The aim of COMMUNIA was to become the European point of reference for the public domain in the digital area.

2007 - 2011

COMMUNIA was a thematic network on the public domain and financed by the European Union. The aim of COMMUNIA was to become the European point of reference for theoretical analysis of and strategic policy discussions about (the future of) the public domain in the digital area.

Between 2007 and 2011, COMMUNIA was financed by the European Commission as part of the eContentplus Framework and had over 50 members. In addition to Kennisland, Waag Society, the Institution for Information Law and the Netherlands Institution for Sound and Vision also belonged to the COMMUNIA network. COMMUNIA was coordinated by the Nexa Research Centre for Internet and Society in Turin.

COMMUNIA workshop ‘Marking the Public Domain’

During the project period, Kennisland delivered a significant contribution to the activities of COMMUNIA. In October 2008, Kennisland organised a two-day COMMUNIA workshop in Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam focusing on the marking of public domain works. This workshop also served as the starting point for the development of the public domain tools of Creative Commons: the CC0 waiver for relinquishing copyrights (used by, and and the public domain mark (used by and Kennisland and COMMUNIA were present at the outset with respect to key parts of the infrastructure of the open data and open content movement.

Public Domain Manifesto

One of the most important achievements of COMMUNIA is the Public Domain Manifesto, which was published in 2009. Paul Keller and Lucie Guibault (IVIR) are the principal authors of this manifesto that has since been signed by thousands of individuals and institutions. The manifesto describes the contours of the public domain in the digital era and formulates several principles and recommendations to preserve the public domain. The Public Domain Manifesto has received considerable attention and Europeana has incorporated key parts thereof in its Public Domain Charter.

COMMUNIA Policy Recommendations

The end results of COMMUNIA include 14 COMMUNIA policy recommendations. The formulation of these recommendations was coordinated by Kennisland in collaboration with the NEXA Centre. The policy recommendations give concrete advice to (European) policymakers to strengthen and protect the public domain. Following the first Digital Agenda Assembly of the European Commission, 14 postcards with policy recommendations were produced in June 2011 and distributed among participants of the Assembly. A set of postcards was presented to EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes during the opening of the Digital Agenda.

Download the entire set here

COMMUNIA Association

The activities of COMMUNIA will continue after the EU-financed thematic network has finished. To this end, several core members of the network have established the COMMUNIA association. The COMMUNIA association is situated in Brussels and will continue dedicating itself to the digital public domain by organising events, lobbying and exchanging information. Kennisland is one of the founders of the COMMUNIA association and also manages the website.

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This text has a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) and has been copied from the Kennisland website. For a full version with images, streamers and notes go to