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:

  1. A collection of flowcharts, mapping copyright laws in different countries
  2. A library of code (part of

Recently we’ve been doing a bit of work to make the Public Domain Calculator code into a standalone library that can be integrated into lots of different software packages and services. The library has been stripped down of all the code from and is now available at:

Our long-term vision is to turn the Public Domain Calculators into a code library which can be plugged into different software or websites that interface with a variety of archives, repositories, library catalogues, and so on. Because all of the code and content is open, all of the legal reseach can be peer reviewed and the algorithms can be optimised and improved.

If you’re interested in getting involved, please visit:

If you want to find out more you can also watch our short video about the project!

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Dr. Jonathan Gray is Lecturer in Critical Infrastructure Studies at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, where he is currently writing a book on data worlds. He is also Cofounder of the Public Data Lab; and Research Associate at the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam) and the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris). More about his work can be found at and he tweets at @jwyg.

2 thoughts on “The Public Domain Calculators code is now in a separate library”

  1. Very good news! It would be interesting to call for contributors and get more jurisdictions covered.

    It should be quite easy also to create a web service for use by external websites (via API). I imagine e.g. library catalogs linking to it to determine automatically if a work is PD or not. Any thought on that?

  2. I have been working on my site offline for quite some time now, building and customising a joomla site when you have no clue what you are doing, is quite a tedious task.

    My site will share a collection of some very nice public domain reads, I am also in the process of redesigning them and converting each one to txt, pdf and .doc.

    I am also doing all the design for the site, but I am so happy to see something like this being built.

    I would love the idea of helping out for this site, just email me and let me know.


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