The Canadian Public Domain: What, Where, and to What End?
Canadian Journal of Law & Technology, Vol. 7, p. 221, 2010
21 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2010
Date Written: January 1, 2010
This essay explores the important body of scholarship that has emerged on the substance, nature, and role of the public domain in intellectual property law. I offer some concrete definitions of the public domain in the copyright context, identify some ongoing sources of debate in the literature, and highlight some particularly significant voices in public domain discourse. In doing so, my aim is twofold: first, I mean to present a reasonably comprehensive but concise review of the academic public domain movement, which has been directed towards substantiating and politicizing the concept of the public domain; second, I hope to re-situate this movement in the Canadian context in which the concept has remained relatively underdeveloped, but where it has a crucial and timely role to play in the evolution of copyright law and policy. Conceptualized as a vibrant, dynamic, and shifting space in which citizens freely engage in communicative and creative activities, the public domain takes on a positive dimension and a political force that can be harnessed to challenge the expansion of intellectual property and its paradigms of control and exclusivity.
Keywords: Intellectual Property, Copyright, Public Domain
JEL Classification: O34, O33, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation