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Copyright Week: Public Domain Calculators

- January 14, 2014 in copyright, EFF, Featured, Free Culture

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 the OpenGLAM blog. Print Many people recognise the value of works which are in the public domain and may even be familiar with many initiatives that provide access to public domain works (such as the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Commons, Project Gutenberg, etc). Yet, many people do not have a very clear conception of what the public domain is or why it is important. New digital technologies make it possible for the public to access a vast quantity of cultural and historical material. Much of this material is in the public domain, and ongoing digitisation efforts mean that much more public domain material (in which copyright has expired) will be made available for the public to enjoy, share, and reuse. However, is often difficult to determine whether a work has fallen into the public domain in any given jurisdiction, because the terms of copyright protection differ from country to country. And people are sometimes unclear about what can or cannot be done with works in the public domain. Copyright laws are complicated, and for the layperson it may not be clear how they apply in relation to a specific work. Though there are many international and multinational copyright agreements and copyright organisations, the exact details of copyright law vary from one country to another. Different countries have different legal systems and traditions – and copyright laws reflect these differences. Hence, given that works enter the public domain under different circumstances depending on the country, oftentimes the status of an individual work cannot be universally established. Rather, it needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis for every jurisdiction. In order to make public domain determinations a less daunting task, the Open Knowledge Foundation has been working on the development of the Public Domain Calculators – a tool that enables people to determine the copyright status of a work (in the public domain, or not), thus helping users realize the value of artworks from the past.

A look into the past

The Open Knowledge Foundation began working on the first implementation of the Public Domain Calculators in 2006, then for the Public Domain Works project, whose goal was to identify sound recordings which are in the public domain in the United Kingdom, based on metadata provided by the BBC and private collectors. In 2007, as Public Domain Works began working with the Open Library project, the idea emerged to create a set of algorithms for determining the public domain status of a work in different jurisdictions. At the first Communia workshop in 2008, the Open Knowledge Foundation proposed collaborating with legal experts in the network to create a set of public domain calculators for different jurisdictions in Europe. These discussions eventually led to the creation of the Public Domain Working Group, who planned to work on public domain calculators across Europe. After several years, thanks to the support of a large community of legal and technical experts, the public domain calculators of the Open Knowledge Foundation are now a functional piece of software which can help people determine the copyright status of a work. Based on the research done by Europeana Connect (a project funded by the European Community Programme eContentplus), the public domain calculators rely on a series of national flowcharts which represents the provision of copyright law in the form of a decision tree. For any given work, the public domain calculators can determine whether or not that work is in the public domain in any given jurisdiction by matching the bibliographic metadata attached to that work against the provisions of copyright law for that particular jurisdiction. In terms of technology, the Public Domain Calculators of the Open Knowledge Foundation shares similarities with the those recently developed by Kennisland and the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam (IviR) in the framework of Europeana Connect. The main difference between the two is that the OKFN calculators have been designed to be completely independent from any user input and are therefore completely automated. This represents the most innovative aspect of this technology. By gathering the relevant metadata from a variety of databases, the public domain calculators only process the data necessary to identify the legal status of a work, so as to subsequently present them to the users upon request. pdc

A glance into the future

The value of the Public Domain Calculators has recently been acknowledged by the French Ministry of Culture, which created a partnership with Open Knowledge Foundation France to develop a working prototype of the calculators for the French jurisdiction. In collaboration with two pilot institutions, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine, the calculator will be presented as a pedagogical tool for the cultural sector to better understand the legal status of the works and the value of the metadata it produces. In France, this comes at an important time, as we’re entering the time when most of the works produced by authors who died during the second world war would, theoretically, enter the public domain. Yet, French copyright law stipulates that authors who died during the war in the name of France have extended terms of protection. Hence, by applying the standard 70 years post-mortem rule, a number of works which are still eligible for copyright protection might end up being incorrectly assumed to be in the public domain. The public domain calculators represent a technological solution to help people identify whether or not these works have indeed entered into the public domain. But the value of the public domain calculators extends far beyond highlighting the peculiarities of national copyright laws. Their objective is also to promote good practices within the cultural sector. Hence, in France, in addition to being a mere pedagogical tool, the calculators will also be employed as a benchmarking tool to help cultural institutions identify flaws and gaps in the structure or content of their bibliographical metadata, so as to ultimately increase the accuracy of the results. We hope that other countries will follow the example of France, and that the potential of the public domain calculators as a means to promote good open data policies within the cultural sector will be appreciated by many other countries around the world. Visit the website of Public Domain Calculator to learn more, and make sure to visit the Copyright Week website for full overview of the week’s posts and activities.

