This study tries to highlight the necessity of an awareness of the right of access to the public domain, particularly using the example of works whose protection period has expired, as well as the ones which the law considers to be excluded from protection. Such works are used not only by large libraries from around the world, but also by rights holders, via different means of use, including incorporations into original works or adaptations. However, the reuse that follows these uses often only remains at the level of concept, as the notion of the public’s right of access to public domain works is not substantiated, nor is the notion of the correct or legal use of such works. All of these express an existing danger to the public domain.
The public domain materials are threatened not only by private appropriation, but also by other means of restriction, such as the use of different technological protection measures. The evolution of information society itself also draws some limits to public domain works, since certain legislative changes or court decisions have led to a narrowing of the public domain sphere, by considering some material/information, which are by nature excluded from protection, as being protectable, such as functioning methods, or simple data.
These are the circumstances that call for a public domain protection. The protection I discuss in this study is in fact a form of safeguarding the rights that every person holds over public domain materials, which belong to everyone and over which we all have rights.
* Student doctorand în cadrul Universității Nicolae Titulescu, București