Monday, January 31, 2005

Public Knowledge and Public Domain

When we think of digitization projects, we tend to think of digitizing those items that exist in the public domain. Going through copyright clearance on items not in the public domain can be time consuming and costly. The advocacy group called Public Knowledge is working to ensure that governments understand the impact of the public domain on creativity and innovation.

The web site notes that:
Primarily due to new legislation responding to new technologies, the information
commons has fallen out of balance. Nothing new will really enter the public
domain for the next 20 years. This will have a major impact of people's need to
communicate, to share ideas, to pass down traditional knowledge, to participate
in popular culture. Whether a writer or scientist, issues surrounding
Intellectual Property and the Public Domain affect us all. Journalists who are
being forced to sign over the rights to their writings for the next 95 years to
their employers will be allied with the genetic researchers who can't study
breast cancer genes because of patents.
The web site tracks issues and contains very good background materials. Given who is involved in the group, this is a reputable organization with clout. Definitely a group worth keeping your eyes on (and perhaps helping out).

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