Open Access and the Public Domain


Michael Carroll

This is a working meeting, and the role of the lead discussants will be to facilitate the work by making short interventions (5 – 10 minutes).  These interventions will either be policy proposals for discussion or interventions that report facts or developments that would be of general interest.  After the interventions, we will have a group discussion about policy proposals that either could be mentioned in the conference declaration or could be analyzed and improved for use by policy advocates. For example, policy proposals could either be changes to the law or to institutional policies concerning public domain materials.

Here are just a few ideas:  (1) Copyright law should be clarified to make it easy to dedicate a work to the public domain; (2) Public policy should subsidize or otherwise encourage the digitization of public domain works; (3) Cultural institutions that digitize public domain works should make them available to the public without contractual restrictions or claims of copyright in the digitized version.

In terms of interventions, I’m hoping that those who were involved in the public domain manifesto,, and the Europeana public domain commitments might say a little about each of those initiatives and how they might be built upon.

Other ideas might be to strategize about the rhetoric or conception of the public domain as a valuable resource in which the public has a vested interest.


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