from the locking-up-the-public-domain dept
Walled Culture is a huge fan of the public domain The incredible creative usages that individuals have the ability to make from product just when it goes into the general public domain are a sign that copyright can serve as a challenge to broader imagination, instead of something that instantly promotes it. However there’s an issue: due to the fact that the general public domain has to do with making creative productions readily available to everybody for no charge and without limitations, there are no well-funded lobbyists who stand and protect it. Rather, all we hear is whimpering from the copyright world that the general public domain exists, and requires it to be lessened and even eliminated by extending copyright anywhere possible.
Often those attacks can originate from unexpected quarters. For instance, in October in 2015 Walled Culture blogged about Italy’s Uffizi Galleries taking legal action against the French style home Jean Paul Gaultier for the apparently unapproved usage of pictures of Botticelli’s Renaissance work of art The Birth of Venus on its clothes items.
Regretfully, this is not a one-off case. The Communia blog site has another example of something that is unquestionably in the general public domain and yet can not be utilized for any function, in this case a business one. The general public domain art is the popular Vitruvian Male drawn by Leonardo da Vinci over 500 years back.
The industrial usage is as the image on a Ravensburger puzzle. As the Communia article describes:
According to the Italian Cultural Heritage Code and pertinent case law, faithful digital recreations of works of cultural heritage– consisting of operate in the general public Domain– can just be utilized for industrial functions versus permission and payment of a charge. Significantly however, the choice to need permission and claim payment is delegated the discretion of each cultural organization (see short articles 107 and 108). In practice, this indicates that cultural organizations have the choice to enable users to recreate and recycle devoted digital recreations of Public Domain works for complimentary, consisting of for industrial usages. This versatility is essential for organizations to support open access to cultural heritage.
This travesties the concept of the general public domain, which to be significant needs to use in all cases, not simply in ones where the pertinent Italian cultural organization enthusiastically chooses to enable it. The reality that this law was passed remains in part to the success of the copyright market in belittling the general public domain as an aberration of no genuine worth– something that can be rejected with no ill impacts. Nevertheless:
These cases are bound to leave wreckage in their wake: excellent unpredictability around making use of cultural heritage throughout the whole single market, obstructed imagination, suppressed European entrepreneurship, minimized financial chances, and a decreased, impoverished Public Domain. To resolve these problems, we hope the European Court of Justice will quickly have the chance to clarify that the general public Domain should not be limited, a fortiori by guidelines beyond copyright and associated rights, which jeopardize the European lawmaker’s clear intent to support the general public Domain.
Let’s hope the Court of Justice of the European Union does the ideal thing, and safeguards the amazing riches of the general public domain versus every depredation– consisting of those by Italian cultural organizations.
Follow me @glynmoody on Mastodon or Twitter, initially published to the Walled Culture blog site.
Submitted Under: copyright, cultural artifacts, cultural heritage code, culture, italy, leonardo da vinci, public domain, vitruvian guy