Latest  News

Report on the 4th Communia Workshop (Zurich, 23/01/09)

Held at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the 4th Communia workshop started with a presentation by Juan Carlos De Martin (network coordinator) about the 1st year review of the Communia project by the EU Commission.

The Commission acknowledged that the live meetings held so far have enabled the building of a vibrant community and created synergy between projects – thus meeting one of the main objectives of the project. But Communia should also aim at creating a series of policy outputs, by laying down normative recommendations and suggesting a possible path to achieve a certain goal. Policy is not a new element in the project, it just has to become more visible and more tangible. For instance, when Communia discusses issues related to ‘memory institutions’, a specific agenda can and should be identified: if we could change a current norm and create a new one, what would it be and how would memory institutions be better off in Europe in regard to the public domain? [10feb09]

Works by Mahatma Gandhi to enter the public domain

The thought-provoking literary works of Mahatma Gandhi, India's iconic freedom fighter, are set to enter the public domain after the copyright on his writings and speeches lapses. Anyone will now be able to publish the writings and speeches of the legendary leader, since the copyright on these works expires 60 years after his death - except for those countries whose copyright extends to 70 years. [01feb09]

Prelinger Library: "appropriation-friendly" & public domain material

Prelinger Library LogoThe Prelinger Library is a privately funded public library in San Francisco founded in 2004 and operated by Rick Prelinger and his spouse Megan Shaw Prelinger. It is an "appropriation-friendly", browsable collection of approximately some 50,000 books, periodical volumes and printed ephemera. In partnership with the Internet Archive, the Prelinger Library is currently organizing an online collection of public domain materials in key subject areas. [30Jan09]

EU Parliament: Extending copyright term for sound recordings? No thanks!

Logo Open Rights Group align= The European Parliament is being asked to nearly double the term of copyright afforded to sound recordings.

Industry lobbyists suggest that extending copyright term will help increase the welfare of performers and session musicians. Instead it will hand millions of euros over to the world’s four major record labels, money that will come direct from the pockets of European consumers. The majority (80%) of recording artists will receive between €0.50 - €26 a year.

Europe’s leading IP research centres have clearly shown the proposal does not do what it purports to do - help the poorest performers. It is simply a windfall for the owners of large back catalogues and the top earning performers. [25jan09]

4th Communia Workshop: Zurich, 23 Jan 2009

The 4th Communia Workshop will take place in Zurich at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) on Friday the 23rd of January 2009. The Workshop is dedicated to discussing the 1st year review of the Communia project and planning our future actions. In both plenary and parallel sessions, we will also work on the Working Group projects and initiatives - including but not limited to: map the public domain, write a new mission statement for Communia, formulate specific policy statements, organize public domain day, etc. [23jan09]

Public domain childrens' graphics

Grandma's Graphics Grandma's Graphics hosts a really lovely collection of web-resolution public domain children's artwork, perfect for use on web pages or in other design or craft projects.

As stated by Grandma herself in the home page, "As far as I can determine, all of the images are in the public domain." [22jan09]

Flickr + Library of Congress = the Commons

The Library of Congress adds historical, public domain photos to Flickr, where commenters can expand on the information.

An article on today's New York Times explains that "...the last year there have been important new efforts to put these [photo] classics online, both to find new audiences for material typically used by researchers and to use those audiences to breathe new meaning into photographs from long ago."[19jan09]

Public interest vs. intellectual property rights

Here is a this a great example about the importance of a "less copyright and more public domain" approach in our societies.

In 2007 we had the anniversary from the death of Louis Vierne, a renowned French organist and composer, who held the post of principal organist at the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris from 1900 until his death in 1937. Since the 2007 landmark also meant the end of any copyright on his works, two German publishers issued new editions of Vierne's opera omnia. A truly remarkable accomplishment, not just for worldwide fans of the French master, but also because these new editions finally takes care of many mistakes and inaccuracies included in the original scores: Louis Vierne was born nearly blind due to congenital cataracts, but at the age of 2 was discovered to have an unusual gift for music.[10jan09]

Public Domain Day 2009 in Poland

On January 1st several initiatives took place to celebrate Public Domain Day around the world: here is a summary of some events. In Poland, the Coalition for Open Education (KOED - Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji) has celebrated the Public Domain Day 2009 with a press conference held in Warsaw on 30th December 2008 and a range of web-based actions.

KOED is a newly formed partnership including two Communia member organizations: the Interdisciplinary Center for Modelling at University of Warsaw (ICM UW) and the Nicolaus Copernicus University Library (NCU). [5jan09]

Can you imagine a world without copyright?

A pan-European, critical-media project,, has released its first collection of original essays (available online under Creative Commons), titled: "Experiences in Electronic Cultural Publishing".

As stated in its introduction, this production "represents some of the most important media for the critical reflexion of culture and art in an age strongly influenced by digital technologies and their social repercussions."

The Sharing Knowledge section includes several essays on such topics as "Creative Commons in context", "Tales of the Commons Culture" and particularly "Imagining a world without copyright", a paper by Joost Smiers & Marieke Van Schijndel.

Here are a few excerpts:

"...every artistic work - regardless of whether it concerns a soap opera, a composition by Luciano Berio, or a movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger - derives the better part of its substance from the work of others - from the public domain.[20dec08]

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