The Public Domain Manifesto

Developed within the COMMUNIA network during the last two years, we are pleased to announce the official launch of The Public Domain Manifesto. The document outlines a series of general principles (opening with: the Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception), then addresses various issues relevant to today’s cultural landscape finally provides some recommendations aimed at protecting the Public Domain and ensuring that it can continue to function in a meaningful way. While these recommendations are applicable across the spectrum of copyright, they are of particular relevance to education, cultural heritage and scientific research.

The Public Domain as aspired to in the Manifesto has a broad range to include cultural material that can be used without restriction, in the absence of copyright protection; shared material released under alternative licensing options such as Creative Commons licenses; and a variety of fair use and “open access” policies. These sources need to be actively maintained in order for society to reap the full benefit of our shared knowledge and culture, even more so with the wider penetration of digital technologies. It is therefore our hope that The Public Domain Manifesto will be embraced by the civil society at large as a tool to maintain and promote this precious common goods for citizens across the world and for future generations to come.

The document is available in several languages and includes a list of initial signers (both individuals and organizations). Everyone is encouraged to sign it.

King Charles II of England addresses members of the Estates General, 1660, Theodor Matham, after Jacob Toorenvliet, 1660
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