Jesse Brown: Publicly Funded Content Should Be Public Domain

Jesse Brown of Search Engine has a guest post at BoingBoing that stirred up considerable discussion.  Brown argues that publicly funded content should be released to the public domain within five years of creation.


  1. Jesse’s view is pretty narrow
    Some of the comments posted are very good. The jist of it is, the CBC is a crown corporation, which receives SOME of its funding from the public purse. Some is from private funding, and some is what it raises through selling advertising. So, if the public purse contributes, say, 15% of the corporate revenue (I am unsure of the actual value), does that still mean that all content should be released to the wild after 5 years, in particular since the CBC could use licensing revenues to reduce the amount of public monies it receives?

    It gets better. How about content produced under contract for the CBC? Since that, theoretically, has some public money being sent into it, should that also be released into the wild, regardless of who owns the copyright (I know that for stuff built for the government, one of the ways that the government reduces what they pay for it is to have the IP reside with the company, even if it was fully paid for by the government… the theory being that sales of the product to other subsidizes what the crown pays. I would assume that a similar arrangement may exist for some content for the CBC).

  2. Anon-K
    The CBC proudly uses much Creative Commons content. Isn’t it time they give back?

    If Jesse’s view is narrow, I’m afraid yours is completely closed.

  3. @Gregg
    While I understand that they should consider giving back, you seem to have missed my point.

    The CBC does not receive ALL of its funding from the government. Much of it comes from advertising. And a bunch of the CBC’s federal funding is to support operations in areas of the country that the private broadcasters have abandoned as far as doing anything other than local news and current events programming (this includes Ottawa by the way… the ONLY locally produced show, that I know of, made that is borderline non-news/current events is Regional Contact, and CTV tried to cancel that one a few years ago). As such, they should make available a percentage of the content that they produce. However, since they don’t get 100% of their revenues from federal funding, they shouldn’t be expected to make 100% available. That was what I understood Jesse Brown to be saying.

    How much do Global, CTV, CITY-TV, etc get from Creative Commons, and how much do they make available under the Creative Commons license? It can’t be just the CBC that has to do this; if the CBC does it, then why shouldn’t the other networks be required to do it as well? In particular since they draw money from some of the same CanCon production funds that the CBC does.