The Open Utopia Project: A Beautiful Use of the Public Domain.


Banner Image for The Open Utopia Project (cropped).

Stephen Duncombe has initiated a lovely project: The Open Utopia, a new English translation of Thomas More’s Utopia, made and distributed according to the communitarian principles espoused in the book.

This edition of Utopia is open: open to use, open to copying, open to modification. On this site I’ve presented Utopia in different formats in order to enhance this openness. If the visitor wishes to read Utopia they can find a copy. If they want to download and copy a version, I’ve provided links to do so in different formats for different devices. Those who like to listen will find a reading of Utopia on audio files. There is an annotatable text available if the visitor would like to comment upon what More — or I — have written, and   I’ve created a wiki — WikiTopia — so readers can collaboratively write their own Utopia.  And for those visitors to this site who would like to simply enjoy the text in a new context I am offering a DigiLuxe version to flip through while on-line. More versions for more platforms will be available in the future.

If you’d like to help, you can contribute your time (especially if you know Latin), or you can help fund the project.  They’ve raised $2600 out of a desired $3500 so far:

  • To translate from Latin to English the remaining sections of Utopia not already in the public domain.
  • For actors to record a staged reading of Utopia.
  • For creative and technical help in designing the DigiLuxe flipbook of Utopia.
  • For design and programming assistance on The Open Utopia site to move past the prototype stage.

Question Copyright doesn’t have a surplus of money ourselves, but I kicked in $20 personally, just so I could in good conscience encourage you to do the same.  Please don’t make me have wasted my money :-).  Everything produced by The Open Utopia is freely licensed, and will belong to everyone forever.  Seems like a bargain to me!  (Note that the Kickstarter page mentions a “non-commercial” use license… Fortunately, they seem to have fixed that over at The Open Utopia site, which says it’s under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license.  I hope they update the Kickstarter page soon.)

3 Comments on "The Open Utopia Project: A Beautiful Use of the Public Domain."

  1. I think it’s absorbing, because it disclose a very academic-focussed attitude. Preserving the goodness of the academic system seems to be a lead, although honestly exclude salaried ads for such a service seems a forceless response. When the enterprise is known by your friends who were captivated with the results of the association, about this address that for the thesis quality.

  2. They should do this for all of Shakespeare’s Plays, Sonnets, and Silouquies.  I’m sure the Bard of Stratford-apon-Avon would love to have his work to be continually accessible to the world in this fashion. If King James had a Copyright Law as awful as ours, with a long lifespan, his plays would not have reached around the world as they have.

    Elton Robb