Launch of the Public Domain Remix contest in France

- May 16, 2013 in Events/Workshops, Featured

The Public Domain Remix is ​​a contest organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Wikimedia France, which aims to give a new life to the public domain by encouraging the creative remix of works that are no longer protected by copyright law. The objective is to promote the public domain by showing what can actually be done with these works. PD remix The competition aims to encourage the use and reuse of public domain works while promoting transmediality: Rather than maintaining the same medium, the public will be encouraged to move from one medium to another (eg, remixing a literary work into music, a photograph into sculpture, etc.). As such, the Public Domain Remix is ​​divided into five categories: Arts, Literature, Music, Video and Hardware. To celebrate the begining of the contest, a special event was organized during the OuiShare Festival, at the Cabaret Sauvage in Paris, on Saturday, May 4th 2013. Several artists had been invited to present their work and explain their artistic approach around the notion of remix. These artists intervened as mediators between the works and the public, who was invited to remix the public domain, either by working individually or by contributing to the creation of a collaborative work. By means of specific workshops, each artist encouraged the public to remix these works in an innovative and creative way, while sharing their own skills and ideas, presenting the tools that can be used to remix certain types of works, and explaining to the public how to use these tools.

Literary workshop (Olivier Vilaspasa)
A collaborative workshop was organised to help people randomly make a prediction about the future on a particular issue. Taking content from the the book “Treaty of political economy” (1841) of the economist Jean-Baptiste, the public was invited to cut sentences into pieces to create a pool of subjects, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The audience could then ask a question (which was hidden) and the answer was given to them by randomly drawing out words from the pool. Each participant left with a cut & paste set of Questions and Answers arranged on a page specifically prepared for this prediction.

Technical workshop (Primavera De Filippi)
PDremix Materials were provided to the public (such as books, paintings and illustrations in the public domain, cassettes or CDs of songs which are in the public domain, videos, etc.) as well as tools (glue, scisors, pliers, hammers, screws, bolts, drills, etc.) to allow the public to remix the work. The purpose of the workshop was to encourage the public to create new works using public domain works as raw material (in the true sense of term). Many collages were made​​, and several sculptures were created, stories have been illustrated with 3 dimensional characters, books have been turned into pirate boats … everything in a wonderful atmosphere of fantasy and chaos.

Poetic & musical workshop ( David Christoffel )
As a response to a reading of A discourse on method by Descartes, the public was invited to read aloud and record on the fly the words excerpts from a selection of texts in the public domain related to question of rethoric in speech. The set of readings, words and thoughts collected and produced by the public has then been remixed into music, giving rise to a sort of musical interchange with the public domain.

Musical Workshop  (JL’z Team Factory)
Starting with a soundtrack recorded in 1914 (Favorite airs from The Mikado by Edison Light Opera Company), the public was invited to explore and select fragments thereof. These sound samples were then crushed and distorted with the functions proposed by the open-source software Audacity. They were then duplicated, re-ordered, stacked together or looped throughout the song, creating a new melody and harmony, a new rhythm giving a new life to the music.

VJ workshop: audiovisual performance (Laurent Carlier)
The VJ workshop invited the public to work around the notion of contribution, development and self-empowerment,  blurring the lines between taking and giving in a collective process, to reach a consensus between collective autonomy and individual self. The goal of the workshop was to produce a series of audiovisual performances, to give new life to visual and sound archives, through a process of common-sense and self-expression: an experimental process of immediate exchange and intersected media (merging public contributions with public domain presentations) to create new performances in a single movement.


Arctic Gymnopédie by Les Dupont
Get Involved!
If you have not been able to join us at this event, you can still participate to the contest until December 31st 2013 by sending pictures of your work on the following website: http://france.publicdomainremix.org. Prizes will be awarded to reward the best works in each of the five competition categories: visual arts, literature, music, video, and hardware. The Open Knowledge Foundation will aim to organise more Public Domain Remix competitions in other countries and is looking for local partner organisations. Are you interested? Get in touch!

