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COMMUNIA is a thematic project funded by the European Commission within the eContentplus framework addressing theoretical analysis and strategic policy discussion of existing and emerging issues concerning the public domain in the digital environment - as well as related topics, including, but not limited to, alternative forms of licensing for creative material; open access to scientific publications and research results; management of works whose authors are unknown (i.e. orphan works).

COMMUNIA effort is aimed at helping to frame the general discourse on and around the public domain in the digital environment by highlighting the challenges arising from the increasingly complex interface between scientific progress, technological innovation, cultural development, socio-economic change on the one hand and the rise and mass deployment/usage of digital technologies in the European information society.

Coordinated by the Politecnico of Torino's NEXA Research Center for Internet and Society, COMMUNIA started its activities on 1 September 2007 and will end on 31 August 2010. The network includes 51 members (initially were 36) - universities, consumer organisations, libraries, archives, non-profits, etc. - mostly from the EU, but also from a few overseas countries such as United States and Brazil, where similar policy discussions are underway.

Among its activities, COMMUNIA is organizing several workshops and three International conferences in EU countries, and will produce and disseminate a final strategic report. Under the title "Global Science and the Economics of Knowledge-Sharing Institutions", the Second COMMUNIA International Conference was held in June 2009 in Torino, Italy. The event addressed the conceptual foundations and practical feasibilities of contractually constructed “commons” and related bottom-up public domain initiatives (joint policy guidelines, common standards, institutional policies, etc.) capable of offering shared access to a variety of research resources, identifying models, needs and opportunities for effective initiatives across a diverse range of research areas. The third and final conference is planned for June 2010 around the issue of "Universities & the commons/cyberspace".

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