Paul Keller

Director of Policy
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About Paul

Paul is the Director of Policy at Open Future. He has 20+ years of experience as a media activist, open policy advocate and systems architect to improve access to knowledge and culture. A political scientist by training, Paul has a deep understanding of the digital transformation’s political, social and legal implications. Prior to founding Open Future Paul was co-director of Kennisland, an Amsterdam-based think-tank working on issues related to the knowledge economy. Before joining Kennisland in 2007, Paul worked at Waag as head of the Public Research program.

Paul is a research fellow at the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam and sits on the advisory boards of the Glushko & Samuelson Information Law and Policy Lab and the Europeana Foundation. In 2022 Paul was appointed to the board of Public Spaces, a coalition of Dutch civil society organizations working on public digital infrastructures.

In 2009 Paul was one of the founding members of the COMMUNIA association for the Public Domain where he continues to serve as the President. Between 2015 and 2019 Paul directed COMMUNIA’s and Europeana’s advocacy efforts related to Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive. In these roles, he has been instrumental in significantly improving a number of the provisions contained in the directive, including the provisions dealing with the protection of the Public Domain, access to Out of Commerce Works and the controversial new rules for online platforms.

In 2005 Paul founded Creative Commons Netherlands where he served as public project lead until 2018. In this role, he brokered several collaborations between Creative Commons and collective management bodies. From 2013 to 2018 he served on the Board of Directors of Creative Commons.

From 2009 – 2015 Paul was one of the architects of the Europeana Licensing Framework which enshrines Europeana’s commitment to open data and has set standards for large-scale digital cultural heritage aggregation projects. Paul is one of the authors of the Public Domain Manifesto and Europeana’s Public Domain Charter. Together with Alek Tarkowski and Sophie Bloemen he co-authored the Vision for a Shared Digital Europe, an alternative digital policy vision for Europe.

Paul lives with his partner and two daughters in Amsterdam. His offline interests include cooking, running, cycling and collecting flyers of African mediums.



Open Source AI and the Paradox of Open

September 15, 2023 by: Zuzanna Warso et al.
We agree with Widder, West, and Whittaker that openness alone will not democratize AI. However, it is clear to us that any alternative to current Big Tech-driven AI must be, among other things, open.

Supporting Open Source and Open Science in the EU AI Act

July 26, 2023 by: Paul Keller
Today — together with Hugging Face,, LAION, GitHub, and Creative Commons, we publish a statement on Supporting Open Source and Open Science in the EU AI Act. We strongly believe that open source and open science are the building blocks of trustworthy AI and should be promoted in the EU.

The launch of Threads is an opportunity for public institutions to embrace the fediverse

July 6, 2023 by: Paul Keller
Meta's entry into the space and the fact that they have chosen to be interoperable with the existing fediverse could be a good thing, as it paves the way for public institutions to enter the space and reduce their dependence on private communication platforms.

AI, the Commons, and the limits of copyright

June 22, 2023 by: Paul Keller
There has been a lot of attention on copyright and generative AI/ML over the last few months. In this essay, I propose a two-fold strategy to tackle this situation. First, it is essential to guarantee that individual creators can opt out of having their works used in AI training. Second, we should implement a levy that redirects a portion of the surplus from training AI on humanity's collective creativity back to the commons.

Undermining the foundation of open source AI?

May 11, 2023 by: Paul Keller
Today, the European Parliament's IMCO and LIBE committees adopted their joint report on the proposed AI Act. The text includes additional safeguards for fundamental rights and an overall more cautious approach to AI. In this post, we provide an in-depth analysis of the implications of the text for open source AI development.

Small is beautiful, but can it scale?

April 20, 2023 by: Paul Keller
The Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure published the Three-Legged Stool manifesto, outlining three pillars for building digital public infrastructure.

Protecting Creatives or Impeding Progress?

February 17, 2023 by: Paul Keller
As generative machine learning (ML) becomes more widespread, the issue of copyright and ML input is back in focus. This post explores the Eu legal framework governing the use of copyrighted works for training ML systems and the potential for collective action by artists and creators.

