This week Creative Commons launched a new tool designed to improve public discovery of and access to content in the public domain. The new Public Domain Mark allows users to publicly identify and mark works they determine to be free of copyright restrictions.
Imagine it. Someday it could be far more easy to determine whether an image, video, book, story, painting, or other media is in the public domain because it comes with a clear, little identifying button!
This new PDM designation should offer our students additional guidance in finding, using, and remixing works which are free of copyright.
It complements the existing CC0, (or no rights reserved) classification that allows creators to waive rights to their own work.
Creative Commons explains the differences:
CC0 is intended for use only by authors or holders of copyright and related or neighboring rights (including sui generis database rights), in connection with works that are still subject to those rights in one or more jurisdictions. PDM, on the other hand, can be used by anyone, and is intended for use with works that are already free of known copyright restrictions throughout the world. The tools also differ in terms of their effect when applied to a work. CC0 is legally operative in the sense that when it is applied, it changes the copyright status of the work, effectively relinquishing all copyright and related or neighboring rights worldwide. PDM is not legally operative in any respect – it is intended to function as a label, marking a work that is already free of known copyright restrictions.
Creative Commons offers a form for users interested in creating a PDM to identify a work as being in the public domain.
The PDM’s first major user is Europeana, Europe’s growing public digital library, museum, and archive. Europeana is planning to attach the mark to the potential millions of out-of-copyright works in its collection.