[Foundation-l] Europeana and public domain

Liam Wyatt liamwyatt at gmail.com
Tue Oct 25 11:21:48 UTC 2011

Wikimedia Chapters (especially the Dutch - where they are based, and the
Swedish - who have a joint project with them) are working with Europeana in
a variety of ways. One example is how Wikimedia groups have hosted
hackathons using their open datasets and API and (independently) won a prize
for a Commons batch upload proof of concept
http://version1.europeana.eu/web/api/hackathon-prototypes#feeds Amongst the
people involved in "GLAM" activities there are also other interesting
projects including, but not limited to, an attempt to build a "Usage
guideline for Public Domain
on Commons, based on the Europeana guidelines.
http://www.europeana.eu/portal/pd-usage-guide.html (which are related to,
but separate from the PD Charter you refer to).

That said, I don't believe Wikimedia Chapters or individual Wikimedians were
involved in the writing of the original charter itself. With regards to the
implied point of the fact that one of Europeana's conent providers does not
follow all the principles of respecting the Public Domain like both
Wikimedia and Europeana would like them to... that's hardly our (or their)
fault. There's only so many ways we can tell different cultural institutions
what our principles and policies are without annoying them so much that they
don't talk to us again. Also note that

In the wikiverse we have the luxury that if any (or even all) the museums or
archives don't want to talk to us, that won't make us disappear. It would be
very sad, but we do not NEED them to like us. Europeana is in a diferent
situation because the European Commission has given it the task to aggregate
lots of different cultural institutions' metadata and images (to make them
searchable, findable, interoperable...) which means that it NEEDS to get all
of those institutions to understand the value and importance of sharing,
structured metadata and the freedoms of the Public Domain. On the other
hand, Europeana NEEDS to make sure that those cultural institutions feel
happy in sharing their precious content otherwise there will be nothing in
its system and then it will fail in its task.

So... from my perspective, there are very few organisations out there (in
the cultural sector) that deeply understand the value of the Public Domain
and share our values in that regard. Europeana is one of them. Just because
one of the organisations that they are working with doesn't follow
everything that Europeana (or we) says is not a reason for them (or us) not
to work with them. Quite the contrary - it is a reason for both of us to
work all the more in promoting the value of sharable, reusable content and
"strong" Public Domain rights with those organisations, but to do this in a
constructive rather than destructive way. That's basically what we in the
GLAM-Wiki side of the community do every day! In fact, we've recently been
discussing whether it's possible to get a bunch of GLAMs to co-write and
sign a public letter/declaration supporting the principle that faithful
reproductions of 2D works does not create a new copyright. We've been
unsuccessfully trying to make this point to different cultural institutions
for years using legal arguments, perhaps we will be more successful using
the "peer pressure" technique! :-)

I hope this answers your question,

Peace, love & metadata

On 25 October 2011 10:30, emijrp <emijrp at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear all;
> Looks like we have a big ally in the digitisation of public domain content
> issue[1]:
> "The Europeana Foundation has published a policy statement, the Public
> Domain Charter, to highlight the value of public domain content in the
> knowledge economy. It alerts Europe's museums, libraries, archives and
> audiovisual collections to the fact that digitisation of Public Domain
> content does not create new rights in it."
> Are European Wikimedia chapters working on this with Europeana?
> Oh, surprise! Not an European museum but The Israel Museum (remember the
> Dead Sea Scroll digitisaton?[2]) is a project partner.[3]
> Regards,
> emijrp
> [1] http://www.version1.europeana.eu/web/europeana-project/publications
> [2]
> http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/foundation-l/2011-September/068980.html
> [3]
> http://www.version1.europeana.eu/web/europeana-project/project-partners
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