Center for the Public Domain (formerly Red Hat Center)

Supported Organizations

The Center for the Public Domain has awarded over $5 million in grants to projects worldwide.

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for Utilizing and Developing the Public Domain to Promote and Protect Traditional Ecological Knowledge (District of Columbia) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to develop a database of information to protect traditional knowledge from being patented by outside interests and removed from the culture where it was first used. (In Africa, the Hoodia Cactus [,3858,4205467,00.html ] Keeps Men Alive. Now Its Secret is 'Stolen' to Make Us Thin, Antony Barnett, The Observer, June 17, 2001) Through the development of tools and methodologies, the AAAS will database existing public domain ecological knowledge, including indigenous knowledge and plant species uses, to create a more comprehensive record of data. The database, to include such things as uses, scientific and medical articles and patent applications, will make information more readily available to a wider range of researchers, educators and medical practitioners, and can be used by patent examiners when searching for prior art. The AAAS is the world's largest general science organization and publisher of the peer-reviewed journal Science. Founded in 1848, AAAS is among the oldest societies in America and serves as an authoritative source for information on the latest developments in science and bridges gaps among scientists, policy-makers and the public to advance science and science education.

Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (California) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to support a year of intellectual property law research by attorney Fred von Lohmann. The mission of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology is to foster beneficial and ethical advancement of technology by promoting the understanding and guiding the development of intellectual property and related fields of law and policy as they intersect with business, science and technology.

Center for Media Education (CME) (District of Columbia) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided CME a grant to fund, as part of its Democratic Access Project, a conference of policy makers, advocates, and attorneys at Stanford University in December 2000 to discuss the importance of end-to end-architecture and open access on the Internet and in future technologies. CME works to ensure that the media system serves the public interest.

Collaborative Ownership in a Digital Economy (CODE) (England) [ ]
A partnership between Academic Europaea and the Arts Council of Cambridge, England, with additional support from the Rockefeller Foundation, CODE (April 2001) examined issues such as community and copyright, recovering the 'collective' independent networks of research and collaboration, the need for intellectual property systems to evolve in line with changing technologies, the shifts in conventional approaches to learning and research enabled by collaborative technologies and the emergence of open code and open content applications as key drivers of the knowledge economy.

Conference on the Public Domain (North Carolina) [ ]
A collaboration of Duke Law School and the Center for the Public Domain, the Conference on the Public Domain (November 2001) aims to be a producer, rather than a consumer, of empirical and theoretic perspectives on the public domain by offering "best practices" models of the disparate research being done on very different areas of intellectual property. Through a series of discussion papers from leaders in the field, the conference will frame the current debate in a number of key areas, ranging from constitutional litigation to national innovation policy.

Consumer Project on Technology (CPT) (District of Columbia) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funds to support responses to intellectual property concerns that have important consequences regarding compulsory licensing of patented medicines in developing countries. The Center for the Public Domain also funded the CPT's Comments to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the Hague Conference on Private International Law's Proposed Convention on Jurisdiction and Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters. Established by Ralph Nader, CPT focuses on intellectual property rights and health care, electronic commerce and competition policy.

Cornell University Law School - Legal Information Institute (LII) (New York) [ ]
Launched in 1992, LII improves public access to law in the United States by placing key legal materials on the Internet in non-proprietary format, structured in ways that facilitate unrestricted use. The Center for the Public Domain provided funding that updates LII technology and allows web users to read any portion of the U.S. Code as it was in effect at particular points in time. LII receives more than 8 million hits a week. More than 90,000 web pages link to LII, including those of the White House and the U.S. House of Representatives, and it has been cited as a resource in more than 500 newspapers and magazines.

Creative Commons
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to help establish the Creative Commons, a non-profit organization facilitating the collection and distribution of all forms of intellectual property under a GPL-like license. The Creative Commons is a coalition of faculty from the University of California at Berkeley, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School, Duke University Law School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Stanford Law School.

