communia

COMMUNIA explores role of digital public domain in final report

Jane Park, May 16th, 2012

From 2007 to 2011, COMMUNIA was a project funded by the European Commission to explore the role of the public domain in the digital age. Over four years, COMMUNIA, or The European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain, gathered over 50 members from academia and the CC community to research, promote, and preserve the digital public domain. In 2011, COMMUNIA’s members decided to continue the network as an international nonprofit association.

We would like to highlight two recent publications by COMMUNIA that shed light on COMMUNIA’s progress:

In April, COMMUNIA released, “The Digital Public Domain: Foundations for an Open Culture” under CC BY:

“This book brings together essays by academics, librarians, entrepreneurs, activists and policy makers, who were all part of the EU-funded Communia project [from 2007-2011]. Together the authors argue that the Public Domain — that is, the informational works owned by all of us, be that literature, music, the output of scientific research, educational material or public sector information — is fundamental to a healthy society.”

More recently, COMMUNIA published its Final Report, also under CC BY:

“This Public Report is the outcome of the work of the COMMUNIA Network on the Digital Public Domain (hereinafter “COMMUNIA”). This Report was undertaken to (i) review the activities of COMMUNIA; (ii) investigate the state of the digital public domain in Europe; and (iii) recommend policy strategies for enhancing a healthy public domain and making digital content in Europe more accessible and usable. Each of the subjects indicated above will be further developed and detailed in Annex I, Annex II, and Annex III of this Report, respectively.”

The Final Report, along with the collection of essays above, highlights much of the good work completed by COMMUNIA over the years, including The Public Domain Manifesto, of which many CC affiliates, staff, and community members were a part of drafting.

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COMMUNIA’s response to the proposed amendments to PSI Directive

Timothy Vollmer, February 2nd, 2012

This post is an adaptation from the COMMUNIA International Association blog and is cross-posted at the Open Knowledge Foundation website. Creative Commons and the Open Knowledge Foundation are institutional members of COMMUNIA. The mission of COMMUNIA is to educate about, advocate for, offer expertise and research about the public domain in the digital age within society and with policymakers.

The European Commission Public Sector Information Directive, which describes the conditions under which European public sector information (PSI) should be made available for reuse by the public, has been in place since 2003. PSI ranges from digital maps to weather data to traffic statistics, and there’s a lot of potential value in making PSI available for reuse for commercial and non-commercial purposes – up to €140bn. The EC says that increasing the reuse of PSI can generate new businesses and jobs – and to this end is planning to update its nine-year-old Directive. The COMMUNIA International Association last week released a short policy document (PDF) in reaction to the to the European Commission’s (EC) proposals, which the OKF’s Daniel Dietrich presented at the LAPSI conference in Brussels to a positive and interested audience.

To give a bit of background: in December 2011 the EC published a proposal (PDF) to update the PSI Directive. The Open Knowledge Foundation already covered the basics of the Commission announcement. The COMMUNIA document draws attention to two areas where these proposals still need improvement: firstly regarding the conditions for re-use of public sector information that falls within the scope of the Directive; and secondly regarding public domain content that is held by libraries, museums and archives.

Conditions for re-use of public sector information

From the perspective of COMMUNIA the way the amended Directive addresses licensing of public sector content remains underdeveloped and as such has the potential to create diverging and potentially incompatible implementations among the Member states. The article of the amended Directive dealing with licensing mentions “standard licenses,” but does not sufficiently clarify what should be considered to be a standard license, and encourages the development of open government licenses. Instead of recommending the use and creation of more licenses, COMMUNIA suggests that the Commission should consider advocating the use of a single open license that can be applied across the entire European Union. Such licenses (stewarded by the Open Knowledge Foundation and Creative Commons) already exist and are widely used by a broad spectrum of data and content providers.

Public Domain Content held by libraries, museums and archives

COMMUNIA is supportive of the Commission’s suggested change to include cultural heritage institutions into the scope of the amended Directive. Access to and re-use of PSI has been one of the issues that has featured prominently in the work of COMMUNIA. For instance, the EC’s amendments to the Directive are aligned with COMMUNIA’s January 2011 policy recommendation #13, which states, “The PSI Directive needs to be broadened, by increasing its scope to include publicly funded memory organisations – such as museums or galleries – and strengthened by mandating that Public Sector Information will be made freely available for all to use and re-use without restriction.”


The South Prospect of the Cathedral of St. Pauls / gallica.bnf.fr/Bibliotheque nationale de France / Public Domain

Including such content under the purview of the Directive will improve citizens’ access to our shared knowledge and culture and should increase the amount of digitized cultural heritage that is available online. But, while the amended Directive makes it clear that documents held by cultural heritage institutions in which there are no third party intellectual property rights will be re-usable for commercial or noncommercial purposes, it does not address the largest category of works held by cultural heritage institutions — those that are not covered by intellectual property rights at all because those works are in the public domain. COMMUNIA thinks that explicitly including public domain content held by libraries, museums and archives in the re-use obligation of the amended PSI Directive will strengthen the Commission’s position with regard to access and re-use of public domain content.

