A Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain

Public Domain event graphic by Comunas Unidas, CC0

Photos of the event are over at Flickr.  

Co-hosted by Creative Commons and the Internet Archive, this celebration featured keynote addresses by Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow, lightning talks, demos, multimedia displays and more to mark the “re-opening” of the public domain in the United States. The event took take place at the Internet Archive in San Francisco.

The public domain is our shared cultural commons, a near limitless trove of creativity that’s been reused, remixed, and reimagined over centuries to create new works of art and science. Content in the public domain may be reused in a limitless capacity without any intellectual property restrictions.

In the United States, 1 January 2019 marks the date at which works will resume entering the public domain. Ever since the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, no published works have entered the public domain (well, none due to copyright expiration).

Schedule of Events

10am: Doors Open

10am–12:45pm: Hands-on demos, tastings, screenings and copyright advice! Check out every room for fascinating projects featuring media from the public domain.

11:45am–1:00pm: Lunch on your own in the Richmond District

1–6pm: Panels, Keynote Speakers & Lightning Talks in Great Room

6–7:30pm: Reception in the Foyer

6:15–7:30 pm: Music, silent films and dancing lessons in the Great Room

Demo and Project Stations

  • 1923 Mugshot photo booth
  • Remix the Public Domain with trash.app
  • Public Domain Temporary Tattoos
  • 1923 Tea Party–recipes from the Internet Archive
  • 1923 Book Digitization by Internet Archive
  • Queer.Archive.Work– 1923 Edition
  • Live music by Brother Spellbinder Band, playing a set of 1920s music
  • Silent films from 1923
  • Prelinger Archives
  • Authors Alliance
  • California Digital Library Legislative Project
  • Center for the Study of the Public Domain — Tales from the Public Domain!
  • Cleveland Museum of Art — Best Practices for Open Access
  • Copyright Advice Stand, Harvard University
  • Creative Commons Search Beta
  • Electronic Frontier Foundation
  • LightHouse for the Blind & Visually Impaired
  • Open Library
  • The Great 78 Project
  • Wikimedia Foundation — How well do you know the public domain?

Afternoon Program

1-1:15pm – Welcome by Brewster Kahle, Ryan Merkley, Wendy Hanamura

1:15-2pm – Kickoff presentations by the Center for the Study of the Public Domain with Jamie Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins, Michael Wolfe

2-2:30pm – Keynote: Lawrence Lessig, Harvard Law School

2:30-3:30pm – Lightning talks I

  • Cheyenne Hohman, Former Director, Free Music Archive
  • Rick Prelinger, Prelinger Archives
  • Hannah Donovan, Founder & CEO, trash.app
  • Ryan Merkley, CEO, Creative Commons
  • Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

3:30-3:45pm – BREAK

3:45-4:45pm – Lightning talks II

  • Ben Vershbow, Director of Community Programs, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Amy Mason, Access Technology Specialist, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired
  • Paul Keller, Communia Association
  • Jane Park, Director of Product and Research, Creative Commons
  • Paul Soulellis, Artist and educator, Rhode Island School of Design

4:45-5:30pm – Law and the Public Domain Panel with Pamela Samuelson, Joe Gratz, Corynne McSherry, Daniel Schacht, Jennifer Urban

5:30-6pm – Keynote: Cory Doctorow, Author & Special Consultant to the EFF

6-7:30pm – Reception in foyer; Silent Films, 78’s DJ and Learn to Charleston in Great Room