Communia condemns the privatisation of the Public Domain by the BnF

- January 21, 2013 in Bibliographic, COMMUNIA, OKF France, Public Domain

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 allowing the private companies carrying out the digitization to commercialize the digitized documents. During this period only a limited number of these works may be offered online by the BnF. Together with La Quadrature du Net, Framasoft, SavoirsCom1 and the Open Knowledge Foundation France, COMMUNIA has issued a statement (in french) to express our profound disagreement with the terms of these partnerships that restrict digital access to an important part of Europe’s cultural heritage. The agreements that the BnF has entered into, effectively take the works being digitized out of the public domain for the next 10 years. The value of the public domain lies in the free dissemination of knowledge and the ability for everyone to access and create new works based on previous works. Yet, instead of taking advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization, the exclusivity of these agreements will force public bodies, such as research institutions or university libraries, to purchase digital content that belongs to the common cultural heritage. As such, these partnerships constitute a commodification of the public domain by contractual means. COMMUNIA, of which the OKFN is a partner, has been critical of such arrangements from the start (see their Public Domain Manifesto) and Policy Reccomendations 4 & 5. More interestingly these agreements are also in direct contradiction with the Public Domain Charter published by the Europeana Foundation in 2011. In this context it is interesting to note that the director of Bibliothèque nationale de France currently serves as the chairman of the Europeana Foundation’s Executive Board.

Happy Public Domain Day !

- January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

On this day, 1st of January 2013, we do not only celebrate the beginning of a new year, but we also celebrate the whole variety of works, knowledge and information that, by entering the public domain, have become freely available to the world. Given the limited term of protection granted by copyright law, a large number of works – whose authors died several decades ago – can no longer be owned by anyone and their use can no longer be constrained. They have become part of the common pool of knowledge that constitutes our cultural heritage and that can be freely used by everyone and for any purpose. This year, in Europe, we are happy to welcome the works of: Walter Sickert, a German painter who had an important influence on distinctively British styles of avant-garde art in the 20th century. Grant Wood, an American painter from Iowa best known for his paintings depicting the rural American Midwest. He is best known for his painting American Gothic, an iconic image of the 20th century. Bruno Schulz, a Polish writer and artist most famous for his collection of short stories The Street of Crocodiles (1934) which centre on a merchant family from a small town in the Galician region. Arthur Edward Waite, a scholarly mystic who wrote extensively on occult and esoteric matters, and co-created the widely used Rider-Waite Tarot deck. Stefan Zweig, one of the most famous authors in the world of the 1920s and 1930s; Franz Boas, a German-American pioneer of modern anthropology often referred to as the “Father of American Anthropology”. He applied the scientific method to the study of human cultures and societies; previously this discipline was based on the formulation of grand theories around anecdotal knowledge. Robert Musil, an Austrian writer whose huge tome of an unfinished novel “The Man Without Qualities” is generally considered to be one of the most important modernist novels; … and many more. The Public Domain Review has compiled a list of the most notable authors whose works are entering the public domain in those countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term. These works can now be freely reproduced and shared to everyone; they can be freely use, reused, translated, adapted or otherwise modified by anyone without asking for permission and without incurring the risk of violating the law. Yet, it is important to remember that copyright law differs from one country to another. For instance, in the U.S., the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act – which added 20 years to most copyright terms – effectively “froze” the public domain by stipulating that, unless otherwise stipulated by the copyright owner, all works produced in or after 1923 and still eligible for protection in 1998 would not enter the public domain until 2019 or after. Unfortunately, today, there is not much to celebrate for them. Hence, before using a work, it is always necessary to check the status of the work in the country where it will actually be used. Yet, given the complexity of copyright law, this can often be an extremely tedious complicated process. To facilitate the task, various tools have been developed –  such the Public Domain Calculators of the Open Knowledge Foundation, and  outofcopyright.eu from Europeana – to help determine which works are in the public domain in various countries around the world. For more information on the public domain day, check out the Public Domain Day website – an initiative of the international Communia Association for the promotion and the preservation of the Digital Public Domain, with the special support of the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Happy Public Domain Day !

- January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

On this day, 1st of January 2013, we do not only celebrate the beginning of a new year, but we also celebrate the whole variety of works, knowledge and information that, by entering the public domain, have become freely available …

Happy Public Domain Day !

- January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

On this day, 1st of January 2013, we do not only celebrate the beginning of a new year, but we also celebrate the whole variety of works, knowledge and information that, by entering the public domain, have become freely available …

Happy Public Domain Day !

- January 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

On this day, 1st of January 2013, we do not only celebrate the beginning of a new year, but we also celebrate the whole variety of works, knowledge and information that, by entering the public domain, have become freely available …

COMMUNIA Positive Agenda for the Public Domain

- December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

This policy paper proposes to contribute to defining a positive agenda for the Public Domain. It is grounded on a WIPO study by Professor Séverine Dusollier, Communia policy recommendations and Communia previous WIPO statements.

