To honor the grand reopening of the public domain this year, the Internet Archive held a party to welcome the class of 1923, and without any shame or hesitation I put on my Fan Girl mantle and dove right in. The public spaces of the Internet Archive “church of knowledge” were decked out in all things 1923, from homemade whoopie pies and Reese’s peanutbutter cups to the 1923 mugshot photo booth.
The morning session allowed attendees to talk to organizations leading the charge in accessibility and reusability rights, to the tune of Electronic Frontier Foundation, Creative Commons, Internet Archive, Wikipedia, California Digital Library, Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the Cleveland Art Museum, and more. During the milling and browsing I met Buster Kahle and Rick Prelinger, two of my professional heroes, then in the afternoon session listened to all the movers and shakers, headlined by Lawrence Lessig.
The messaging of the day was clear: The Copyright Act of 1976 and the subsequent 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act piloted by Sonny Bono have restricted creativity and as information professionals, the onus is on us to lead the charge to a more open and collaborative environment. Let’s celebrate the freshman class and welcome these building blocks to a richer culture.