum itself was inspiring, with free admission for all attendants and a diverse […]

Prizewinning bid in ‘Inventare il Futuro’ Competition

By James Harriman-Smith and Primavera De Filippi On the 11th July, the Open Literature (now Open Humanities) mailing list got an email about a competition being run by the University of Bologna called ‘Inventare il Futuro’ or ‘Inventing the Future’. On the 28th October, Hvaing submitted an application on behalf of the OKF, we got […]

A translation fund for public domain texts

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. It was originally posted on his blog. If a text is widely known and published more than a century and a half ago, chances are that it will be freely available on the web to read and download. Every person with […]

Extension of Copyright Term for Sound Recordings in the EU

The following is a guest post, by John Hendrik Weitzmann from Term extension for sound recordings is imminent on the EU level. compiled a dossier about how this was possible and what it is about. It’s a hostage-taking of the subtle kind and a brilliant piece of lobbying: after the EU Commission’s proposal […]

Open GLAM Workshop, Warsaw, 15th September 2011

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. How can we encourage more galleries, libraries, archives and museums (GLAM institutions) to open up their holdings – including metadata about their collections, and digital copies of works which have entered the public domain? Following on from my post on opening […]

The Public Domain Review has a new website!

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. As part of our work to open up the wealth of cultural works which have entered the public domain, earlier this year we launched the Public Domain Review. Adam Green, the Public Domain Review‘s wonderful Editor, has been hard at work […]

Free! Music! Contest – fewer choices, more freedom

The following guest post is by Christian Hufgard, chairman of Musikpiraten, and member of the OKF’s Working Group on the Public Domain. The Free! Music! Contest is a contest for bands and artists releasing their songs under a creative commons license. In its third year the focus is set on enabling remixes – and freeness. […]

Let’s open up the public domain!

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. I’ve recently been thinking about the role the Open Knowledge Foundation can play in helping to open up the public domain. Ultimately I think we should help to rally existing stakeholders from around the world behind a simple vision, and encourage […]

How can we promote the public domain?

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. A few weeks back we ran a small workshop in Berlin for Public Domain Day 2011. It was attended by a mix of artists, scholars, legal experts, technologists, and passers by. We started out with a general conversation in which the […]

New microshort film on the Public Domain Calculators!

Last week I sat down with Primavera De Filippi, our new coordinator for the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on the Public Domain and we edited some footage we had shot at a meeting a while ago into a microshort film about the Public Domain Calculators. Public Domain Calculators from Open Knowledge Foundation on Vimeo. […]

Open Correspondence

The following guest post is from Iain Emsley, who is a member of the Open Knowledge Foundation Working Group on Open Resources in the Humanities, and a contributor to the Open Shakespeare and Open Milton projects. Using the social graph, one can find the connections between seemingly disparate groups of people on different services. Most […]

The Durationator

The following guest post is from Professor Townsend Gard and Justin A. Levy who are both at the Tulane Center for Intellectual Property Law and Culture, New Orleans, and are members of the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Working Group on the Public Domain. The Durationator is a project based at Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA […]

Putting the cuts into context: where is that £6 billion going to come from?

With the UK election over, reductions in public spending are currently at the top of the agenda. Whichever way you cut it, taxpayers and public service users look set to face big changes. The ‘Where Does My Money Go?’ dashboard – a free, interactive online tool from the Open Knowledge Foundation – will help to […]

Large collection of German texts opened up!

We’re very pleased to see that a large collection of German language digital texts has just been released under an open license. Yesterday, it was announced that Wikimedia Germany, Creative Commons Germany and TextGrid are releasing a large collection of “culturally valuable” texts either in the public domain or under a CC-BY license, which is […]

Visualizar ’09

The project presentations from last month’s Visualizar seminar have now been posted online. This annual event brought together creative teams from a range of disciplines, with the objective of delivering workable presentations using freely available data resources. The theme for 2009 was Public Data – Data In Public. I was fortunate enough to attend on […]

Virtual Meeting for Open Textbooks, 20th May 2009

The Community College Open Textbook Project, California Digital Marketplace, and the Open Knowledge Foundation invite those with an interest in open textbooks to a meeting on Wednesday, May 20th at 1330-1530 pm PDT (2130-2330 GMT or 2230-0030 CET). The meeting will be primarly focused on metadata, tagging, interoperability issues, and repository efforts for open textbooks. […]

Open Everything NYC, 18th April 2009

In the past, we have been involved in Open Everything London and Open Everything Berlin. John Britton, who organised Open Everything Hong Kong, is now organising an Open Everything NYC event which will take next Saturday 18th April. It should be a great opportunity to meet other people interested in ‘openness’ – from open knowledge […]

Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2009: Saturday 28th March

Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) 2009 will take place next Saturday 28th March – less than a week away! where: Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL, London when: 28th March 2009, 1030-1830 home: register: If you plan to attend, and haven’t registered yet – we encourage you to book your ticket now as space […]

Open Everything Berlin + CC Salon Berlin

After the success of open everything Berlin last December (see documentation), the newthinking network and CC Salon Berlin teamed up to put on another event in Berlin last night: CC Salon Berlin and openeverything focus – Feb. 26 (CC Blog) openeverything focus + CC Salon (Michelle Thorne’s blogpost) I was invited to speak – and […]

Public Interest Information Policy in Germany

I was recently asked to write a piece for Berlin-based think tank Das Progressive Zentrum on public interest information policy in Germany: Wem gehört das Wissen? Informationspolitik in Deutschland (Shorter German version) Public Interest Information Policy in Germany (Longer English version) The piece finishes with three policy suggestions: Support legislation as well as licensing and […]

Photographing public domain works – Wikipedia Loves Art launches on Sunday!

