Public Domain Day 2016

Copyright is an important tool that allows to protect the creation and distribution of creative works. But Public Domain is also essential because it makes free access to these works possible.
Every year on the first of January, the copyrights of thousands of works expire and these works enter the public domain. In Belgium, the duration of copyright is 70 years. In 2016 the works of authors who passed away in 1945 become free of rights.

Since 4 years, the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR), the Centre de Recherche Information Droit et Société CRIDS, Nova Cinema, the association for Arts and Media Constant, and for this edition also Wikimedia Belgium, celebrate these works during a day dedicated to the Public Domain.

This year the particular accent will be on the Diary of Anne Frank and the attempts of the right holders to prolongate its copyright protection, and on the work of Béla Bartók (the Béla Bartók fund is deposited in the the Royal Library). Among the other artists that enter the public domain are Paul Valéry, the Belgian surrealist writer Fernand Dumont, Kathe Kollwitz, the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens... The fate of many of them was marked by the end of the second world war.
2016 also sees the end of the copyright on the works of Adolf Hitler of which the state of Bavaria used to prohibit republication. "Should Mein Kampf be republished?" will be one of the questions debated during the afternoon session in the Royal Library. The evening in Nova contains some more light weight and creative elements ...

Koninklijke Bibliotheek van België / Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (KBR)
Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

  • 14:00 : Public Domain & Copyright in 2016, followed by Does Anne Frank enter the public domain ?
    By Séverine Dusollier, Professor in intellectual property law, SciencePo, Paris [FR]
  • 14:30 : Should Mein Kampf be republished?
    Debate with Anne Roekens, Professor in History, University of Namur and Jacques Englebert, advocate specialised in media law. [FR]
  • 15:00 : The Death of the Authors, 1944 /Paul Otlet - le Traité de Documentation - le livre sur le livre.
    Alexia De Visscher, independent publisher and Femke Snelting, Constant.

Early 20th century the Belgian utopist and documentalist Paul Otlet publishes his Treaty on documentation - the book on the book (Traité de documentation - Le livre sur le livre) in which he envisions the organisation of intellectual work and the future of the book. In 2015 this work entered the public domain, which permitted developers, designers, artists, writers, archivists and copyleft activists to rethink this important publication in the area of the digital book. A small exhibition in the heart of the Royal Library lets you discover several explorations of the form materiality and content of the Livre sur le Livre. These digital experiments, prototypes and re-editions were developed during a booksprint / hackathon that Constant ( organised in collaboration with Arts², the Mundaneum and Wikisource.

  • 15:30 : 50 years of Dépot Légal. Its role in promoting public domain.
    With Michel Fincoeur, scientific researcher, and Sophie Vandepontseele, operational director of contemporary collections in the Royal Library of Belgium.

A selection of works from the collections of the KBR that enter the public domain will be presented before each intervention by Eglantine Lebacq, Royal Library of Belgium.

Nova Cinema, rue d’Arenberg 3, 1000 Brussels

  • 18:00 BAR
    Music/poetry collage workshop
    Come play with words and notes of Paul Valéry and Béla Bartók and create partition poetry. The musicians and actors of the cabaret will interprete your new creations.
  • 20:00 BAR
    Gergely Kota (violist) and Quentin Manfroy (flute) will interpret and recreate works by Béla Bartók. The actors of Thalie Envolée will recite poetry of Paul Valéry in parallel. Musicians and actors will also present the partition-poetry created during the workshop.
  • 22:00 CINEMA
    Film: Turksib
    Viktor Tourine, 1929, RU-GB, silent, 78’
    With live soundtrack by Gergely Kota, Quentin Manfroy, Fabian Fiorini

Turksib is the 2375 km long railway that relates the old Turkestan with Siberia. The Turksib was put in service in 1931 with the idea to favour the development and ’sovietisation’ of Central Asia. It allowed to exchange flower from the north with cotton from the south. It was one of the first achievements of the communist regime, constructed in record time under extreme conditions crossing glacial steppes, burning deserts and snowy mountains. Close to fifty thousand workers, of whom many lost their lives, participated in the construction.

Turksib is also the title of this silent black and white propaganda documentary that was adapted for an English speaking audience by John Grierson. A lyrical poetic film that mixes the Russian Stalinist efforts to construct this line in an inhospitable environment with the everyday, ancestral and grim life of the population living along the track of the Turksib.

  • Permanent Installation
    Poetic listening posts: Let yourself drift on the sound of read poems that enter the public domain, recorded by Thalie Envolée.

@ Cinema Nova, Royal Libarary