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 that is creating a separate software tool that will also help a user determine the copyright status of any given work.  Our goal is to be able to determine the copyright status of any work in any jurisdiction in the world.  Our main focus is U.S. law, but we have an international component that looks at individual countries as well, particularly non-EU countries, as we know that the EU will be well documented fairly soon from OKFN’s work.  We have been excited about finding a community in OKFN that is interested in the public domain, and more specifically the copyright status of works.

Our team hopes that this is our last summer of intense research.  (But we won’t hold our breath as we are already finding new areas of concern).

One of our main focuses has been on developing a tool that can educate people as to the intricacies of copyright law as well as determine the actual status of any work.  As such, our vision for our software has been user based – the user looking for an answer provides the information to the software themselves which then gives them an answer.  This is one reason why we believe our system is complementary to OKFN’s – a system that gives the green light, and a system that allows a user to play with various scenarios.

We will begin the testing phase this summer, and are looking for interesting candidates/partnerships to pursue our work.  We are also starting to think about what to do with our little monster, and so further suggestions on that are also very welcome.

We have had great fun with this project and we look forward to chatting more about our great adventure into copyright and coding. We are also hosting our Second “Future of Copyright” Speaker Series at Tulane Law School next year, which we are just starting to organize. Our speakers will include Julie Cohen, Kenneth Crews, Jane Ginsberg, Jessica Litman, William Patry, and Jule Sigall.

Please take a look at to view a two minute video explaining what the Durationator seeks to do, as well as to play with a sample path based on the “Statute of Anne,” the first modern copyright statute.  Additionally, feel free to follow us on our blog or on twitter to check in on our research status this summer!

+ posts

This post is by a guest poster. If you would like to write something for the Open Knowledge Foundation blog, please see the submissions page.

1 thought on “The Durationator”

Comments are closed.