Public Domain Day 2023

15 Feb 2023 | Brussel

Every year, we organise Public Domain Day together with Ghent University Library, the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR) and Wikimedia Belgium (link in Dutch). In 2023, we’ll be putting the public domain back under the spotlight on 15 February. Register now to find out what initiatives various cultural heritage organisations have taken to provide access to their collections in the public domain in 2022.

What and why?

The public domain is the collection of all creative works that are not subject to exclusive intellectual property rights (anymore), such as copyrights and other related rights. New works become available in the public domain every year in Belgium as copyright protection expires 70 years after the death of the author or artist.

This legal status does not mean that materials become accessible automatically, however. Public Domain Day draws global attention to legal, financial, technical and institutional barriers that can prevent the general public from accessing this content even after copyright protection expires.

Meemoo has been co-organising Public Domain Day since 2018, with the aim of promoting useful practices for making collections more widely available, and giving heritage institutions the opportunity to share their progress. It could involve a small collection of works that was previously protected by a copyright which has recently expired, for example, or collections of works that haven’t been covered by copyright for a while already.

Who’s it for?

Public Domain Day can help you or your organisation find out about initiatives to make public domain collections accessible, and share your thoughts and ideas with other interested parties.


When and where?

You’re welcome to join us in ‘Panorama’ at the Royal Library of Belgium (Kunstberg 28, 1000 Brussels) on 15 February 2023 from 10am to 5pm. We’re splitting the day into two sessions, which you can register for separately. The morning session is in Dutch, in the afternoon the slides will be presented in English, and the working language depends on the speaker (English, Dutch or French).


In the morning session, we will explain all about heritage collections and copyrights, giving you all the information you need to determine the rights status of your content. Who knows, maybe this could even be your first step towards unlocking your own (partial) collection for Public Domain Day 2024? Then, in the afternoon session, you can attend presentations by a number of institutions, highlighting the public domain initiatives they have undertaken and looking in more detail at new developments in terms of policy and legislation.

The programme:

  • 10.00 - 12.30: public domain rights workshop

  • 12.30 - 14.00: lunch break

  • 14.00 - 16.00: public domain day celebration 

    • 14.00 - 14.05: Introduction, by Sam Donvil (meemoo)

    • 14.05 - 14.20: The rights status of objects in your collection, by Bart Magnus (meemoo), Joris Colla & Fien Messens (ODIS/KADOC-KU Leuven)

    • 14.20 - 14.40: Public Domain Day upload showcase

      • Experience uploadworkshop 2022 - Wouter De Witte (Passchendaele Museum)

      • KCML Architectural drawings - Koen Van Daele & Veroniek Kerckhove (Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed)

      • Public Domain Day upload KBR - Piet Janssens (KBR)

    • 14.40 - 14.50: Five years of the Open GLAM survey – what we know now, by Douglas McCarthy (Europeana)

    • 14.50 - 15.10: Towards better sharing of cultural heritage, by Brigitte Vézina (Creative Commons)

    • 15.10 - 15.30: Communia copyright reform policy recommendations, by Brigitte Vézina (COMMUNIA) & Emine Yildirim (KU Leuven)

    • 15.30 - 15.45: Use of public domain collections in digital humanities research, by Fien Danniau, Rein Debrulle and Hans Blomme (Ghent Center for Digital Humanities)

    • 15.45 - 15.55: Creative reuse of Collections of Ghent, by Saar Vandeweghe & Thijs Temmerman (Coghent)

    • 15.55 - 16.00: Wiki Loves Heritage photography contest & Wikimedia in Residence programme: new call for projects, by Geert van Pamel (Wikimedia Belgium)

  • 16u - 17u: reception

Pictures: daughter of an artist, Xavier Mellery, 1882, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Gent, 1944-B, public domain.


Use the form below to reserve your place before 14 February. Note: please make sure you indicate which sessions you want to register for.

Please indicate which sessions you would like to attend.

Has your cultural heritage institution already made public domain collections accessible in the past?

Is it okay to take photos of you?

May we use these photos in meemoo’s communications?

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