The full COMMUNIA association reaction to the EC’s proposal to amend Directive 2003/98/EC on re-use of public sector information can be downloaded here (PDF).

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CC in Torino, June 26-30

Mike Linksvayer, June 10th, 2009


Photo by Chensiyuan / CC BY-SA

Two fantastic Creative Commons and related events happening in Turin, Italy late this month, with registration deadlines fast approaching.

June 26 is a one day CC Technology Summit. This is the place to be for learning how CC and others are using the Semantic Web to support open and interoperable rights information, decentralized copyright registries, machine-readable citation, and more. Unintentionally it is also a showcase of the global nature of CC technology innovation, with 13 presenters from 8 countries. The registration price is €75 or €50 for COMMUNIA attendees (see below) and CC Network members and the deadline is June 15. See video and slides from last year’s CC tech summits at Google in Mountain View, California and MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Second COMMUNIA International Conference 2009 is scheduled for Sunday 28, Monday 29 & Tuesday 30 June 2009 in Torino, under the title Global Science and the Economics of Knowledge-Sharing Institutions. Among the exciting keynote addresses is John Wilbanks of Science Commons. Registration is €168 and closes June 12. See one of our past posts on COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network for the Digital Public Domain.

Both events promise compelling, cutting-edge talks, and are also a fantastic opportunity to meet many of the leads of CC jurisdiction projects in Europe. A special mention and thanks must be given to Juan Carlos De Martin, project lead of CC Italy, organizer of COMMUNIA, and Co-director, NEXA Center for Internet & Society, Politecnico of Torino, speaker and host at both events!

I hope to see you in Torino.

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CC Technology Summit Registration Open

Nathan Yergler, May 18th, 2009

The program for the third CC Technology Summit is coming together and registration is now open.

Once again we’re offering a special deal for CC Network members (25€ off the regular price). The Technology Summit is being organized in collaboration with NEXA Center for Internet & Society and the timing makes it possible to attend two great Commons events in the same place — the 2009 COMMUNIA Conference is taking place two days after the Technology Summit. If you’re already attending COMMUNIA there’s a special registration deal for you, too.

If you have any questions, just email techsummit@creativecommons.org.

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Registries and the public domain at the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop

Mike Linksvayer, October 23rd, 2008

Monday the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop on Marking the Public Domain: Relinquishment and Certification included a panel on marking and tagging public domain works, featuring presentations by Safe Creative‘s Mario Pena (Safe Creative’s approach to registering public domain works), Patrick Peiffer of the Bibliothèque nationale de Luxembourg (and CC Luxembourg), Jonathan Gray (OKF), and me (certifying public domain works).

In the future we will work with Safe Creative and others on registry standards to ensure openness and interoperability — see both Mario and my slides for some of this.

Soon all presentations from the workshop will be available for download.

Remember that Safe Creative is generously matching contributions to the CC fall fundraising campaign. Thanks again to Safe Creative!

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COMMUNIA: A growing European network

Michelle Thorne, September 24th, 2008

Earlier this month, Mike gave us a sneak preview of several not-to-be-missed conferences in Europe this October. COMMUNIA kicks off the list with its 3rd Workshop, this time held in Amsterdam on October 20-21. The Amsterdam workshop will tackle Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification, and the CC0 beta/discussion draft 3 will be one of the main items on the agenda.

The workshop follows the successful COMMUNIA Conference 2008, held at the University of Louvain-La-Neuve, Belgium on June 30 and July 1. The conference furthered COMMUNIA’s mission to enrich and inform the debate about various (and often under-represented) issues related to today’s copyright. In particular, the COMMUNIA network continues to improve understanding about the true value of the public domain and open licensing.

All materials produced by the COMMUNIA network can be downloaded from the COMMUNIA website, which is in itself a great resource for the latest news in intellecutal property, copyright and public domain issues around the world.

Image from COMMUNIA Conference 2008 by Politecnico di Torino, available under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.

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Late October in Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Gothenburg

Mike Linksvayer, September 8th, 2008

Three excellent commons themed events will occur in northern Europe October 20-26 with no days between them! Each has a significantly different focus. All are highly recommended and will feature participants, speakers, and organizers from Creative Commons’ network throughout Europe and the U.S.

First comes the 3rd COMMUNIA Workshop, October 20-21 in Amsterdam. A workshop, this is probably the most specialized of the three events, titled Marking the public domain: relinquishment & certification. For an update on one part of CC’s work related to this, see the announcement of CC0 beta/discussion draft 3.

Next is the Nordic Cultural Commons Conference 2008, held October 22-23 at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. Bringing together all Nordic Creative Commons scholars and practitioners, the conference explores open content licensing and its implications for law and policy, business, culture, and the public sector. This may be the event of the year to learn about open content licensing. Early bird registration ends September 21.

Wrapping up the week is the Free Society Conference and Nordic Summit 2008, held October 24-26 in Gothenburg. Co-organized by Creative Commons Sweden, Free Software Foundation Europe and Wikimedia Sverige, FSCONS aims to be a landmark event in bringing the different movements working for digital freedom together, including free culture, free software, and developments that further both. Early bird registration ends September 15.

See you at one, two, or all three!

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