Public Domain Calculators Workshop

NOVEMBER 6, 2009

I’m one of the co-organizers of a workshop on Public Domain Calculators workshop taking place next week, on the 10th and 11th of November, at Emmanuel College, University of Cambridge.

Hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation in association with the [Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law at the University of Cambridge] 3, it’s a meeting of European experts on copyright and the digital public domain taking place as part of the Communia project.

The purpose of the workshop is to produce materials such as legal flow charts and public domain “algorithms” which will help with the representation of different national copyright laws and the determination of public domain status.

Details of the meeting are as follows:


There is often a tendency to talk of ‘the public domain’ and of works falling out of copyright and ‘into the public domain’ - as though there is a single set of works which are out of copyright all over the world. In fact, of course, there are different national laws about the nature and duration of copyright in different types of works - and hence what is in the public domain is different in different countries.

Efforts are currently underway to build a series of public domain calculators - which will help to determine whether or not a given work is in copyright in a given jurisdiction. At the time of writing groups and individuals in more than 17 jurisdictions are assisting in this effort.