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Report on 3rd Communia workshop (Amsterdam, 20-21 October 2008)

The workshop - co-organized by the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam, Knowledgeland and Waag Society, under the perfect supervision of Lucie Guibault, Paul Keller and Peter Troxler - gathered about 70 participants from throughout Europe.

The event started with a fascinating discussion between two worldwide leading thinkers of the public domain: Professor James Boyle (Faculty Co-director of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School, USA) and Professor Bernt Hugenholtz (Director of the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam). Their conversation focused on the history of copyright and "droit d’auteur", defining differences and common points between the philosophies framing both concepts, toward more than one definition of the public domain.[24oct08]

After an open discussion with the audience, Mike Linksvayer and Diane Peters from Creative Commons presented Creative Commons Public Domain legal tools and technical infrastructure, Lucie Guibault chaired the lively (and female-only) session “CC0: relinquishing rights in Europe” - with presentations by Jennifer Jenkins and Mireille van Eechoud on the public domain and public sector information, followed by an update of the objectives of CC0 by Diane Peters and a discussion on CC0 draft. The subsequent panel confirmed the need for a workable solution if not a perfect tool. The audience raised questions on the use of plain language, the relationship between internationalisation and the level of complexity, as well as questions on specific clauses such as the limitation of liability.

The following sessions included several presentations on registries and other technical tools of the public domain, while the Tuesday morning session consisted of presentations by different projects building on public domain works and information - aiming at framing a mission statement for the network whose goal is to facilitate collaborative projects and connexions with other projects.

The workshop ended with Communia coordinator Juan Carlos De Martin announcing the creation of a new working group on Mapping the Public Domain, and subsequent meetings of three other working groups: on the Public Sphere, Education and Science (with discussions on open universities as a possible topic for the final conference), and on Memory institutions - thus launching the preparation for Public Domain Day on 1st January 2009.

Presentations slides, notes and recordings of the session will soon be available on the Communia website download page. Some photos of the event by Henrik Moltke and Mario Pena are also online.

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