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8 Colum.-VLA Art & L. 137 (1983-1984)
Problems of the Domaine Public Payant

handle is hein.journals/cjla8 and id is 147 raw text is: Problems of the Domaine Public Payant
By DR. CARLOS MOUCHET*
Editor's Preface
Most Americans are unfamiliar with the domaine public payant.
Under this system a fee is charged for use of artistic material in the
public domain. The money collected is dedicated to supporting and
encouraging the arts.
While this system may at first seem inconsistent with a limited term
of copyright, some countries have embraced it as either a means of
protecting their otherwise unguarded folk art or as a leveling device to
ensure that works protected by copyright can compete economically
with those in the public domain. A more timely argument for the
system can be found in the inroads that modern technology (photo-
copying, audio- and video-taping, etc.) are making on a protected
artist's income from his work. In a world of illegal appropriations and
shrinking royalties, a new income source for artists might be very
velcome.
A small number of nations (including Argentina, Italy, Mexico and
the U.S.S.R.) have adopted some form of the domaine public payant.
While the system has not been accepted by most countries, it has
received serious consideration in many quarters. The following article
presents a concise, informed discussion of some of the important
questions raised by the system of domaine public payant.
I. GENERAL REMARKS CONCERNING THE CASE FOR AND
AGAINST THE SYSTEM
An examination of what has been written and said about the do-
maine public payant shows, without leaving any room for doubt, that
this is an institution which is the subject of discussion although, in my
opinion, there is much to be said for it, and it can be beneficial if it is
coherently constructed, and surrounded by sufficient guarantees to
avoid the risks that might ensue from technical defects in its organiza-
tion and from improper application of the system.
Of course, it interferes with the established interests of industrial
and commercial users of an intellectual work, who consider that the
public domain should be free of charge and in support of that view
adduce arguments that do not stand up to realistic analysis. It also
affects mental attitudes regarding the free use of any intellectual work
* Reprinted with permission of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
137

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