Saturday, October 3, 2009

Let's talk about public domain and digital environment

UB's Aula Magna, where the Communia workshop was held
The 6th Communia workshop: memory institutions and the public domain held here in Barcelona finished yesterday. It helped me to clear up some ideas regarding copyright law and public domain. Also to be aware that unless libraries take the risk to give acces to orphans works (so the rightholders may show up), it may be a waste of time and effort to preserve them. I was thinking maybe we should make up an specific licence, let's say the "orphan works licence" (something alike CC). I got the oportunity to rediscover some old acquaintances (Lockss: lots of copies keep the stuff safe, Clockss, Caspar, Europeana) and make some new ones (Parse, EFG, Open Images, Images for the Future, Policybandwidth). I really learned a lot!
Some ideas that stayed in my mind are: instead of renting access to digital documents, libraries should acquire them = ownership of the digital document. Copyright law needs a major harmonized change worldwide, otherwise libraries won't be able to give access to what libraries digitize. Furthermore, The Archive of the Crown of Aragon pointed out that it's useless to give access to non specialized public to documents that need to be transcripted and translated!! Folios written in gothic paleography are not understandable by many users. Also, an interesting example of how can we "explore new business models" = we should use economics arguments! They are uploading files in Youtube to get traffic!
Museums, libraries and archives should share not only the code, but also the content, so we may be able to avoid the duplication of digitization efforts.

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