Two weeks ago the First Berlin Symposium on Internet and Society took place in Berlin, celebrating the opening of the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. Specifically for this event I had prepared a paper on “The Digital Public Domain: Relevance and Regulation” (SSRN), which was presented and then commented upon by Juan Carlos de Martin and Felix Stalder. Both provided very thoughtful criticsm and extensions to the paper, introducing an overall discussion that was very constructive and focused on the issues tackled in the paper.

While I have not managed to blog about the workshop so far, Anne-Catherine Lorrain from the COMMUNIA Association has now provided an extensive summary. There  she documents why mapping the public domain empirically is a worthwhile exercise:

The empirical mapping of the public domain should help identifying more precisely the economic relevance of the public domain. The regulation framework applying to the public domain can produce some direct effects on the economy, and more particularly on innovation. As a matter of fact, businesses can suffer genuine legal uncertainty when it comes to identify what is protected by IP rights and what is not. The positive economic impact of content being in the public domain is sometimes already acknowledged in practice. For instance, some patent rights holders can decide to donate patentable inventions in order to create a pre-competitive market. Like the “adjustment process” (Schumpeter), the utility of the public domain to improve competition should be demonstrated, although the question about how this aspect should be echoed within legislation remains.

Besides, her summary features the pink sky over Berlin towards the end of the workshop:

Pink sunset on the Spree behind the Public Domain session speakers from left to right Martin Kretschmer, Leonhard Dobusch, Felix Stadler, Juan Carlos De Martin; picture: Anne-Catherine Lorrain

 I can only thank Anne-Catherine very much for providing this great summary and endorse reading the whole transcript.