An empirical approach to the public domain

Erickson, K. , Kretschmer, M. and Mendis, D. (2019) An empirical approach to the public domain. In: Drexl, J. and Kamperman Sanders, A. (eds.) The Innovation Society and Intellectual Property. Series: European intellectual property institutes network series. Edward Elgar Publishing: Cheltenham, UK ; Northampton, MA, USA, pp. 87-116. ISBN 9781789902341 (doi:10.4337/9781789902358.00014)

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Abstract

In this chapter, a new concept of the public domain is developed, focusing on the commercial and noncommercial potential of derivative products. This is needed for an empirical assessment of the value of the public domain. The traditional legal definition of the public domain takes the copyright term as the starting point, and defines the public domain as ‘out of copyright’. We argue that the public domain matters to society and the economy only when it is used. This requires an assessment from a behavioural perspective, covering all uses that are possible without asking for permission. The resulting complexity (subject matter not qualifying for protection, use relating to underlying ideas, copyright exceptions, private ordering through permissive licensing) needs to be filtered by practices in the media and entertainment industries that are understood to enable unrestricted downstream exploitation. We demonstrate how this conceptual approach can be applied to empirical study in the legal setting of the UK.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kretschmer, Professor Martin and Erickson, Dr Kristofer
Authors: Erickson, K., Kretschmer, M., and Mendis, D.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN:9781789902341
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Editors and Contributors
First Published:First published in The Innovation Society and Intellectual Property: 87-116
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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