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 […]

The Public Domain “Class of 2014”

The Public Domain Review gives it’s top pick of people whose works will, on 1st January 2014, be entering the public domain in those countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term.

Announcing the Launch of The Public Domain Review Store

We are very excited to announce the birth of The Public Domain Review Store! To help raise some much needed funds for the project we have made some things to sell, returning a few select gems from a pixel-based existence back into the world of real physical objects from whence they once came. As well […]

New partnership to map the public domain in France

Last night Aurélie Filippetti, the French Minister for Culture and Communication, announced a new partnership between the French ministry of Culture and Communication and the Open Knowledge Foundation France to take steps towards mapping the public domain in France. The ‘public domain calculator’ demonstrator project will develop a tool to help establish legal status of […]

Getty Releases 4,600 Images into the Public Domain

A depiction of a banquet by 17th Centruy Italian artist, Morazzone, one of the many scans now in the public domain Cross-posted from the OpenGLAM Blog. Yesterday the J. Paul Getty Trust launched its Open Content Program which saw the release of 4,600 high-resolution scans of works from the Getty Museum in Los Angeles into […]

Announcing a new series, “Curator’s Choice”

This week sees the launch of the “Curator’s Choice” series – a joint endeavour of The Public Domain Review and OpenGLAM – which aims to actively engage with and celebrate those cultural heritage institutions that have taken the exciting steps to open up their content. This new series shall consist of a monthly guest post […]

The Public Domain Review is Saved!

At 12:00pm BST today, as midnight struck over the Pacific island of American Samoa and the 1st of May truly ended all over the world, so did end the inaugural Public Domain Review Fundraiser. In 58 days, with the help of 676 wonderful supporters we managed to leapfrog our target of $20,000 and raise an […]

Just 5 days to go for The Public Domain Review Fundraiser!

The Public Domain Review Fundraiser ends on Wednesday 1st May, just 5 days away! Since we launched the fundraising campaign 7 weeks ago we’ve seen a fantastic response which has got us so far to an amazing 98% of our target… very very nearly there. We are making a final push in these remaining days […]

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 […]

Open and the “Next Great Copyright Act”

Director of the U.S. Copyright Office Maria Pallante is expected to call today for updates to U.S. copyright law. Her brief written testimony is already available and a longer speech given two weeks ago (titled “The Next Great Copyright Act”) provides additional flavor. Substantial changes to copyright will take years to play out in the […]

Version Variation Visualisation

In 2010, I had a long paper about the history of German translations of Othello rejected by a prestigious journal. The reviewer wrote: “The Shakespeare Industry doesn’t need more information about world Shakespeare. We need navigational aids.” About the same time, David Berry turned me on to Digital Humanities. I got a team together (credits) […]

Vice Italy interview with the editor of the Public Domain Review

The editor of The Public Domain Review, Adam Green, recently gave a feature-length interview to Vice magazine Italy. You can find the original in Italian here, and an English version below! While there is a wealth of copyright-free material available online, The Public Domain Review is carving out a niche as strongly curated website with […]

Digital Public Library of America recommends CC0

The following post is cross-posted from the OpenGLAM blog. On the OpenGLAM blog we have previously written about the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), an initiative that has the goal to make the cultural and scientific heritage of humanity available, free of charge, to all. To achieve this goal the board of directors has […]

Communia condemns the privatisation of the Public Domain by the BnF

Last week the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) concluded two new agreements with private companies to digitze over 70.000 old books, 200.000 sound recordings and other documents belonging (either partially or as a whole) to the public domain. While these public private partnerships enable the digitization of these works they also contain 10-year exclusive agreements […]

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 […]

Season’s Greetings from the Open Knowledge Foundation!

To celebrate the season our Public Domain Review project has put together a digest of festive public domain images and texts – including a selection of Christmas diary entries, a pictorial history of Santa Claus, and a beautiful book of snowflake illustrations. From all of us at the Open Knowledge Foundation, we wish you festive […]

The Public Domain Class of 2013

This is a cross-post from The Public Domain Review, a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation. Top Row (left to right): Stefan Zweig; Bronislaw Malinowski; Francis Younghusband Middle Row (left to right): L.M. Montgomery; A.E.Waite; Edith Stein; Robert Musil Bottom Row (left to right): Grant Wood; Bruno Schulz; Franz Boas; Eric Ravilious Pictured above is […]

COMMUNIA statement on open access to EU funded Horizon 2020 research

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s proposed new programme for research and innovation, which would run from 2014 to 2020. The programme would create an “Innovation Union” with a budget of €80million, bringing together current research and innovation funding available through a number of sources. On 28th November MEPs are set to vote on the proposals, […]

The Myth of European Term of Protection Harmonisation

This blog post is based on Christina’s paper, “The Myth of European Term Harmonisation – 27 Public Domains for 27 Member States”. This is a shortened version of the post – the full version is available on the OpenGLAM blog. Copyright is supposed to be a temporary right: once it has expired, works automatically fall […]

Do bad things happen when works enter the Public Domain?

New research shows that the traditional arguments for copyright extension are as flawed as we always suspected. Copyright is generally defended in terms of the stimulus it gives to creative production: what motivation would anyone have to do anything ever if they don’t get decades of ownership afterwards? But then how do you justify the […]

All Things Come To Those Who Wait

‘All Things Come To Those Who Wait’ is an older version of the more common proverb ‘Good Things Come To Those Who Wait’. When the poor fellow waiting in the picture above was published, copyright in printed matter in the UK expired at the same time the author did. By 1842 copyright outlived the author […]

Boundless Learning Got Served. What does it all Mean for Open Textbooks?

