Journal Article

Creation and enforcement of rights in digitized versions of public domain artworks

Rebecca Halford-Harrison

in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

Volume 6, issue 8, pages 542-546
Published in print August 2011 | ISSN: 1747-1532
Published online June 2011 | e-ISSN: 1747-1540 | DOI:
Creation and enforcement of rights in digitized versions of public domain artworks

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Legal context

On 30 April 2010, WIPO released a study on copyright in the public domain, authored by Séverine Dusollier, a Professor of Law at the University of Namur in Belgium. This very comprehensive report sought to examine the balance between exclusive intellectual property protection and public domain works. It also sought to establish the best means of shaping legislation to allow the public domain to flourish.

Key points

There is a balance between something being public domain in the sense that physically, it is accessible to the public, and the effort and investment in making something available in very convenient digital form, especially true in relation to artworks.

Practical significance

Any proposal for a new legislative framework for copyright and the public domain, or alteration to the status quo, is of key importance to those businesses providing or using significant quantities of digitised image data. It is useful to consider whether, in times where governments are under significant pressure to reduce investment in the arts; and philanthropic generosity is spread more thinly, commerce provides the means by which the public can have broadened access to otherwise public domain works, but with a price to pay.

Journal Article.  3693 words. 

Subjects: Arbitration ; Intellectual Property Law

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