The Public Domain

The internet gives access to the digitised portion of that knowledge and creativity on a scale previously impossible. It is the driver for massive digitisation efforts that will fundamentally change the role of cultural and scientific heritage institutions. The digitisation of analogue collections creates new opportunities for sharing and creative re-use, empowering people to explore and respond to our shared heritage in new ways that our legislation has yet to catch up with. It has also brought copyright to the centre of attention for holders of our cultural and scientific heritage. Our memory organisations have for generations had the public duty of holding the heritage in trust for the citizenry and of making it accessible to all. Both of these functions are usually conducted at the citizens’ – i.e. the tax payers’ – expense.
— Beautiful words from the Europeana Public Domain Charter, 2011