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business, Center for Organizational Research (North Carolina)
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to the Center for Organizational Research for a pilot social science research study on transparent technologies and open organizations. The results of the study will be presented in a conference, and published in an edited book in 2002.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) (California) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided general funding support for EFF, as well as funding in support of public education about EFF's work on the DVD / DeCSS encryption lawsuit. A leading organization focused on representing the rights of individuals worldwide, EFF works in the public interest to protect fundamental civil liberties, including privacy and freedom of expression in the arena of computers and the Internet. EFF works to preserve free expression by upholding rights to digital free expression from political, legal and technical threats, defining digital privacy by empowering people to maintain their privacy and control their digital identity and ensuring systems are designed to respect people's rights, such as free speech, privacy and fair use.

Electronic Information Privacy Center (EPIC) (District of Columbia) [ ]
EPIC is a public research center established to focus public attention on emerging civil liberties issues and to protect privacy, the First Amendment, and constitutional values. As part of a wide range of landmark reports on critical issues affecting the future of the Internet, EPIC will publish "Surfer Beware IV," a report that examines the extent to which proprietary standards are threatening the privacy, freedom of expression, and the open architecture of the Internet. Learn more about Surfer Beware reports at

Federation for a Free Informational Infrastructure (FFII) (Germany) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to support documentation and research work on software patents, as well as web publication of results. FFII is a public-interest association designed to promote competition in software development and to fund public interest.

Free Software Foundation (FSF) (Massachusetts) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding for general support of FSF. The Free Software Foundation is dedicated to eliminating restrictions on copying, redistribution, understanding, and modification of computer programs by promoting the development and use of free software in all areas of computing.

Future of Music Coalition (District of Columbia)  [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to the Future of Music Coalition for a nationwide speaking tour highlighting key policy issues at the intersection of music, technology, law and economics. The three month tour, which will visit more than a dozen universities across the nation, aims to present key policy issues in the realm of digital technology, artists' rights, and the music industry, and to engage students, academics, and community members in meaningful debate on these critical issues. For a tour schedule and more information, visit (North Carolina) [ ]
Home to one of the largest "collections of collections" on the Internet, ibiblio is a conservancy of freely available and publicly accessible information, including music, literature, art, history, software, science, politics, and cultural studies. ibiblio combines cutting edge technology and advanced authoring tools to create an Internet-based, contributor-maintained, public library of freely available, diverse, high-quality resources. ibiblio averages 1.5 million information requests per day. A free and vibrant exchange of ideas among a large community of contributors who share their knowledge across disciplines, ibiblio uses the open source model to encourage users to help shape the way information is managed and accessed in the 21st century.

Information Law Institute at New York University School of Law, Commons Project (New York)
Over the next two years, a multi-disciplinary working group from MIT, NYU, University of Chicago, Duke, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia University, the National Academy of Sciences and other organizations will meet to chart progress and set goals on a number of independent projects relating to the potential of commons as mechanisms for the organization of information production and exchange in the digitally networked environment. Specific projects include the development of collaborative teaching materials, Internet archiving, and mapping of the commons. Members will also examine commons models such as scientific production, the Los Alamos Archive, and established environmental conservancies. Project initiated by Yochai Benkler and Pamela Samuelson.

Intellectual Property and the Public Domain Fellowship Program (North Carolina) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain has provided funding to Duke University School of Law to create a program of public interest fellowships in intellectual property and cyberlaw, focused on preserving the public domain. Goals of the Fellowships include representing the public interest in developing policy proposals and engaging in public education on issues concerning the public domain and "the free information ecology"; identifying, training, and developing a new generation of public interest lawyers who will work in the Internet and intellectual property areas; creating links between academia and the public interest organizations currently working in these fields. With one of the strongest intellectual property programs in the U.S. and some of the most distinguished intellectual property scholars in the country, Duke Law is an elite law school with a strong commitment to producing "lawyers for the public."

