Brief, informative literature review by Leonhard Dobusch on public domain, its conceptualisation, political regulation, and societal relevance. One of Leonhard’s arguments is that we have no systematic model about the real-world phenomena that can be categorised as public domain:
Empirically, however, a systematic ‘map’ of the public domain is still missing. We do not know yet, what public domain phenomena have the strongest practical relevance for actors in different fields. (p. 21)
This paper tried to provide a survey of our current scholarly knowledge on these issues, which might function as a starting point for further, particularly empirical investigations of the public domain. (p. 23)
Starting to fill these gaps was presumably one of the motivations for this paper. There is decent empirical research going on in that field, but indeed, we lack a systematic survey. The characteristics of public domain can also be found in empirical phenomena other than public domain or commons. Peer production – kind of a sibling of the aforementioned – might serve as an example.
Noteworthy is the locus dissertatii of this paper, the “1st Berlin Symposium on Internet and Society” hosted by Google’s German science proxy, the Internet & Society Institute at the Humboldt University Berlin, which is to be unleashed the day before.