If you are at all familiar with the open textbook world, you’ve likely heard of the startup called Boundless Learning. Leveraging information in the public domain, as well as dipping into the enormous stockpile of learning that is Open Education Resources, Boundless Learning has a created a tool that hopes to eventually replace the traditional […]

Open Book Publishers releases “The Digital Public Domain”

Open Book Publishers is the first UK academic publisher to have made all its books freely available online, publishing peer-reviewed research in subjects across the Humanities and Social Sciences. They are “committed to the idea that high quality scholarship should be available to readers everywhere regardless of their income or access to university libraries”. This […]

Open Plaques: Community Powered Heritage

This is a shortened version of a post from the OpenGLAM blog, where you can keep up-to-date with goings-on around open data in heritage and arts. Historical plaques by their very nature are objects in the public domain, so creating a platform to collect them with the public – and for the collected data to […]

The Year in (Public Domain) Review

Last month, the glorious Public Domain Review celebrated its first birthday. The Public Domain Review aspires to become a bounteous gateway into the whopping plenitude that is the public domain, helping our readers to explore this rich terrain by surfacing unusual and obscure works, and offering fresh reflections and unfamiliar angles on material which is […]

A Guide to Finding Interesting Public Domain Works Online

The following is a post by Sam Leon, Community Co-ordinator for The Public Domain Review and other Open Knowledge Foundation projects. It is cross-posted from the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Public Domain Working Group Blog. At The Public Domain Review we’re always scouring the internet for public domain gems. It’s simply incredible how much of our […]

Dreams of a Unified Text

The following is a blog post by Rufus Pollock co-Founder of the Open Knowledge Foundation. I have a dream, one which I’ve had for a while. In this dream I’m able to explore, seamlessly, online, every text ever written. With the click of a button I can go from Pynchon to Proust, from Musil to […]

Public Domain Review Posters

The following guest post is by Adam Green, editor of The Public Domain Review. It’s been a year since the launch of The Public Domain Review and we’ve now featured over 30 articles from prominent artists and scholars and displayed hundreds of curious, freely downloadable public domain delights. We’ve had contributions from the historian and […]

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, […]

Opening up Domesday Book

The following guest post is by Anna Powell-Smith from the Open Domesday project. Anna is a member of our brand new Working Group on Open Humanities. Domesday Book might be one of the most famous government datasets ever created. Which makes it all the stranger that it’s not freely available online – at the National […]

Public Domain Day: January 1st 2012

The following guest post is by Juan Carlos de Martin, from the the Politecnico of Torino, Italy, one of the organisers of the annual Public Domain Day of which the OKF is a proud supporter. Every January a growing number of people throughout the world gather to celebrate the new year. But not for the […]

Work in progress: Public Domain Calculators

The following post is from Primavera De Filippi, representative of Creative Commons France and coordinator of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Public Domain Working Group. Many people recognise the value of works which are in the public domain (e.g. the works of Shakespeare, Italian renaissance paintings, classical music, etc). However, it is often difficult for people […]

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 […]

Dear Internet, we need better image archives

The following guest post is by Nina Paley, cartoonist and blogger. Nina is a member of the OKF’s Working Group on the Public Domain. Dear Internet, You know what should be really easy to find online? Good quality, Public Domain vintage illustrations. You know, things like this: I found this on Flickr, where someone claims […]

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 […]

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 […]

Announcing… Text Camp 2011

The following post is from James Harriman-Smith, coordinator of the OKF’s Open Literature Working Group, and Lecteur at the ENS de Lyon. The OKF’s first ever ‘Text Camp’ hopes to bring together many different people, all interested in the relationship between digital technologies and literature, with a strong focus on the creation of open knowledge. […]

Help to map the public domain around the world!

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. We’re currently looking for more people to help map copyright law in countries around the world – so we can make it easier for people to find and reuse works which have entered the public domain. We’re particularly keen to contact […]

The Public Domain Calculators code is now in a separate library

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. As many of you will know, the Public Domain Calculators aim to make it easier to find out which works are in the public domain in a given jurisdiction. There are two main parts of the project: A collection of flowcharts, […]

Project Gutenberg adds their 40,000th free eBook!

The following guest post is from Michael Hart, founder of Project Gutenberg and member of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s Working Group on the Public Domain It’s The Year of the eBook! Project Gutenberg, the granddaddy of all eBook libraries, announced today they have put number 40,000 of internally produced free eBooks online as of March […]

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 […]

Launch of the Public Domain Review to celebrate Public Domain Day 2011

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation. The 1st of January every year is Public Domain Day, when new works enter the public domain in many (though unfortunately not all) countries around the world. To celebrate, the Open Knowledge Foundation is launching the Public Domain Review, a web-based […]

Cultural Heritage rights in the age of digital copyright

The following guest post is from Stefano Costa at the University of Siena. Stefano is Founder of the IOSA initiative and Coordinator of the Open Knowledge Foundation‘s Working Group on Open Data in Archaeology. On December, 10th the COMMUNIA WG3 gathered in Istanbul for the final workshop, with the aim of producing a set of […]