2023 Public domain day celebrations

2023 Public Domain Day Celebration – Navigating Copyright: The Librarian’s Guide to the Public Domain

The public domain consists of all the creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws such as copyright, trademark, or patent laws. The public owns these works, not an individual author or artist. Anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission, but no one can ever own it. to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable. Public Domain Day is an observance of when copyrights expire and works enter into the public domain.

This legal transition of copyright works into the public domain usually happens every year on 1st January based on the individual copyright laws of each country. The observance of a Public Domain Day was initially informal; the earliest known mention was in 2004 by Wallace McLean (a Canadian public domain activist), with support for the idea echoed by Lawrence Lessig. There are activities in countries around the world by various organizations all under the banner of Public Domain Day.

In 2022, Free Knowledge Africa celebrated the first public domain day in Nigeria online by hosting a webinar on raising awareness about the Public Domain in Nigeria and how to identify works that are entering the public domain. The webinar had speakers from various parts of the world who are subject matter experts in the field of public domain, copyright, cultural heritage, and law.
This year we had our first physical public domain celebration event in partnership with the Nigerian Library Association, Kwara State chapter on the 29th of March 2023 at the National Library, Offa road, Ilorin Kwara State, Nigeria. It was an impactful event with over 40 people in attendance.

We had two facilitators – Olubusola Afolabi a Librarian and the GLAM Associate at Free Knowledge Africa, alongside Alaafiabami Oladipupo the director of Education and Research at Free Knowledge Africa.

The facilitators taught two main points
Navigating Copyright: The librarians guide to the public domain.
This session was taken by Olubusola Afolabi the GLAM Associate at Free Knowledge Africa, she taught on:
Ways of identifying the works in the public domain.
Works protected by copyrights.
Works not protected by copyright.
How librarians can make use of the works in the public domain.
Digitalization of public domain works.

Some rights reserved: Striking the balance Copyright vs Copyleft.
This session was taken by Alaafiabami Oladipupo the Director of Education and Research at Free Knowledge Africa, the teaching highlighted the following:
Creative commons license.
Creative commons license types.
Creative commons license spectrum.
Creative commons license benefits.

The participants were eager to learn, asking questions from their expertise and getting answers from our seasoned speakers. The event helped the established librarians as well as the young librarians bond and share knowledge amongst themselves.

The librarians also shared their experience with copyrights and public domain works as well as their concerns about it. Problems of plagiarism, funding, copyright compliance in Nigeria, the role of libraries in the public domain, and identification of public domain works were highlighted by them.

At Free Knowledge Africa we have a goal to build a database of digitized public domain works in Nigeria to help people accurately identify these works. Building a database of digitized public domain works would help to preserve the country’s rich cultural heritage and make it accessible to more people. Nigeria has a rich history of literature, music, and art, and digitizing these works could help to ensure that they are not lost or forgotten over time.

The database would also be used to educate people about Nigerian culture and history and could be a valuable resource for schools, universities, and libraries. It could help to promote Nigerian art and culture both within the country and internationally.

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