Public Domain Day: A Celebration of Our Shared Culture and Heritage

Image of American University Washington College of Law

January 30, 2020 | 5:30-9:00pm
American University Washington College of Law, Grossman Hall
4300 Nebraska Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20016

REGISTER   Webcast

A live webcast will be available on this page at 6:30PM ET, January 30.

Co Sponsored by the Internet Archive, SPARC, the Institute for Intellectual Property & Social Justice, Creative Commons, Creative Commons USA,  and the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property


  • 5:15 - Registration Open
  • 5:30 - Facets of the Public Domain - Public Interest Organization Showcase and Reception (featuring the Bob Schwartz Quartet)
  • 6:30 - Realizing Access to the Public Domain 
  • 6:55 - Remixing the Public Domain
  • 7:20 - Too Important to be Protected: Limits on Copyright for a Healthy Society - Presentation by former MEP Julia Reda, followed by Lighting Talks
  • 8:30 Reception: featuring the Bob Schwartz Quartet



Facets of the Public Domain - Public Interest Organization Showcase

The following organizations will be participating at the Public Domain Day Showcase opening.  Refreshments will be provided, and the Bob Schwartz Quartet will play.

Welcome to Public Domain Day and the Role of the Internet Archive in Realizing Public Access to the Public Domain 

  • Meredith Jacob, Public Lead Creative Commons USA, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law
  • David Berger, Composer, Conductor, Author
  • Brewster Kahle, Founder & Digital Librarian, Internet Archive

The Remix - Inspired Creativity

A discussion on how the freedom to build upon creative works can inspire and move culture

  • Shay Bullock, Fellow, Institute for Intellectual Property and Social Justice, Howard University School of Law  
  • Naturel (Twitter: @therealnaturel Instagram: @naturel
    Remixed: Wassily Kandinsky - Contrasting Sounds
  • Tenbeete Solomon (Twitter: @trapbob Instagram: @trapxbob)
    Remixed: Diego Rivera - Dia de los Muertos
  • Rikasso (Twitter: @Big_Rikassi Instagram: @rikasso)
    Remixed: Man Ray - Le Violon d'Ingres


Too Important to Be Protected: Limits on Copyright Necessary for a Healthy Society

Julia Reda
Julia Reda

Copyright, Open Policies, and Access to KnowledgePresentation by Julia Reda, Berkman Klein Fellow, Member of the European Parliament 2014-2019.Introduction by Peter Jaszi, Professor of Law Emeritus, American University Washington College of Law

Access to the Law - Georgia vs. Public Resource Org

Algorithms, Bias and Justice

Interoperability, Technological Innovation, Consumer Choice, and Corporate Consolidation,  Google v. Oracle 

Creative Styles and Vocabularies as Shared Cultural Resources

  • Michael Carroll, Professor of Law, Director, Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property, American University Washington College of Law


Copyright and the Public Domain

For categories of information that are central to a thriving public life, copyright protection is  inherently inappropriate as a default legal status. Access to such information undergirds both discourse and practice in areas such as:

  • Provision of justice and legal representation; 

  • Due process and equal protection of law;

  • Technological interoperability, consumer choice, and risks of corporate concentration;

  • Innovation, scientific research, and informed consent;

  • Cultural education and creativity.

We will explore categories of ideas and information serves such a vital social purpose that legal restraints on public access are counterproductive.   Instead, these are the essential building blocks that should form part of a broadly conceived public domain, connected, but not limited to, works whose term has expired and those placed in the public domain by statute.

“[C]opyright assures authors the right to their original  [*350] expression, but encourages others to build freely upon the ideas and information conveyed by a work…  This result is neither unfair nor unfortunate. It is the means by which copyright advances the progress of science and art. ”

Feist Publ'ns, Inc. v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co., 499 U.S. 340, 349-350 (1991)