Journal of Intellectual Property Law


In a world where truth is behind paywalls and lies are free, the importance of a realm of works that are free from copyright protection becomes even more important for access to knowledge and information. This Article considers a thriving and accessible public domain a key mechanism for engendering access to knowledge and propelling human development globally. The copyright public domain as a realm of freely accessible and usable works and elements of works is under immense threat due to the constant extension of the term of copyright protection, disparities in the scope of the public domain globally, the absence of legal mechanisms for public domain dedications in many jurisdictions, and the privatization of public domain resources. In light of an increasingly digital and borderless world, this Article calls for recognizing, protecting, and enriching the global public domain through international copyright rules. It examines how a positive regime that promotes the sustenance of and access to the public domain can be realized globally. The central point made in this Article is that a positive international framework, that supports the availability of public domain elements and prevents a regaining of monopoly over public domain resources, is essential for access to knowledge globally.