This work-in-progress document presents policy recommendations and strategies aimed at the transnational level, namely WIPO CDIP and SCCR. Legal language will be drafted at a later stage.

Policy recommendations are:

1. Definition of a positive status for the Public Domain 2. Recognition of the validity of voluntary dedication to the Public Domain 3. Facilitating the identification of the Public Domain status The full policy paper can be downloaded as a pdf: Communia Positive Agenda for the Public Domain and the full text is also available below:

Preamble: what is the Public Domain?

The Public Domain consists of all material that can be freely accessed and reused:

  • creations which are no longer covered by copyright or related rights,
  • information, facts, data, and ideas which are outside of the scope of copyright protection.

These materials are the basis of the exercise of many fundamental human rights and values, such as the right to cultural expression and to education, freedom of expression, citizen democratic participation and economic and social innovation.

Rationale: why strengthen the Public Domain?

The role of the Public Domain, already crucial in the past, is even more important today, as the Internet and digital technologies enable us to access, use and re-distribute information with a marginal cost of zero. It has thus become necessary to reform the copyright system to recognise the existence of the Public Domain, so as to counteract the continuous extension of copyright protection threatening the right to access and reuse culture, education, science and public information for the shared benefit of all creators and members of the society.

Policy recommendations 1. Definition of a positive status for the Public Domain

The Public Domain deserves a positive recognition to better identify works and usages which are available for creators and users to build upon. It should not be defined as a mere non “Intellectual Property” protection zone. This would be consistent with the history of “Intellectual Property”, which used to consider the Public Domain as the rule and copyright as the exception, as a temporary and limited monopoly of exploitation. This crucial balance should be clearly reintroduced within the copyright regulatory framework.

Implementation:

1.1. Positive definition

Copyright law should include a definition for the Public Domain.

Proposed legal language:

The Public Domain consists of all material that can be freely accessed and reused. This shall include:

1.1.1. Material being no longer covered by copyright protection: these include copyrighted works but also data, databases, compilations, performances, phonograms and broadcasts subject to copyright-related protection.

For example, Chilean Law No. 17,336, article 11 recognises the existence of the Public Domain as a common pool of works that “may be used by anyone, provided they respect the ownership and integrity of the work.” This includes, inter alia, “(a) Works whose term of protection has been extinguished.

1.1.2. Information, facts, data, and ideas which are outside of the scope of copyright protection: these include all materials that are not eligible for protection under copyright or related rights.

Copyright legislations usually provide a list of material subject to protection but not of items which should remain out of protection. This contrasts with patent laws in many jurisdictions, which often include specific provisions stipulating what is specifically excluded from protection.

1.2. Legal safeguarding

The Public Domain should be safeguarded from private appropriation and closures through legal, contractual or technical barriers. Works that are in the Public Domain in analogue form should stay in the Public Domain once they have been digitised.

Implementation:

1.2.1. Safeguarding the Public Domain from private appropriation

A positive definition of the Public Domain should be accompanied by guarantees of freedom of access and re-use for all, without the possibility for adding legal, contractual or technical restrictions.

The WIPO 1996 Treaties should prohibit the use of technical protection measures on Public Domain material.

There should be a system for legal recourse allowing Public Domain users to prevent attempts of Public Domain misappropriation. Legal sanctions should be devised to prevent false or misleading attempts to claim exclusivity over Public Domain material.

For instance, Chilean Law No. 17,336, article 80 provides that “(a) anyone who knowingly reproduces, distributes, makes available or communicates to the public a work belonging to the public domain [...] under a name which is not that of the true author” or “(b) anyone who claims or demands economic rights in works in the public domain” shall be “deemed to have committed an intellectual property violation.

1.2.2. Preserving the digital Public Domain

Digital reproductions of works that are in the Public Domain shall also belong to the Public Domain. The use of works in the Public Domain should not be limited by any means, either legal or technical.

The internet enables the widespread re-use of digital reproductions of works whose copyright protection has expired. The Public Domain status of these works means that there is no owner who can impose restrictions on their reuse. Nonetheless, the owners of the physical works (such as heritage institutions) can consider themselves entitled to control digital reproductions and impose restrictions on their reuse conditions. However, the digitisation of Public Domain works does not create new rights: works that are in the Public Domain in analogue form continue to be in the Public Domain once they have been digitised.