Paradox of Open Redux

January 23, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
After many conversations on the Paradox of Open, and the series of responses to their essay, Alek Tarkowski and Paul Keller share their reflections on the issue of addressing the power imbalances in the open ecosystems.

Draft white paper on a European Public Digital Infrastructure Fund

December 16, 2022 by: Paul Keller
Today, as a request for comments, we publish a white paper proposing a European Public Digital Infrastructure Fund to build Digital Public Spaces in Europe.

How will the AI Act deal with open source AI systems?

December 13, 2022 by: Paul Keller
None of the approaches dealing with open source AI systems in the AI Act address the concerns related to chilling effects on open source AI development so far. The Parliament still has the opportunity to address these concerns without jeopardizing the AI Act’s overall regulatory objective by leveraging on the inherent transparency of open source, writes Paul Keller.

To properly function a public data commons needs to be European in scope

October 21, 2022 by: Francesco Vogelezang et al.
The EU B2G data sharing framework needs to be complemented by a strong and democratically accountable European Public Data Commons to allow public sector bodies to fill their mandates in a data-driven world.


Defining best practices for opting out of ML training

September 28, 2023 by: Paul Keller et al.
This Open Future policy brief examines the technical implementation of the EU law provision allowing authors and other rightholders to opt out of having their works used as training data for (generative) machine learning (ML) systems.

Fields of open

July 6, 2023 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
Fields of open is a report which consists of findings from an exploratory mapping of the movement using network analysis methods and data collected from Twitter. The first part consists of a definition of the open movement, followed by a conceptualization of the movement as consisting of distinct but connected fields of open. The second part comprises methodological information about social network analysis and data visualization. The third part includes a presentation of the network visualizations and their analysis.

Exploring the Intersection of Openness and AI

April 7, 2023 by: Zuzanna Warso et al.
The rapid advancements in AI challenge the concept of openness on the internet, as companies use publicly available data to their advantage, frequently disregarding the concerns and welfare of other parties, such as artists and content creators, and the impacts of the tools they make available for use. There is a growing realization that the […]

The Growth of responsible AI licensing

February 7, 2023 by: Paul Keller et al.
The RAIL licenses are gaining ground, but permissive sharing is still the prominent norm governing the sharing of ML models on This analysis aims at understanding how licenses are used by developers making ML model-related code and or data publicly available.

Public data commons

May 24, 2022 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
This policy brief presents a model for public-interest B2G data sharing, aimed to complement the current proposal of the Data Act. The proposal includes the creation of the European Public Data Commons, a body that acts as a recipient and clearinghouse for the data made available. 

Generative Inter­operability

March 11, 2022 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
The report "Generative Interoperability: Building public and civic spaces online" co-authored with Commons Network, proposes to treat interoperability as a policy principle that supports the creation of new public-civic digital spaces.

Data act: Access to Data

February 23, 2022 by: Paul Keller et al.
Policy brief on the provisions dealing with Access to Data and Data Portability in the European Commissions proposal for a Data Act that was published on 23 February 2022.

Digital Public Space – A missing policy frame for shaping Europe’s digital future

September 29, 2021 by: Alek Tarkowski et al.
This article is Open Future's contribution to Building a European Digital Public Space - Strategies for taking back control from Big Tech platforms, a book edited by Aleksander Baratsits and Published by iRights Media in November 2021

Proposal to leverage Article 17 to build a public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works.

September 21, 2021 by: Paul Keller
White-paper on how to to leverage Article 17 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive to build a public repository of Public Domain and openly licensed works.

The Data Governance Act: Five opportunities for the Data Commons

June 23, 2021 by: Francesco Vogelezang et al.
In this policy brief, we present five issues related to the proposal for the Data Governance Act (DGA) that are crucial to achieve the policy goal of building Data Commons in the European Union.

The Paradox of Open

March 5, 2021 by: Paul Keller et al.
The Paradox of Open is the essay that we published in March 2021 to mark the launch of Open Future. In this essay we reflect on almost 20 years of our involvement in the open movement.