What Is Open Glam?
Open GLAM is an initiative born out of the “free culture” movement. It is a social movement that promotes the freedom to distribute and modify creative works through free content. Open GLAM was created by the Open Knowledge Foundation in response to the need for clearer rights statements and licenses for cultural heritage material found within Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museum collections. A self-described “network of open culture evangelists” (OpenGLAM 2015) Open GLAM provides support through workshops, guidance and documentation to cultural institutions to open up their content and data.
What Are Creative Commons Licences?
In 2002 intellectual property lawyers, Lawrence Lessig, James Boyle and Hal Aberson launched the Creative Commons licensing framework in response to the heavy red tape that users of creative material were encountering in the US due to recent changes to the copyright law. At its release in 2002, Creative Commons was seen as being at the forefront of the “free culture” movement. Lessig argues that this movement transformed the overarching analogue culture to a digital one and in doing so changed the architecture of how we access creative works (Lessig 2001). Macguire states that Creative Commons was not created to advocate for the removal or radical alteration of existing copyright law, but simply a tool for authors to enable them to retain some rights over their creative works, so that a more open and flexible system of use and reuse was possible (Macguire 2015). Since the release of the six CC licences over 50 countries have adopted the Creative Commons framework, including New Zealand, and over 880 million works are licensed with a CC licence (Creative Commons State of the Commons Report 2014).
What Are Public Domain Works?
Essentially, public domain works are primarily works whose intellectual property rights have expired and are free for reuse. Creative Commons founder James Boyle has written extensively on the public domain challenges and offers one definition of the public domain as consisting only of;
…complete works that are completely free: free for appropriation, transfer, redistribution, copying, performance and even rebundling into a new creation, itself covered by intellectual property. (Boyle 2003, 68)
Perhaps in response to the growing challenges facing heritage institutions,Europeana has created a charter on the purpose public domain works serve to society and acknowledges the social and economic benefits of having a healthy and thriving public domain. They also point out that digitising public domain works does not create new intellectual property rights, it is merely a digital surrogate of the original work (The Europeana Public Domain Charter 2010). Furthermore, Creative Commons have created a license especially for public domain works, called a public domain mark and suggest that it is used on works where copyright has expired in every jurisdiction.
Open GLAM and Cultural Institutions
Cultural institutions that are currently opening up their digitised collections as part of the open GLAM movement include; The British Library, The Walters Art Museum, The Rijksmuseum, The National Library of Australia, The Getty Institute, The Statens Museum for Kunst, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Library of New Zealand; among numerous others.
National aggregator websites, which harvest and link metadata from several online collections and allow access through one online search portal, are fast becoming popular ways of linking digital material for use and reuse from cultural institutions. Acting as a federated search interface for cultural heritage content these websites include; Europeana, Trove, Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and DigitalNZ.
This post originally appeared on Sarah Powell's website-cum-research project Open Collections: Arts, Culture & Heritage and is reproduced with her permission.
Image credit: “OpenGLAM-logo” by Open Knowledge Foundation - Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons