NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION Creative Commons (CC) has announced its release of the Public Domain Mark (PDM), a way of distinguishing works that are free of known copyright.
CC said the PDM will "increase the value of the public domain" by making those works that carry it easier to find over the Internet. It is being pitched to academics and artists to show that they are able to freely re-use the material without fear of triggering takedown notices or risking litigation.
Coupled to the release of the PDM was the announcement that Europe's digital library, Europeana, has adopted the PDM as the standard mark for works devoid of known copyright on its website. By the middle of 2011 it is hoped that millions of out-of-copyright works will be made accessible through the use of PDM. A formal announcement on Europeana's adoption of the PDM will be made later this week.
Michael Carroll, a founding board member of the CC said, "Marking and tagging works with information about their copyright status is essential. Computers must be able to parse the public domain status of works to communicate its usefulness to the public."
Jill Cousins, the executive director of Europeana conveyed a similar message, saying that works must be "properly labeled". Cousins also mentioned that Europeana worked with CC in order to ensure that a usage guide for public domain works allows users to use them responsibly, "by crediting the provider, among other things".
The release of the PDM is the first step, with CC saying that the next stage will be to identify and mark works that are in the public domain in a limited number of countries.
Thanks to the PDM, Internet users should be able to ascertain what restrictions, if any, are placed on a particular piece of work with far less confusion. µ
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