QUESTIONS: Understanding the importance and value of the public domain, how much (what percentage) of this value would you estimate is realized when works are licensed with a Creative Commons or GFDL license? To what degree would the open educational resources movement (and therefore the world) be additionally benefited if OERs were simply placed in the public domain? Please explain.
Public domain and copyright are always opposite from my understanding. If the work is within the public domain, there is no ownership rights associated with the work. It may be said that everyone and no one owns the work. Therefore, anyone may reproduce the work, distribute it, adapt it, etc. without the limitations of copyrights.
Without any copyrights, the value of public domain cannot be realized as high as 100 percent, about 70 percent at most. Instead of the full copyright, if the works are licensed with a Creative Commons, the value of the public domain might be raise up to 80 percent. With a more restriction license such as GFDL, the value of public domain goes even lower to about 75 percent. As the restriction goes more, the value of public domain goes down. Why I think the works, which have Creative Commons and GFDL owns higher value of public domain, because the resources from those works should have quality ensured.
In my opinion, public domain contains variety of knowledge; before open educational resources movement, the value of public domain knowledge was only shared by limit academic communities. But with the rise of open educational resources movement, this knowledge is shared in a more extensive domain and deeper extent. In other words, if all the knowledge in public domain can be shared and applied, open educational resources can be largely increased. Because the original intention of open educational resources movement is to provide more shared resources to more users; therefore, it can accelerate the sharing and application of the knowledge.
I always think the quality of the resource will be a hard part to judge. When web2.0 just started, people also think the high quality resource will be a problem, like you can write on wiki at will. But in fact, when the people who share the same interests are participating in writing on wiki, all of them are willing to contribute their best part to others. They hope to get others’ approval and embody their self-value. We always allow different voice, perhaps value of specific knowledge means significant to specific person. Place the OERs in the public domain, people have more rights to make choice; at the same time, people have more opportunities to choose.