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Exploring Public Domain

Exploring Public Domain

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Learners will gain a basic understanding of Public Domain, and should be able to explain the following.
  • What public domain is
  • What type works fall under public domain
  • How a work becomes part of the public domain
  • What you can and cannot do with works in public domain

This tutorial is designed to help learners further explore how copyright works and why it exists.  The resources presented here are varied to provide the learner with an option to explore the topic through his or her preferred mode of learning.    

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Tutorial

Introduction

 

This tutorial is designed to help you gain a basic understanding of public domain, a major tenet of Copyright Law.   By the time you complete your exploration here you should be able to explain the following.
 
  • What public domain is
  • What type of works fall under public domain
  • How a work becomes part of the public domain
  • What you can and cannot do with works in public domain 
     

For more information on Copyright Law, please visit my tutorial on the subject.

 

Public Domain Basics Presentation

The Public Domain (Stanford University)

Stanford University offers a great resource on Copyright Law and everything associated with it.  Here is a link Stanford's main copyright resource page where you can find just about everything you'd want to know on the subject.  But below is the link to their section on public domain.  

Read the introduction there for a quick overview, but do spend some time looking through the other pages linked there for an overall look at public domain. Scroll down the Stanford page for these resources beginning with "A. Welcome to the Public Domain."


 

Chapter 8: The Public Domain 

Source: Board of Trustees. "Chapter 8: The Public Domain." Stanford Copyright and Fair Use. Ed. Stanford University. N.p., 2010. Web. 3 Jan. 2013. .

UC Copyright from the University of California

Below you will find a link to the resource page on public domain from The University of California.  The content here is not quite as in-depth as is found on the Stanford University website, but they take a slightly different approach to the content and organize it in a slightly different way.  Spend some time here to further focus your understanding of public domain.


UC Copyright: Public Domain

Source: "Public Domain." UC Copyright. Ed. The Regents of the U of CA. University of California, 3 May 2003. Web. 3 Jan. 2013. .

Over and Above

Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is one of the very first digital archives of free and open content.  The site is created by volunteers who create electronic full text of books in public domain.  Explore one of the oldest and most comprehensive digital archives of free ebooks around.  See what's there. There may be something of interest for you!  Also, take some time and read and explore some of the information on the Project Gutenberg about page. The project history is quite interesting.


Project Gutenberg

Source: Project Gutenberg. Project Guntenberg, 27 Oct. 2012. Web. 03 Jan. 2013.

The Public Domain Review

In his article, "Class of 2013: artists whose work enters the public domain on Jan 1, 2013," Cory Doctorow introduces a project from the Open Knowledge Foundation that authors this blog "dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online" (The Public Domain Review).  

This particular post on The Public Domain Review introduces some interesting authors whose work enters the public domain this year.    


"Class of 2013: artists whose work enters the public domain on Jan 1, 2013" by Cory Doctorow (Click on "Class of 2013" at the bottom of the post)
 

Explore the whole project site:

The Public Domain Review

 

Source: Doctorow, Cory. "Class of 2013: artists whose work enters the public domain on Jan 1, 2013." Boing Boing. N.p., 13 Dec. 2013. Web. 7 Jan. 2013. .

On the Media - Germany Publishes "Mein Kampf"

In this interview from On The Media, Bob Garfield interviews German media professor Nikolaus Peifer. They discuss the future entrance of Adolph Hitler's book, "Mein Kampf," into the public domain. "Peifer explains to Bob how Germans are trying to manage and contextualize the book’s release in order to minimalize its impact" (On The Media). This will be the first time the book has been published in Germany in 70 years. Many people want to stop the publishing of the book and block it from the public domain. This is a very intriguing case revolving around public domain. Take a listen!

Source: Garfield, Bob. "Germany Publishes "Mein Kampf" - On The Media." On The Media. WNYC, 18 May 2012. Web. 05 Jan. 2013.