Therefore, the law shall consider such restrictions to access and reuse of digitised Public Domain material as void (with possible legal sanctions).

2. Recognition of the validity of voluntary dedication to the Public Domain

Dedicating a work or any copyright protected item to the Public Domain should be considered as a legitimate way to exercise one’s exclusive right in order to contribute to a common pool of reusable works. (We recommend the use of “dedication” to the Public Domain as a more positive expression than “voluntary relinquishment of rights”).

The legal enforceability of voluntary dedications (or “rights relinquishments”) should be recognised in all jurisdictions and interpreted as compatible with rightholders’ moral rights.

A positive status for the Public Domain should recognise in all jurisdictions the legitimacy and enforceability of voluntary dedications to the Public Domain by the use of tools such as CC0. Moral rights should not be seen as impediments, as dedicating a work to the Public Domain is in fact a way to exercise one’s moral rights. Since moral rights are compatible with the Public Domain, they are also compatible with the voluntary Public Domain.

For example, Chilean Law No. 17,336, article 11 stipulates that the Public Domain shall include, inter alia, “(c) works whose owners have waived the protection granted by [copyright] Law” which “may be used by anyone, provided they respect the ownership and integrity of the work.”

Besides, the mandates between collective rights management organisations and their members should guarantee the ability of rightholders to fully exercise their rights to dedicate their works to the Public Domain.

  3. Facilitating the identification of the Public Domain status

It is difficult to assess whether a work is in the Public Domain due to the complexity and the lack of harmonisation of national copyright rules. The need for legal certainty for users in this respect calls for clarification. Beyond registration and Rights Management Information systems, copyright law shall allow for a clear identification of the Public Domain status of a work or any subject-matter eligible for copyright or copyright-related protection.

Implementation:

3.1 Simplified and harmonised copyright duration and territoriality rules

The rules to determine the term of copyright protection have become so complex that it is almost impossible to establish with certainty whether a work or other subject matter is protected by copyright or whether it is in the Public Domain. Harmonising the legal framework with regard to copyright duration and territorial scope would allow for an easier identification of Public Domain contents across the world.

The way to reduce the divergence between national legislations as regards copyright scope and duration should be clarified at WIPO and EU levels.

3.2 Rights Information Measures

The role of Rights Management Information (RMI) in the identification of the contents of the Public Domain should be recognised. The use of a “Public Domain Mark” such as the tool developed by Creative Commons or a stronger equivalent with metadata carrying the stamp of the declarant – be it a national library, the ministry of culture or public and private registries – would be extremely useful to identify Public Domain material and prevent their misappropriation by adding a layer of rights.

Such technical informational tools identifying Public Domain contents shall be coordinated on a trans-national level by existing rights management structures such as collecting societies.

The definition of “Rights Management Information” in the 1996 WIPO Treaties should include any electronic information pertaining to Public Domain material as recommended by Prof. Severine Dusollier.

3.3 Registration tools

The relevance of registration tools to help identify and locate rights holders and Public Domain contents has to be acknowledged and further analysed. Easier identification and location of rights holders and Public Domain material would help avoid situations like the “orphan works” phenomenon and foster innovative digitisation initiatives. In this respect, the re-introduction of copyright protection formalities would deserve further analysis.

In order to prevent a default protection system being not in line with both digital needs and rightholders’ will for less protection, full copyright protection should only be granted upon registration. Non-registered items eligible for copyright protection should only get moral rights protection. This would help users identify resources being in the Public Domain, either at the end of rights duration or following a Public Domain dedication.

   

COMMUNIA Positive Agenda for the Public Domain

- December 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

This policy paper proposes to contribute to defining a positive agenda for the Public Domain. It is grounded on a WIPO study by Professor Séverine Dusollier, Communia policy recommendations and Communia previous WIPO statements.

This work-in-progress document presents …

I Have A Dream: a law for the public domain in France!

