The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture
The public domain is the sovereign space of all citizens of the world. Like the air we breathe, it is free for all people to use, without restriction, no rights reserved. Our public ownership of this domain of knowledge should be understood as a fundamental human right to access our shared knowledge, the use of which is not the result of a grant by any specific government.
In this book, the members of Communia not only articulats this positive conception of our public domain, but also seek to make the European public domain actionable. The book defines the public domain of the European nations and studies the environment in which it operates. Most importantly, it recommends a set of actions to build and make use of that domain as an environment of shared intellectual property and multifaceted cultural heritage.
This book could not come at a more important time. In a little over a decade, technological developments have shifted information production and distribution methods throughout the world. The way we interact with information has changed radically. Names like Wikipedia, Google, YouTube and, increasingly, Europeana speak for themselves. Our public domain is a wellspring of common wealth that provides ways to share that were inconceivable just a short time ago. The potential for growth that a free and accessible public domain presents to a networked Europe, rich in cultural heritage and with such a highly educated populace, is incredible. Yet the immediate implications can be hard to grasp, and policy interventions, quite often driven by special interests, painfully myopic.
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