Organizing the Public Domain: The Case of Creative Commons

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Talk given at the CREATe workshop "Research Perspectives on the Public Domain", University of Glasgow, October 11, 2013

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Organizing the Public Domain: The Case of Creative Commons

  1. 1. Organizing the Public Domain The Case of Creative Commons Leonhard Dobusch Freie Universität Berlin CREATe Research Perspectives on the Public Domain Glasgow, October 11, 2013
  2. 2. Starting Quotes I will argue that the growth of intellectual property in recent years has been uncontrolled to the point of recklessness. (p. 147) “ David Lange (1981): Recognizing the Public Domain, Law and Contemporary Problems, 147 The [copyright] law seemed suddenly to metastasize. (p. 153) The field of intellectual property can begin to resemble a game of conceptual Pac Man in which everything in sight is being gobbled up. (p. 156) ” Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin
  3. 3. Shifting Baseline Effects Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin Shifting environmental baselines are inter- generational changes in perception of the state of the environment. As one generation replaces another, people’s perceptions of what is natural change even to the extent that they no longer believe historical anecdotes of past abundance or size of species. “ ”Sáenz-Arroyo et al. (2005: 1957) Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin
  4. 4. Shifting Baseline Effect in IP Debate !  We cannot even envision how the much less restrictive IP regimes have worked !  The perception of what is a “natural” level of protection has changed >> Continuous re-organization of the public domain Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin
  5. 5. (Inter-) National Law Private Standards What is (in) the Public Domain? Core public domain works and inventions (e.g.: rights expired, ideas) Privileged uses (e.g. fair use) Compulsory licenses and liability rules (e.g. patents in case of a national state of emergency) Open content licensing (e.g. Creative Commons, BiOS) Content that is widely usable without restriction (e.g. Terms & Conditions) Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin See also: Dobusch (2012)
  6. 6. (Inter-) National Law Private Standards Processes of Organizing Public Domain Lobbying (e.g.: corporate lobbying) Protest mobilization (e.g. Anti-ACTA protests) Standard setting (e.g. licenses, technologies) Constructive mobilization (e.g. for the adoption of certain standards) Legislative process (e.g.: corporate lobbying) Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin See also: Dobusch/Quack (2012)
  7. 7. Private Standards Processes of Organizing Public Domain Standard setting (e.g. licenses, technologies) Constructive mobilization (e.g. for the adoption of certain standards) (Inter-) National Law Lobbying (e.g.: corporate lobbying) Protest mobilization (e.g. Anti-ACTA protests) Legislative process (e.g.: corporate lobbying) Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin See also: Dobusch/Quack (2012)
  8. 8. Standardizing (for a) Creative Commons Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin !  U.S. Non-Profit with network of 100+ affiliate organizations !  Provides a set of alternative copyright licenses Opportunities and challenges of a modular approach: !  License modularity broadens the scope of application !  License modularity leads to incompatibility and thus an ‘imperfect public domain’ !  Net-effect of modularity on license diffusion is unclear: attractiveness of choice vs. smaller pool(s) of works License modules:
  9. 9. Recursivity in the Creative Commons Case Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin Three dimensions of regulatory recursivity: (1) Standardizing over time (temporal recursivity): e.g. license versioning (2) Standardizing across jurisdictions (recursivity between global and local): e.g. license porting (3) Standardizing adoption practices (recursivity between standardization and implementation): e.g. guidelines
  10. 10. Example: Sui Generis Database Rights (1)  Originally – in versions 1.0 to 2.5 – database rights were simply not mentioned (2)  Version 3.0: all data base rights were waived “to give a clear signal against sui generis database rights and against their global proliferation. […] However, eventually this waiver has slowed down the acceptance of the licenses specifically at research institutions.” (Interview) (3)  Version 4.0: licenses now explicitly cover database rights in those jurisdictions that have some Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin
  11. 11. Conclusions The public domain is organized and continuously (re-)created !  Significant but not always recognized changes over time !  Recursivity in public law-making and private standard-setting Organizing a private public domain depends on resolving the choice-compatibility-dilemma Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin
  12. 12. Thank you. Research blog: www.governancexborders.com
  13. 13. References Botzem, S. and Dobusch, L. (2012): Standardization cycles: A process perspective on the formation and diffusion of transnational standards. In: Organization Studies, 33 (5-6), 735-760 Dobusch, L. (2012): The digital public domain: Relevance and regulation. Information & Communications Technology Law, 21(2): 179-202. Dobusch, L. (2013): Shifting Baseline in Assessing Copyright Regulation? IP as Conceptual Pac Man! In: Dobusch, L./Mader, P./Quack, S. (2013): Governance Across Borders: Transnational Fields and Transversal Themes. A Blogbook. Berlin: epubli, 120-121 Dobusch, L. and Quack, S. (2013): Framing standards, mobilizing users: Copyright versus fair use in transnational regulation. Review of International Political Economy, 20(1): 52-88. Lange, D. (1981): Recognizing the Public Domain, Law and Contemporary Problems, 147 Sáenz-Arroyo, A., Robert, C. M., Torre, J., Cariño-Olvera, M., and Enríquez- Andrade, R. R. (2005): Rapidly shifting environmental baselines among fishers of the Gulf of California. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 272, 1957-1962. Leonhard Dobusch & Elke Schüßler, Freie Universität Berlin

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