Skip to main content

Research Perspectives on the Public Domain

Date: 11th October 2013
Time: 9:00 – 13:00
Venue: Library @ The Wellington Church, 77 Southpark Avenue, Glasgow G12 8LE (just opposite the main campus of the University of Glasgow).

A concept that bridges Intellectual property law, cultural studies, economics, literature and genre studies, the public domain encompasses the massive body of cultural ideas and artistic works that are outside of copyright and normally available for creative uptake by new users. Controversial issues in urgent need of research include the effect of copyright term extension on creative production, the availability and use of ‘orphan’ works, the legal status of adaptation and user-generated content and economic decision-making by authors and audiences around the uptake of public domain materials.

New technologies and the public domain are closely intertwined. Public domain content is implicated in the shift towards co-production and co-creation of value that involves the appropriation of intellectual property by fans. One limitation of commercially licensed IP is that the legal arrangements that enable the protection of commercial texts are often restrictive and prevent audiences from being able to involve themselves as co-creators of the resulting intertext. Public domain intertexts such as Dracula are by necessity open to reinterpretation and remix by fans, a status that – while fans may not be aware of the legal underpinnings – may contribute to their appeal and further commercial popularity.

This one-day event will provide a context in which to explore these questions and share research projects across disciplines in a productive and collegial exchange. From September 2013, the University of Glasgow’s CREATe centre will undertake an ESRC and IPO funded research project on ‘Valuing the public domain’. This year-long study will gather stakeholders from the creative industries, academia and government to explore the dynamics of exploiting cultural works that are outside of copyright. It is hoped that participants in this workshop will be able to benefit from involvement in that ongoing research agenda.

Discussion Themes:

  • Archived works in the public domain
  • Empirical methods (automated data retrieval, content analysis, natural experiments, narratology)
  • Transmedia storytelling
  • Intertextuality
  • New media business models
  • Crowdfunding
  • Genre
  • Adaptation
  • Research and the policy environment


0900 – 0930 Registration
0930 – 1130 Public lecture: SITUATING THE PUBLIC DOMAIN: CURRENT RESEARCH (6×15 minutes with 5 minutes for questions) Chair: Dr. Kris Erickson, LKAS Research Fellow, CREATeSpeakers: Professor Paul Heald, University of Illinois (Intellectual Property)
Dr. Iain Robert Smith, Roehampton University (Film Studies)
Professor Mira T. Sundara Rajan, CREATe
Professor Leonhard Dobusch, Freie Universität Berlin (Organisational Theory)
Professor Roberta Pearson, Nottingham University (Media Studies, Adaptation)
Professor Graham Greenleaf, University of New South Wales (Law and Information Systems)
1130 – 1200 Tea and Coffee Break
Chair: Professor Martin Kretschmer, CREATe Panelists from ESRC/IPO project (“Valuing the public domain”) in discussion with earlier speakers:
Dr. Kris Erickson, CREATe
Dr. Fabian Homberg, Bournemouth University
Dr. Dinusha Mendis, Bournemouth University
Dr. Nicola Searle, Intellectual Property Office
Indicative questions:

  • What are the opportunities for legal scholars to benefit from a cross-disciplinary perspective and vice-versa?
  • What are the current disciplinary blindspots in humanities research with regards to the impact of IP regulation?
  • What socially important questions can we contribute to answering by taking an interdisciplinary approach?
1300 – 1400 Lunch


Please note that invited speakers will continue to a closed roundtable session on research methodologies after lunch, following the close of the public events.

This conference is part of the ‘October 2013 suite of CREATe events’. Click here for details.


-Registered Attendees-[eventbrite-attendees feed=”″ /]