"public domain day"

Happy Public Domain Day 2020!

Jennifer Jenkins from the Duke Center for the Public Domain writes, "January 1, 2020 is Public Domain Day! Works published in 1924 are entering the US public domain. They include George Gershwin’s 'Rhapsody in Blue' and 'Fascinating Rhythm,' silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and Thomas Mann’s 'The Magic Mountain,' E. M. Forster’s 'A Passage to India,' and A. A. Milne’s 'When We Were Very Young.' These works were supposed to go into the public domain in 2000, after being copyrighted for 75 years. But before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years. See what will (finally) be open to all!" Read the rest

Celebrate Public Domain Day with a viewing of Cecil B Demille's 1923 epic "The Ten Commandments"

It's been 48 hours since the American public domain expanded for the first time in 20 years, allowing Americans free access to works from 1923, including Cecil B Demille's 1923 epic "The Ten Commandments" (here's 1,000 or so more). Read the rest

Happy Public Domain day: for real, for the first time in 20 years!

Every year, Jennifer Jenkins and Jamie Boyle from the Duke Center for the Public Domain compile a "Public Domain Day" list (previously) that highlights the works that are not entering the public domain in America, thanks to the 1998 Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, which hit the pause button on Americans' ability to freely use their artistic treasures for two decades -- a list that also included the notable works entering the public domain in more sensible countries of the Anglophere, like Canada and the UK, where copyright "only" lasted for 50 years after the author's death. Read the rest

Happy Public Domain day! Here are the works entering the public domain in Canada and the EU, but not the USA, where the public domain is stagnant

When the USA decided to retroactively extend the term of copyright, it deprived itself of free, open access to important cultural treasures that new creators could build upon as creators have done since time immemorial. Read the rest

THEFT: A History of Music

It's been seven years since we previewed Theft: A History of Music, a comic book that explains the complicated history of music, borrowing, control and copyright, created by a dynamic duo of witty copyright law professors from Duke University as a followup to the greatest law-comic ever published: the book was due out years ago, but the untimely and tragic death of illustrator Keith Aoki delayed it -- until today.

Happy Public Domain Day: here's what American's don't get this year, thanks to retroactive copyright term extension

Jennifer Jenkins writes, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2017? Under the law that existed until 1978 -- Works from 1960. The books 'To Kill a Mockingbird' and 'Rabbit, Run' the films 'The Magnificent Seven' and 'The Time Machine' early episodes of 'The Flintstones' the musical 'Camelot' and more -- What is actually entering the public domain this January 1? Not a single published work." Read the rest

On Jan 1, awesome stuff will enter the public domain: HG Wells, Gertrude Stein, Buster Keaton, Walt Disney, Lenny Bruce (but not in the USA)

In much of the world, copyright ends 50 years after the creator's death, in some of the rest of the world, it ends 70 years after the creator's death; in the USA, things have stopped going into the public domain until 2019 (unless America decides to retroactively extend copyright...again!). Read the rest

Public Domain Day outside the USA: what Canada and the rest of the world get today


In the USA, laws passed in 1976 and 1998 ensure that virtually nothing ever enters the public domain, but it's a different story in the rest of the world -- for now, at least. Read the rest

Happy public domain day: here's what copyright term extension stole from you in 2015

When Congress amended US copyright law in 1976, they extended the copyrights on works whose creators had produced them with the promise of not more than 56 years. Since then, almost nothing has entered the US public domain. Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day: here are the works that copyright extension stole from you in 2015

Jennifer Jenkins writes, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2015? Under the law that existed until 1978 -- Works from 1958. The films 'Attack of the 50 Foot Woman,' 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' and 'Gigi,' the books 'Our Man in Havana,' 'The Once and Future King,' and 'Things Fall Apart,' the songs 'All I Have to Do Is Dream' and 'Yakety Yak,' and more -- What is entering the public domain this January 1? Not a single published work." Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day: works that would enter public domain today, but for copyright extension

Jennifer Jenkins from the Duke Center for the Public Domain writes, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2014? Under the law that existed until 1978 -- Works from 1957. The books 'On The Road,' 'Atlas Shrugged,' and 'The Cat in the Hat,' the films 'The Bridge on the River Kwai,' '12 Angry Men,' and 'Funny Face,' the musical 'West Side Story' and the songs 'All Shook Up' and 'Great Balls of Fire,' and more -- What is entering the public domain this January 1? Not a single published work." Read the rest

Public Domain Day 2014: bad times ahead, urgent action needed

It's Public Domain day again -- the day when music, books and movies enter the public domain in countries where copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years (hint: not the USA).

But as John Mark Ockerbloom points out, the list of life+50 countries keeps getting shorter, as more and more countries are arm-twisted into extending their copyright terms by the US Trade Representative. And increasingly, countries are passing regressive copyright laws that take works out of the public domain and put them back into copyright -- an insane policy that ends up criminalizing new art that incorporates the old, and that provides no new incentive to create (give Elvis or the Beatles 50 more years of copyright if you like, they're still not going to record any more music).

It's not all bad news: between the Hathi Trust lawsuit (which held it legal to scan old, in-copyright books under some circumstances) and the growth of Creative Commons licenses.

