I’m part of a team, led by Rightscom, which has won a bid to do a major analysis of the scope and nature of the public domain in Europe for the European Commission. As it says in the announcement:
We will assemble quantitative and qualitative data and produce a methodology for measuring the public domain which can be used and refined for future studies both within Europe and further a field. The objectives of the report are four fold:
- To estimate the number of works in the public domain in the EU and calculate approximately the levels and ways of use and main users of published works
- To estimate the current economic value of public domain works and estimate the value of works that in the next 10-20 years are to be released into the public domain and determine any change in its value whilst under copyright and once it is on the public domain
For my part, I’m going to be particularly focused on the size and value questions. This will involve getting large datasets about cultural material and trying to answer questions like: How many of these items are in the public domain? What’s the difference in price and availability of public domain versus non public domain items?