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'Dedicating' copyright to the public domain

Johnson, Phillip 2008. 'Dedicating' copyright to the public domain. Modern Law Review 71 (4) , pp. 587-610. 10.1111/j.1468-2230.2008.00707.x

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This article explores whether authors can dedicate their copyright to the public domain. Such dedications are becoming increasingly relevant as authors now see the expansion of the public domain as value in itself. This is facilitated by organisations providing pro forma documents for dedicating works to the public domain. However, there has been no real consideration of what, if any, legal effect a dedication to the public might have. This article suggests that such dedications are no more than copyright licences which, in English and US law at least, can be revoked at will. This means that users of such works must rely on estoppel alone to enforce any dedication to the public domain.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Law
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
K Law > KD England and Wales
K Law > KD England and Wales > KDC Scotland
K Law > KF United States Federal Law
Uncontrolled Keywords: Copyright;abandonment;dedication to the public;Berne Convention;Term Directive;Copyright;Designs and Patents Act 1988;US Copyright Act 1976
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 0026-7961
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:45

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