Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

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Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#1  Postby Pulsar » Jan 01, 2015 5:17 pm

http://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday

Public Domain Day is January 1st of every year. If you live in Canada, January 1st 2015 would be the day when the writings of Rachel Carlson, Ian Fleming, and Flannery O'Connor enter the public domain. It will be a not-so-silent spring! In Europe, the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Edvard Munch, and hundreds of others will emerge into the public domain.1 You can find a great celebration of such authors here. All of these public domain works can be freely digitized and archived, so that anyone can find and use them. Canadians can make their own James Bond movies using Fleming's books and Europeans can add a wealth of works to online archives of 20th century art, all without asking permission or violating the law.

What is entering the public domain in the United States? Not a single published work. Once again, however, no published works are entering the public domain in the United States this year. Or next year. In fact, no publication will enter our public domain until 2019.

In the United States, as in much of the world, copyright lasts for the author’s lifetime, plus another 70 years. You might think, therefore, that works whose authors died in 1944 would be freely available on January 1, 2015. Sadly, no. When Congress changed the law, it applied the term extension retrospectively to existing works, and gave all in-copyright works published between 1923 and 1977 a term of 95 years. The result? None of those works will enter the public domain until 2019, and works from 1958, whose arrival we might otherwise be expecting January 1, 2015, will not enter the public domain until 2054. In addition to lengthening the term, Congress also changed the law so that every creative work is automatically copyrighted, even if the author does nothing.

It didn’t have to be this way. As you can read in our analysis of the subject, if we had the laws that were in effect until 1978, thousands of works from 1958 would be entering the public domain. They range from the books Our Man in Havana, The Once and Future King, and Things Fall Apart, to the films Gigi and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, to the songs Yakety Yak and All I Have to Do Is Dream.

(continues)
"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time." - George Bernard Shaw
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#2  Postby kennyc » Jan 01, 2015 5:38 pm

Unfortunately I'm in the U.S. :(
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#3  Postby Pulsar » Jan 01, 2015 5:42 pm

kennyc wrote:Unfortunately I'm in the U.S. :(

Doesn't really matter. Because of those laws we all lose, unfortunately.
"The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains that I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time." - George Bernard Shaw
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#4  Postby igorfrankensteen » Jan 01, 2015 6:13 pm

Well, I certainly don't completely agree with the thrust of this.

Public domain isn't required to make artistic and other works available to the general public. It just makes it possible for people to make money off of them without high cost. That's not anything especially laudatory, in my thinking.

The claim in the link within the quotation, to the effect that no one at all benefits from the extended coverage, is faulty. It is based on the assumption /opinion that paying to have access to art means either catering to inherently evil corporations, or to selfish artists or heirs.

As a fan of lots of old movies, I have learned one thing: when something is public domain, someone who wants to sell copies of it, has no incentive to make a good job of it. Reissues of classics by those who own the copyrights, tend to be high quality, and worth the higher price.
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#5  Postby kennyc » Jan 01, 2015 6:26 pm

Pulsar wrote:
kennyc wrote:Unfortunately I'm in the U.S. :(

Doesn't really matter. Because of those laws we all lose, unfortunately.


Yep, we definitely need some updates to copyright law.

Being a writer of course I have mixed feelings about some of it, but the one thing that really irks me is corporations holding copyrights. The intent was to protect individual creativity and it should not apply to corporations IMO.
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#6  Postby Griz_ » Jan 01, 2015 6:35 pm

kennyc wrote:
Pulsar wrote:
kennyc wrote:Unfortunately I'm in the U.S. :(

Doesn't really matter. Because of those laws we all lose, unfortunately.


Yep, we definitely need some updates to copyright law.

Being a writer of course I have mixed feelings about some of it, but the one thing that really irks me is corporations holding copyrights. The intent was to protect individual creativity and it should not apply to corporations IMO.


But corporations are people too. Only when it's convenient of course.
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Re: Happy Public Domain Day! (unless you live in the US)

#7  Postby kennyc » Jan 01, 2015 7:07 pm

Griz_ wrote:
kennyc wrote:
Pulsar wrote:
kennyc wrote:Unfortunately I'm in the U.S. :(

Doesn't really matter. Because of those laws we all lose, unfortunately.


Yep, we definitely need some updates to copyright law.

Being a writer of course I have mixed feelings about some of it, but the one thing that really irks me is corporations holding copyrights. The intent was to protect individual creativity and it should not apply to corporations IMO.


But corporations are people too. Only when it's convenient of course.


Exactly! That's where it has gotten fucked up!
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