Can you move copyrighted material into the public domain?
There is a non-profit organization in Washington and other areas whose goal it is to buy undeveloped land and make it public land to preserve it’s integrity.
This is called the Trust for Public Land and more information can be found at http://www.tpl.org/
It gave me an idea.
Why not something similar for intellectual property.
How much media, music, movies, software code, books, and various forms of information are just sitting there collecting metaphorical dust fenced off by existing copyright protection which could be opened up to the public creating opportunities for study, derivative works and enjoyment?
The first task is to find out what’s already out there. There are numerous places on the internet to find copyright free work.
One of my favorites is the Internet Archive http://archive.org/details/movies
This site is a treasure trove of movies, radio shows, music and so on which are in the public domain. If you wanted, for example to take the 1936 movie “Dancing Pirate.” ( http://archive.org/details/cco_DancingPirate )
and make your own iPhone app dancing game using images and sounds from the film, you could do so without worrying about violating the intellectual property rights of the film makers.
You could even use dubstep music from (for example) “Danny Dj AKA Dannytrance” for the songs, creating an original work of your own by putting together these far-removed sources.
Another source for movies in the public domain is Open Flix. http://www.openflix.com/genre/sci-fi~&~fantasy.html
There are also many sources of books that are in the public domain from which new creators can find inspiration, knowledge and the opportunity to create new works based on new ways of looking at this information. Project Gutenberg is just one example: http://www.gutenberg.org/
So far what I have found are efforts to catalogue and make available public domain works –which is in itself a very worthy endeavor, but I think it should be taken a step farther and someone should start a project that takes an active role in adding more to the list of material available in the public domain.
I’ll keep looking into this, let me know if there is anything you can think of.
These all deal with things that are IN the public domain already. The question I have is the next task:
How do you take something that’s copyrighted and move it to the public domain?
Here is some useful information about existing copyright laws:
And here is some more (mainly pertaining to music)
Here’s a place to search for whether something has an existing copyright http://www.copyright.gov/forms/search_estimate.html
…but it will cost you.
Creative Commons. org has a legal mechanism for placing work you own in what they call the CC0 domain. Basically it’s an easy way to open your work to the public for use, releasing all your rights to it and giving it to the public. It’s like public domain, but a little different. So far it seems perfect for what I think any “make it public” type of project should be trying to do.