WIPO Study on Public Domain Released
WIPO has released the Scoping Study on Copyright and Related Rights and the Public Domain Commissioned under the WIPO Development Agenda, and authored by Prof. Séverine Dusollier, University of Namur, the study assesses the role, history, and justification of the public domain in copyright, identifies its main components and the obstacles that might interfere with the access and use of the copyright-related public domain.
The following recommendations were made for future WIPO action:
- the voluntary relinquishment of copyright in works and dedication to the public domain should be recognised as a legitimate exercise of authorship and copyright exclusivity and be recognised in countries other than the country of origin of the work.
- international endeavours should be devoted to developing technical or informational tools to identify the contents of the public domain, particularly as far as the duration of copyright is concerned.
- the role of cultural heritage institutions, and mainly libraries, in the labelling, cataloguing, preserving and making available of public domain works, and the role of the legal deposit should be recognised and supported, particularly in the digital environment.
- any extension of the scope or duration of copyright and related rights, both at international and national level, should take into account the empirical effects on the sustainability of the public domain.
- legal means should be found to prevent the recapture of exclusivity in works that have fallen into the public domain, whether through another intellectual property right (trademark or right in databases), property rights, other legal entitlements or technical protection, if such exclusivity is similar in scope or effect to that of copyright or is detrimental to non-rivalrous or concurrent uses of the public domain work.
- the 1996 WIPO Treaties should be amended to prohibit a technical impediment to reproduce, publicly communicate or making available a work that has fallen into the public domain.