There's urgent work to be done. We need to fight copyright term extension, to expand fair use and fair dealing, increase access to orphan works, and discredit and destroy the new practice of making global copyright law through secretive treaty negotiations like the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, and the Open Knowledge Foundation are all working to bring copyright into line with the modern world, and to stop its from being used for censorship and surveillance. Read the rest

Happy contrafactual public domain day (what you've lost)

Jennifer Jenkins sez, "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2012? Under the law that existed until 1978... Works from 1955. Asimov's The End of Eternity, Nabokov's Lolita, the play Inherit the Wind, Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief, Disney's Lady and the Tramp, Rebel Without a Cause, The Seven Year Itch, the music for Blue Suede Shoes and Tutti Frutti, and Laurence Olivier's film version of Richard III... What is entering the public domain today? Nothing." Read the rest

Copyright turns 300

To commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Statute of Anne, the first modern copyright law, the British Council asked a lot of people with strong ideas about copyright, from the CEO of Random House to the founder of Wikipedia, to remark on what copyright is for and how it might be improved. Here's the short essay I contributed:

If there's one lie more corrosive to creativity above all others, it is the lie of romantic individual originality. Today, 'copyright curriculum' warns schoolchildren not to be 'copycats' - to come up with their own original notions.

We are that which copies. Three or four billion years ago, by some process that we don't understand, molecules began to copy themselves. We are the distant descendants of those early copyists - copying is in our genes. We have a word for things that don't copy: 'dead'.

Walk the streets of Florence and you'll find a 'David' on every corner: because for half a millennium, Florentine sculptors have learned their trade by copying (but try to take a picture of 'David' on his plinth and you'll be tossed out by a security guard who wants to end this great tradition in order to encourage you to buy a penny postcard).

I learned to write by copying. In 1977, when I was six, my father took me to 'Star Wars'. I couldn't figure out how a made-up story could be so exciting, so I went home, stapled some paper together and trimmed it to book size, and wrote out the story as best I remembered it, doing it over and over again as I strove to unpick it.

Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day 2009!

January 1 was Public Domain 2009 day -- the day on which the works of authors who died in 1938 entered the public domain in most countries. As in previous years, the Public Domain blog has a long and fascinating list of the authors whose works are finally free to be reprinted and spread around the world:

Some of the more interesting members of the 1938 class of deceased authors include:

Danish bacteriologist Hans Christian Gram (of Gram staining fame) British-Canadian author, conservationist, and literary fraud Archie Belaney (Grey Owl) Latvian-born ethnologist and musicologist Abraham Zevi Idelsohn (to whom the lyrics to “Hava Nagila” are attributed) American cartoonist E. C. Segar (creator of “Popeye”) American illustrator Johnny Gruelle (creator of “Raggedy Ann”) American lawyer Clarence Darrow (of “Scopes Monkey Trial” fame) American songwriter James Thornton (“When You Were Sweet Sixteen”, written in 1898) Japanese martial artist Kano Jigoro (founder of judo) American industrialist Harvey Samuel Firestone (of tire fame)

Public Domain Day 2009

(via Michael Geist) Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day!

Michael sez, "It's January 1st! Do you know what works are passing into the public domain in the life+50, and life+70 countries? Lots!

Here in the USA (where basically nothing published in 1923 or later will ever enter the public domain, to protect Disney's 'Steamboat Willie'), only unpublished works of the life+70 class of authors enter the public domain.

Whew. Thank goodness for small favors, right?. We can now expect the unpublished works of George Gershwin, H.P. Lovecraft, Amelia Earhart, J.M. Barrie, and John Davison Rockefeller (yeah right), among many others, to be free and clear of copyright encumbrances for those who wish to publish them.

Boy, unpublished works! Wow! After 70 years since they died, there must be lots of those hanging around, right? Right?"

John Mark Ockerbloom, online librarian, sez, "For this year's Public Domain Day, I'm blogging about both what the public domain can do for us, and what we can do for the public domain.

In particular, this is the first New Year's Day that's more than 14 years after the 1993 introduction of NCSA Mosaic, the browser that started the explosive growth of the World Wide Web. 14 years is also the initial term of copyright specified in the Statute of Anne and the US's first copyright law. So in honor of that, I'm dedicating the copyrights of the 1993 versions of my web sites, which include the still-going-strong Online Books Page, to the public domain. And I invite other Net old-timers to make similar dedications of their old online content." Read the rest

Happy Public Domain Day!

CopyrightWatch.ca has a list of creators whose works went into the public domain on Monday. In Canada and other countries where copyright lasts 50 years after death, this means creators who died in 1956. In the US and other life-plus-70 lands, this means creators who died in 1936. Their works are now the in the public domain. They are the shared property of the whole of humanity, to be preserved, enjoyed, remixed, and remembered without barrier, permission, let or restriction.

The list is humbling and amazing and exciting and it goes on for page after page. Humanity received a truly wonderful gift this January 1, Public Domain Day the world 'round.

Three years ago on this day, millions of pages of archival documents, whose authors had died before 1949, became public domain in Canada. This was the result of long-overdue amendments to the Copyright Act in 1998, which ended the perpetual copyright in unpublished “works.”

Unfortunately, there will not be another archival Public Domain Day for archivists, historians, genealogists, and others, to celebrate in Canada until January 1, 2049. This is because the short-sighted 1998 amendments to the Copyright Act also provided that the “works”, including historical documents, by “authors” who died between 1949 and 1998 inclusive, would have a copyright term fixed neither to the life of the author nor the creation of the work, but to the coming-into-force of the amendment. Those unpublished literary works – the raw material of history – whose authors died between 1949 and 1998, will not be public domain for nearly another half- century.

Read the rest

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