Public Domain Calculators

Ever heard of Public Domain calculators? Well they have been part of by guilty conscience since May last year. The idea is to create a flowchart for calculating when works enter the public domain. And my guilty conscience? Well I still haven’t finished the Swedish version yet. I know, I know… Anyway the pressure is on again since there will be a Public Domain Calculator meeting organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation in Cambridge in November… High time to get to work, so where did I put my notes…

Public Domain Calculators

There is often a tendency to talk of ‘the public domain’ and of works falling out of copyright and ‘into the public domain’ – as though there is a single set of works which are out of copyright all over the world. In fact, of course, there are different national laws about the nature and duration of copyright in different types of works – and hence what is in the public domain is different in different countries.

We’re currently coordinating work to build a series of public domain calculators – which will help to determine whether or not a given work is in copyright in a given jurisdiction. At the time of writing we have been in touch with groups and individuals interested in helping to build the calculators in 17 jurisdictions.

In November, the Open Knowledge Foundation in association with the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge are hosting a meeting of European experts on copyright and the digital public domain as part of the Communia project. The purpose of the workshop is to produce materials such as legal flow charts and public domain “algorithms” which will help with the representation of different national copyright laws and the determination of public domain status.

Details of the meeting are as follows:

  • Participate: Free but space is limited. If you are interested in coming, email the organizers at:
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