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Valuing the Public Domain – A Workshop for UK Creative Firms

Posted on    by CREATe Team

Valuing the Public Domain – A Workshop for UK Creative Firms

By 25 September 2014No Comments

France in the Year 2000 (XXI century) – a series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued between 1899 and 1910. Originally paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the year 2000. The first series was produced for the 1900 World Exhibition in Paris. See more at the Public Domain Review.

This event took place on Friday 5th December, 2014 at the Connected Digital Economy Catapult (CDEC) office in London.  Below, we have embedded video recordings of the key presentations, which expand upon research conducted by members of CREATe as part of the project ‘Valuing the Public Domain’, co-funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO).  A detailed written report is being published in 2015 by the IPO and may be downloaded in digital format here:

pdf-icon Copyright and the Value of the Public Domain – Direct Link (4.8 MB)

‘Valuing the Public Domain’ was a 12-month research and knowledge exchange project carried out by Dr. Kris Erickson, Prof. Paul Heald, Dr. Fabian Homberg, Prof. Martin Kretschmer and Dr. Dinusha Mendis.  The purpose of the project was 1) to map the size of the public domain and frequency of its use; 2) analyse the role of public domain works in value creation for UK business and society; and 3) assist UK media companies to identify business models that generate value from materials in the public domain.

The research study includes analysis of over 2500 media projects on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform, usage statistics of photographs in over 1700 biographical pages on the Wikipedia platform, and interviews with UK media businesses and independent creators.

For practitioners, the research addresses the following questions: what does the availability and use of the rich tradition of public domain materials in this country mean for UK creative industries? How can SMEs and other businesses leverage the public domain effectively to generate value? What are the emerging market trends and practices that will hinder or enable access to public domain materials in the future?

Video 1: Defining the Contours of the Public Domain – Dr. Dinusha Mendis

Video 2: Uptake and Exploitation of Public Domain Materials by
UK Creative Firms – Dr. Kris Erickson

Video 3: Performance of Copyright and Public Domain Materials on
Kickstarter – Dr. Fabian Homberg

Video 4: Responses from policy, industry and creators panel

9:00-9:30am Registration and coffee
9:30am Workshop OpenWelcome and introduction of the research team:

  • Prof. Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow
  • Dr. Kris Erickson, University of Glasgow
  • Dr. Fabian Homberg, Bournemouth University
  • Dr. Dinusha Mendis, Bournemouth University

Morning discussion on results of public domain study. New empirical evidence illustrating update, use and monetisation rate in digital media markets by different types of creators and entrepreneurs:

9:30-9:45am Defining the contours of the public domainDr. Dinusha Mendis, Bournemouth University
Explanation of how we define the public domain for the purposes of this study and a review of relevant legal cases.


9:45-10:10am Scoping the public domain and its use by UK creative firmsDr. Kris Erickson, University of Glasgow
Results of study conducted with creative UK firms about uptake of public domain material and its role at different stages in the media value chain.
10:10-10:30am Performance of copyright and public domain materials on KickstarterDr. Fabian Homberg, Bournemouth University
A large-scale quantitative study of the performance of Kickstarter pitches, based on underlying IP used by creator.
10:30-11:00am Technical demonstrationsCreators walk the audience through innovative projects which make use of public domain materials in a commercial context: A 3D world based on the novels of Jane Austen, a large-scale crowd-sourced repository of public domain digital images, and a playable documentary based on the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

  • Annabel Smyth, Community Manager, 3 Turn Productions
  • Ben O’Steen, British Library, Mechanical Curator Project
  • Tomas Rawlings, Production Director, Auroch Digital
11:00-11:15am Coffee Break
11:15am-12:00pm Responses from policy, industry and SME panel Invited responses / case examples of PD uptake and commercialisation.
Panel speakers:

  • Dr. Nicola Searle, Economics, Research & Evidence, Intellectual Property Office UK
  • Ben White, Head of Intellectual Property, British Library
  • Jonathan Cardy, GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) Organiser, Wikimedia UK
12:00-1:00pm Interactive workshop exercise: explore and develop business ideas leveraging examples of public domain materials across mediums. Networking opportunity for institutions, SMEs and creators present at the event.
1:00pm Lunch



Dr. Kris Erickson