Intellectual property and the creative sector 3/3. The public domain
23 / 07 / 2018
In this post, we will talk about those works that can be used without having to seek the author’s permission, that is, those in the public domain. If a work is in the public domain, it means that this work can be freely used, disseminated and even modified (in the case of some creative commons licenses). If it is not in the public domain, then it is compulsory to request permission and, in some cases, pay to obtain a copyright license.
David Slater, a wildlife photographer, did a report on the macaques in the jungle. In a moment of carelessness, he left the camera on the ground and the monkeys picked it up and started taking selfies and photographing each other. Wikipedia incorporated this hilarious series of images into its archive. The naturalist photographer sued because he considered the photographs to be his, because he had facilitated their creation, and therefore had to exercise copyright over them. But he lost the case, and the photos are still in the public domain.
In the case of the other institutions or archives I mentioned earlier, not all the images they show are in the public domain, so always check the credits or copyright notices next to the image in question. In any case, they are very useful tools that help us in our creative work.