Public domain donors wanted!

We know all about blood donors, those excellent people who give their plasma, plus a selection of interesting corpuscles and other matter, for the good of those in need of a fresh infusion of the red stuff.   There are also organ donors. In fact, many a fine fellow whom you meet at The Old Nick on an afternoon might well be composed of spare parts stitched together from kind donors, if you watch how they weave their way away from that fine hostelry after an evening's serious discussion of legal topics over a pint of Badger.  But only recently has the IPKat discovered the concept of the public domain donor.

The idea is enchantingly simple.  Explains Evan Roth:
"Why let all of your ideas die with you? Current copyright law prevents anyone from building upon your creativity for 70 years after your death. Live on in collaboration with others. Make an intellectual property donation. By donating your IP into the public domain you will "promote the progress of science and useful arts" (U.S. Constitution). Ensure that your creativity will live on after you are gone, make a donation today".
At least two members of the IPKat team plan to be at The Old Nick Thursday afternoon, 5 till 6pm, if you want to say hi.  All donations gratefully received.  And if the kind person who sent the Kat the link will email him and remind him of his/her identity, the donation of the link will be gratefully acknowledged too.
Public domain donors wanted! Public domain donors wanted! Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, December 01, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. Maybe it is just because I am a menace to society that I thought of this, but if carrying these cards became widespread, you might get publishing houses assassinating money-making authors signed to rival publishers in order to get access to their copyright works. Or you might find that a few more rockstars choke on vomit or die in bizarre gardening accidents. Not really a way to promote creativity.
    You have been warned!!!

  2. Or you might find that a few more rockstars choke on vomit or die in bizarre gardening accidents.

    Well, with the current situation, cynically inclined individuals could also suspect a connection between the untimely demises of popstars and the subsequent windfalls for their estates. A few famous names pop into my mind...

    In fact, if I was a star musician/writer/actor..., I believe that becoming a public domain donor would wonderfully focus the minds of my entourage into ensuring that I had a healthy, productive and, above all, long life...

  3. One thing that most people do not consider is who owns the copyright of their diaries and notes after their death.

    Imagine you left your diary to your daughter and left everything else to be sold with the money donated to charity.

    Five years later and your daughter wants to copy your diary onto her website. Who does she need to get permission from?

    She doesn't own the copyright - only the physical copy. She would, legally speaking, have to contact the executor of the will and find who bought the copyright when the executor sold it.

    When she discovers that the executor, in fact, failed to sell the IP ... who owns it legally?

    This is one of those cases where we are all told the sensible thing is to just totally ignore the law and do what is clearly sensible.

  4. There are lots of (PD) ideas/doners at the Halfbakery ( True some are, well, Half-baked, but some are stunning!


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