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Open Content Licensing

Open Content Licensing: From Theory to Practice

Lucie Guibault
Christina Angelopoulos
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 296
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  • Book Info
    Open Content Licensing
    Book Description:

    Although open content licences only account for a fraction of all copyright licences currently in force in the copyright world, the mentality change initated by the open content movement is here to stay. To promote the use of open content licences, it is important to better understand the theoretical underpinnings of these licences, as well as to gain insight on the practical advantages and inconveniences of their use. This book assembles chapters written by renowned European scholars on a number of selected issues relating to open content licensing. It offers a comprehensive and objective study of the principles of open content from a European intellectual property law perspective and of their possible implementation in the areas of scientific publishing, of the re-use of government information, of the dissemination of works held by cultural heritage institutions and of the exercise of rights on music phonograms. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-1408-3
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-4)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 5-6)
  3. 1. Open Content Licensing: From Theory to Practice – An Introduction
    (pp. 7-20)
    Lucie Guibault

    The internet has drastically changed the legal, economic and social realities of accessing and using knowledge and culture. For the first time in history, the internet provides a single infrastructure allowing the citizens of the world universal access to potentially unlimited sources of knowledge and expressions of culture. In addition, digital technology is modifying the production and distribution patterns of copyrighted works, as well as consumer habits. Users are adopting a more active role towards copyrighted material: not only can they easily reproduce works in countless perfect copies and communicate them to thousands of other users, but they can also...

  4. 2. Towards a New Social Contract: Free-Licensing into the Knowledge Commons
    (pp. 21-50)
    Volker Grassmuck

    The knowledge commons rests on the fundamental paradox of information goods: They are privately created with the intent of being published but, once published, they become part of general knowledge and open for all to reproduce and modify. Society created the social contract of copyright, granting a temporary privilege to authors in return for the publication of their works, because of its vital interest in these creations and an assumption that less will be produced if investments cannot be recouped. Thus, a paradox arises, as a result of the two mutually conflicting natures of information goods: Aseconomicobjects they...

  5. 3. Is Open Content a Victim of its Own Success? Some Economic Thoughts on the Standardization of Licenses
    (pp. 51-74)
    Gerald Spindler and Philipp Zimbehl

    The renaissance of the commons is a widespread phenomenon across all sorts of creative fields, be it music, software, books, or films. Since open source licenses became a tool for software engineers to develop new methods of collaborative production of new code and to attack monopolies of software enterprises, the general idea of sharing and producing new content on this basis has also been adopted in other areas. One of these famous follow-ups of open source licenses is the Creative Commons movement, which offers different kind of licenses for the world of music, films or books and articles, all aiming...

  6. 4. (Re)introducing Formalities in Copyright as a Strategy for the Public Domain
    (pp. 75-106)
    Séverine Dusollier

    Formalities are an oddity in copyright law, at least for the countries adhering to the Berne Convention. Recently, however, many voices have been heard in favour of the reintroduction of formalities in copyright law, in order to counteract the rapid expansion of copyright protection and the ensuing diminishing of the public domain.

    The idea of reintroducing some formal requirements in the copyright regime, so as to render access to copyright protection less automatic, has mostly appeared on the agenda of the open content proponents. As described by Lessig, the Copyleft initiatives aim, with a straightforward ‘Us Now – Them After’,...

  7. 5. User-Related Assets and Drawbacks of Open Content Licensing
    (pp. 107-136)
    Till Kreutzer

    Discussions about open content from the user’s perspective focus mostly on the gratuitous use of material protected by copyright. It is a marvellous system for consumers whose demands are best served thus: they will not be charged for a product that usually can only be acquired for money.

    Clearly, such a statement is oversimplified – at best diffuse, maybe even plain wrong. There is much more to open content and open access – even from the users’ point of view – than sparing the consumer costs. Examining the approach of open licensing systems more closely reveals that saving costs does...

  8. 6. Owning the Right to Open Up Access to Scientific Publications
    (pp. 137-168)
    Lucie Guibault

    Innovative scientific research plays a crucial role in addressing global challenges, such as healthcare and environmental and security issues, while research in social sciences and the humanities occupies a key function in understanding emerging social phenomena. The speed and depth of scientific research, understood in its broadest sense, depends on fostering collaborative exchanges between different communities and assuring its widest dissemination. This, in turn, is fundamental for the constant evolution of science and human progress. Access to research output not only increases the returns from public investment in this area, but also reinforces open scientific inquiry. It encourages diversity of...

  9. 7. Friends or Foes? Creative Commons, Freedom of Information Law and the European Union Framework for Reuse of Public Sector Information
    (pp. 169-202)
    Mireille van Eechoud

    Public authorities keep vast amounts of information, the access to which, as the spread of freedom of information laws shows, is rapidly being recognized across the globe as a public right² Freedom of Information Acts (FOIA) give statutory rights to access information held by public authorities, typically of the administrative or executive branch of government. Traditionally, however, these laws do not give rights to actually use the information, which in many instances is protected by copyright.

    In Europe, Sweden has long been regarded as the champion of transparency, having enacted a right to access information some 200 years prior to...

  10. 8. Contributing to Conversational Copyright: Creative Commons Licences and Cultural Heritage Institutions
    (pp. 203-242)
    Esther Hoorn

    The curatorship of cultural works and ensuring their availability has historically been a core task of cultural heritage institutions. Facilitating user involvement is essential to this task.³ From a user’s perspective, if participation in cultural activities on the internet is to be promoted, it is of great importance to secure both access to works and the right to reuse them. In online communities, users become authors in their own right. Yet the consequences of this development have, for a large part, not yet been translated into policy on the access and reuse of digital cultural heritage.⁴ The Dutch Council for...

  11. 9. Creative Commons and Related Rights in Sound Recordings: Are the Two Systems Compatible?
    (pp. 243-295)
    Christina Angelopoulos

    Modern technologies have made the dissemination of creative works over the internet child’s play, while technological advancements have changed the face of even traditional methods of circulation. A multitude of innovative media, formats and infrastructure provide users with new ways of accessing cultural products, something which is especially evident in the field of musical works. Today, music surrounds us and accompanies us into bars and restaurants as we unwind with friends, on the car radio as we head off to work or emanating from our computer’s loudspeakers, either unexpectedly when we click into a website or according to our express...