- October 30, 2012 in Public Domain, WG Public Domain

On the 27th of October, Lionel Maurel (@Calimaq) published in his blog a long list of suggestions that would help preserve and promote the public domain in France. In view of the Ministry of Culture’s proposal to enact a new law concerning French cultural heritage, Lionel advocates for the adoption of a law that would also account for the public domain. Musaeum Clausum, inventory of curiosities His proposed legal reform is driven by two complementary objectives: The first objective is defensive, give that there is a urge to protect the public domain in the digital age. The public domain has been subject to a slow erosion over the course of the last century. This is mainly due to the constant extension of the copyright term and the establishment of new rights, but not only. Public-private partnerships for the digitization of the cultural heritage is a source of concern insofar as private firms are granted exclusive rights over digitized copies. Indeed, while digitization should be an opportunity to broadly disseminate public domain works, cultural institutions (libraries, museums, archives) are increasingly affecting the integrity of the public domain by means of specific techniques intended to create new layers of rights over the digital copies of these works. For these reasons, if we want to preserve the public domain in the twenty-first century, it is essential to protect it through the law. We can no longer let this fundamental issue be exclusively dealt with by cultural institutions and the communities they belong to, since those are often ill-equipped to address the issue and might even be tempted to make profits by commodifying the public domain. The State must ensure that the public domain is preserved for the benefit of all citizens, who shall all be entitled to freely access their own cultural heritage and create new works based on prior works. The other objective is more of an offensive one, in that it suggests a positive reform of copyright law. Thus far, the majority of reform proposals have only been concerned with the issue of piracy and the legitimacy of non-commercial file sharing. Yet, it is just as important to fight on another, complementary front, as regards the positive recognition of the public domain. The following proposal has been inspired by several sources: Communia’s Manifesto for the public domain, the reform proposals from La Quadrature du Net, the Open Glam report on opening up data and cultural content and the report of the Committee of Wise Men on the European public-private partnerships. Interesting suggestions also came from the report recently published by the Terra Nova Foundation, which has devoted an entire section to the issue of the public domain in the digital age. It has to be noted, however, that this proposal only concerns French legislation and is not directed towards reforming European law. Hence, it does not cover essential aspects which are crucial for the public domain – such as reducing the duration of copyright and neighboring rights – but that could only be implemented at the European level. Lionel thus proposes a list of twenty-six points for potential law reform, drawn around seven different objectives: I) To explicitly recognize the notion of the public domain in French Intellectual Property Code
  1. Clarifying the definition of “work of authorship” by endorsing the criteria of originality and fixation directly into the law.

  2. Explicitly including the notion of “public domain” into the provision on the copyright term.

II) To simplify the public domain regime by harmonizing the terms of protection.

  1. Removing the additional term of protection to compensate for the war period.
  2. Removing the 30 years extension for authors who “died for France”
  3. Eliminating the special regime for posthumous works
  4. Simplifying the international application of copyright law
III) To limit the scope of the copyright
  1. Precluding protection for works’ titles
  2. Introducing the distinction between “useful works” and “works of art” into French law
  3. Limiting the scope of moral rights to the life of the author
  4. Preserving the public domain status of works incorporated into composite works
  5. Keeping public domain works freely reusable in the case of simple reprints
  6. Establishing a “three-step test in reverse” to prevent future infringements of the public domain
IV) To prevent attempts to the integrity of the public domain
  1. Ensuring that the faithful reproduction of two-dimensional works in the public domain are also in the public domain
  2. Preventing the commodification of the public domain as a result of the sui-generis rights on databases.
  3. Precluding limitations on the reuse of public domain works according to the French law on public sector information.
  4. Avoiding confusion between the public domain within the meaning of intellectual property and the public domain in the sense of public property.
  5. Prohibiting the use of contractual means to limit the reuse of public domain works.
  6. Prohibiting the use of DRM to constrain the reuse of public domain works.
  7. Dissuade cultural institutions from preventing the reproductions of public domain works
V) To strictly regulate public-private partnerships for the digitization of the public domain
  1. Limiting the exclusive rights granted to private partners and introducing the recommendations of the European Committee of Wise Men into French law
VI) To expand the public domain with recent works
  1. Facilitating the voluntary donation of works in the public domain by their authors
  2. Ensuring that all works produced by public officials in the exercise of their mission automatically enter the public domain
VII) To create mechanisms to further enact the public domain
  1. Establishing penalties for infringements on the integrity of the public domain
  2. Encouraging the CADA to provide advices on the reuse of public domain works
  3. Creating a national registry of public domain works
  4. Ensuring that metadata concerning public domain works are also in the public domain
A more detailed analysis of these points can be found here (only for french speakers). Lionel concludes with a dream: “that France, the country of Beaumarchais and the patrie of author’s rights, also becomes the first country to pass a law for the public domain!” We hope that these propositions, although specifically oriented towards French legislation, could be an inspiration for other people to undertake a similar analysis on how the law could contribute to the preservation and promotion of the public domain in their own country !