The National Academies' Board on International Scientific Organizations for the Role of the Public Domain in Scientific and Technical Information (District of Columbia) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding for a symposium on The Role of the Public Domain in Scientific and Technical Information to bring together experts and managers in scientific and technical data and information (STI) from the public and private sectors to provide their perspectives on the role and value of public-domain STI in the context of research and education, to identify and analyze the many pressures that are being placed on the public domain in STI, to describe and discuss the existing and proposed approaches for preserving the public domain in such information and to identify issues that require further analysis. The symposium proceedings will be edited and published by the National Academies.

The National Academies' Board on Science, Technology and Economic Policy (STEP) for the Project on Intellectual Property in the Knowledge-Based Economy
(District of Columbia) [ ]
The Science, Technology, and Economic Policy (STEP) Board is undertaking a study of legislative actions, judicial decisions, institutional changes, and international agreements that have marked intellectual property policy over the past 20 years. The committee will look at the possibility that Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) should proceed further to encourage technical advance, investment, and innovation in juxtaposition to claims that in some circumstances IPRs have been extended too far and may be inhibiting competition and discouraging both research and its communication and use. The project is chaired by Richard Levin, President, Yale University, and Mark Myers, Senior Vice President (ret.), Xerox Corporation. (New York) [ ]
The mission of is to increase the amount and quality of legal services provided to low-income individuals and communities through innovative uses of technology and to create a virtual community of public interest lawyers that bridges private, legal services, and academic sectors of the profession. The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to support education about technology issues and the law.

Program in Comparative Media Law and Policy, Oxford University, Wolfson College, Center for Socio-Legal Studies (United Kingdom)
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding for the formation of a U.S. and European alliance of public domain advocates and scholars to focus on the formation of policy defining and protecting the public domain. The group will provide an inventory of issues and agendas, and people and institutions involved in the public domain, and map their relationships with one another. Two annual conferences will provide coordinated research and networking opportunities. The goal of the project is to provide identification and organization of public domain stakeholders, as well as ensure input from public domain supporters before public policy is made.

Public Knowledge (District of Columbia)
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding to create Public Knowledge, an advocacy organization aimed at addressing vital issues in the emerging digital age such as consumer fairness, the rights of creators, democratic cultural values, the integrity of the Internet as an open communications medium, and the public's stake in new international treaties that affect digital discourse. Through original research, collaboration with existing expertise, public education, effective advocacy and dialogue with industry and policy makers, Public Knowledge will facilitate the public articulation and consideration that these issues deserve and develop a pro-active, affirmative citizens' agenda for intellectual property law and related public policies. A strategic priority for Public Knowledge is to explore where common agendas might be forged among affected constituencies, including librarians, computer professionals, researchers, educators, visual artists, musicians, authors, journalists, civil libertarians, and industry.

WIPOUT (International) [ ]
WIPOUT, an international organization consisting of academics, artists, musicians, and other activists, received funding from the Center for the Public Domain in support of an international Intellectual Property Counter Essay Contest. The multi-lingual essay contest, which runs from September 4, 2001, until March 15, 2002, was organized in response to the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO's) own competition announced in early 2001. Intended to challenge the over-protection of IP, the WIPOUT counter contest addresses the same topic that WIPO posed: What does intellectual property mean to you in your daily life? Winning essays will be chosen by an international panel of judges and the results announced on 26 April 2002, the same day that WIPO announces the winners of its contest. Although WIPOUT is hosting a 'contest', they see the competitive aspect of the contest secondary to the purpose of enabling a public and critical debate on the over-protection of IP. To submit or view essays and shorter 'Point of View' pieces on the same topic, visit

Wizards of Operating Systems: Open Cultures & Free Knowledge (International) [ ]
The Center for the Public Domain provided funding for the WOS2 conference October 2001. Second in the WOS series, WOS2 bought together experts from the areas of software, biotechnology, law and public administration under the overarching theme of an "environmentalism" for the digital knowledge realm. Discussion centered around such topics as operating systems of the knowledge society, collaborative knowledge generation and the legal order of knowledge. Wizards of OS strive to raise awareness and promote collaboration that strengthen the public community of shared information, culture and ideas.

Copyright 2001 Center for the Public Domain. All rightsDomain. All rights reserved.