The Public Domain, as we understand it, is the wealth of information that is free from the barriers to access or reuse usually associated with copyright protection, either because it is free from any copyright protection or because the right holders have decided to remove these barriers. It is the raw material from which new knowledge is derived and new cultural works are created.
The Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception.
The Public Domain Manifesto aims at reminding citizens and policy-makers of a common wealth that, since it belongs to all, it is often defended by no-one. In a time where we for the first time in history have the tools to enable direct access to most of our shared culture and knowledge it is important that policy makers and citizens strengthen the legal concept that enables free and unrestricted access and reuse.
Taken together, the public domain, the voluntary sharing of works and exceptions and limitations to copyright, fair use and fair dealing go a long way to ensure that everyone has access to our shared culture and knowledge in order to facilitate innovation and cultural participation for the benefit of the entire society. It is therefore important that the Public Domain is actively maintained so that it can continue to fulfill this key role in this period of rapid technological and social change.