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Finding the Public Domain – The Copyright Review Management System

Issue Brief – Finding the Public Domain – The Copyright Review Management System, Melissa Levine, Lead Copyright Officer, University of Michigan, Ithaka S+R. October 26, 2016.
“The public domain is the ultimate open access. It is key to the bargain of copyright. Rather simplistically, in order to incentivize authors to produce works, the public, through Congress, grants authors copyrights in those works. While there is a range of opinion about the purpose and nature of copyright, they all have one common idea: copyright is limited by time. A copyright is a monopoly that lasts for a limited time and is limited by certain conditions. Those limitations on these otherwise exclusive rights include fair use and first sale along with a host of specific exceptions and restraints to copyright. Most readers will be familiar with the language of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution which empowers Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This duration limit is a Constitutional requirement. It means that copyrights evaporate entirely after a certain point in time…”

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