This coming Sunday 1st February will be the first day of Wikipedia Loves Art – which will run until the end of the month. The event will see cultural heritage institutions around the world open up their doors for the public to take pictures of items in their collections that have passed into the public […]

Open Milton launched for Milton’s 400th birthday!

The 9th of December 2008 is John Milton’s 400th birthday. To celebrate this life-long advocate of liberty we’ve officially launched ‘Open Milton’ – an open set of Milton’s works, together with ancillary information and tools, in a form designed for reuse: The Open Milton project has two main objectives: Provide the works of John […]

Musopen – free public domain music!

Musopen is a charity that aims to produce and distribute recordings and sheet music of public domain music. Musopen is an online music library of copyright free (public domain) music. We want to give the world access to music without the legal hassles so common today. There is a great deal of music that has […]

GFDL v.1.3 + CC-BY-SA

Fantastic news from the Free Software Foundation which has just announced that the latest draft (v.1.3) of the GNU Free Documentation will strive to address problems with license interoperability by allowing users to switch to a CC-BY-SA license: This version of the license allows public wikis to relicense their FDL-covered materials under the Creative Commons […]

Open Everything London: Speakers Confirmed

We’re pleased to announce that the main speakers for Open Everything London (on next Thursday 6th November) have now been confirmed: Glyn Moody “… a technology writer. He is best known for his book Rebel Code: Linux and the Open Source Revolution (2001). It describes the evolution and significance of the free software and open […]

Public Domain Calculators: updates and a new list!

Back in June we solicited for assistance in a project to build a series of calculators to ‘map’ the public domain in different jurisdictions, by showing which works are out of copyright. There are now individuals and groups keen to contribute to the calculators in at least 10 countries: Argentina: Bienes Comunes Canada: Access Copyright […]

Mapping the Public Domain – Call for Assistance!

For a while we’ve been planning to help to produce a set of Public Domain Calculators – which each aim to indicate whether or not a given work is in the public domain in a given jurisdiction. The idea arose in relation to our Public Domain Works project (a registry of works in the public […]

Creative Commons adopts ‘Free Cultural Works’ seal of approval

Yesterday Creative Commons announced that their Attribution and Attribution Sharealike licenses will feature a seal of approval and link to Freedom Defined – the Definition of Free Cultural Works. We’ve been in touch with Freedom Defined since May 2006 (we blogged about the project last year) as their aims are so similar to that of […]

Public Domain Works + The Open Library

As some of you will know, Public Domain Works, a joint initiative of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Free Culture UK and the Open Rights Group, had its alpha launch back in August. The Public Domain Works Database is an open registry of artistic works that are in the public domain. Since the project was first […]

Summer of Content launch

Tomorrow is the first day of the Northern Summer of Content 2007. The Summer of Content is an initiative of WikiEducator and the One Laptop Per Child project. Inspired by Google’s Summer of Code, the programme aims to match creators with mentors and stipends to “develop open content and run free culture events throughout the […]

iCommons 2007: Retrospective Reflections

The iCommons conference in Dubrovnik, where I’ve been for the last few days, finished yesterday. This has been a great event (a big well done to Heather Ford and all the other organizers) and I’ve had the chance to talk to a very large number of interesting people — renewing old acquaintances and making new […]

Free Cultural Works Definition v1.0 Released

Having been working on the very similar Open Knowledge Defintion since Summer 2005 (with a v1.0 released in September last year) we were very interested when launched last May. Now after ten months of work they’ve released a stable, 1.0, version of what is now termed the “Free Cultural Works Definition”. Though having a […]

The re:transmission of video data

I dropped in for the last session of Re:Transmission event in London, on video metadata. This was a gathering for the Transmission network of independent video producers and distributors that is trying to move into standards-based, peer-based online distribution. This involves an effort to establish a simple common standard for video metadata distribution, right now […]

Removing the nc (contd)

Following my recent post about the problems of restrictions on commercial usage as found in Creative Commons ‘nc’ licenses there was a spirited debate on the mailing list. Tom Chance made the important point that for many in existing artistic communities the ‘NC’ restriction represents some kind of ‘ideal social contract’. Below I include the […]

Free Culture UK Meetup Report

I attended the Free Culture UK meetup which took place yesterday at Limehouse town hall in London. There were many familiar faces along with several unfamiliar ones including John Buckman. I thought it was a great day: I learnt lots and enjoyed plenty of interesting, and provocative, discussions (at least one of which will find […]

Free Culture UK Meetup

Free Culture UK are having a meetup in London on Saturday the 8th of April. Anyone’s welcome and it should be a fun day so if your saturday’s free why not come along. I’ll definitely be heading down and am looking forward to some joint hacking on the the public domain project that we’ve been […]