The works of William James Sidis, the "smartest man who ever lived"

Hans Henrik Honnens de Lichtenberg writes, "Here is a fine selection of books by the extraordinary man, William James Sidis. A January morning in 1910 hundreds of students and professors gathered in the great lecture hall at Harvard University. On stage steps up William James Sidis to present his research about the mathematics of the fourth dimension. William was just eleven years old. William James Sidis was a genius and he still has the highest IQ ever recorded, somewhere between 250 and 300." Read the rest

Some pretty impressive machine-learning generated poetry courtesy of GPT-2

GPT-2 is Open AI's language-generation model (last seen around these parts as a means of detecting machine-generated text); it's powerful and cool, and Gwern Branwen fed it the Project Gutenberg poetry corpus to see what kind of poetry it would write. Read the rest

Stock art for a new Gilded Age

From Spitalfields Life, a scanned set of "elegant cartoons of Regency bankers from 1824 by Richard Dighton in the archive at the Bishopsgate Institute testify," in the public domain and perfect for contemporary stock art for pieces about late-stage capitalism, clueless billionaires, the corrupting influence of wealth, and all those other zeitgeisty subjects. Read the rest

Video and audio from my closing keynote at Friday's Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain

On Friday, hundreds of us gathered at the Internet Archive, at the invitation of Creative Commons, to celebrate the Grand Re-Opening of the Public Domain, just weeks after the first works entered the American public domain in twenty years. Read the rest

Kickstarting a monthly zine that celebrates 1923 works that entered the public domain this year

This month, for the first time in a generation, America's public domain grew, as the 20-year freeze created by the 1998 changes to copyright law finally thawed. Read the rest

The re-opening of America's public domain is good news for artists, less so for the corporations that exploit them

With the public domain re-opening for the first time in a generation (thanks, Sonny Bono), artists are once again getting a fresh installment of raw material with which to make new art, in the grand traditions of such driven weirdo/remix enthusiasts as Walt Disney and Brahms. 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

Game design contest: remix America's new public domain!

This is the first day in 20 years for new works entering the American public domain, and to celebrate, Itch.io is hosting a 1923 public domain game jam, with prizes for best analog game, digital game, adaptation of a 9123 work, remix from multiple sources, deep cut, and visuals; judged by a group of archive, game and copyright nerds (including me!) -- here's a list of 1,000+ works that enter the public domain today to get you started! 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

Only weeks remain until America's Public Domain begins to grow again, for the first time in 21 years!

This New Year's Day, for the first time in 21 years, new works will enter the public domain in America: the Class of 2019 was all creating in 1923, and has been locked in copyright for 96 years. Read the rest

In just 7 months, the US public domain will get its first infusion since 1998

In 1998, the US Congress retroactively extended the copyright on US works, placing public domain works back into copyright and forestalling the entry into the public domain of a great mass of works that were soon to become public domain; now, 20 years later with no copyright term extension in sight, the US public domain is about to receive the first of many annual infusions to come, a great mass of works that will be free for all to use. Read the rest

Google Books does copyright right

Steven Melendez discovered some public domain government documents in Google Books that the service wouldn't let him download because they had been misclassified as copyrighted; he filled in an online form and less than a week later, a human had reviewed the documents, agreed that they had been misclassified and removed all restrictions. Read the rest

The Necronomicon pop-up book

Skinner, a "psychedelic nightmare painter," created a pop-up edition of HP Lovecraft's Necronomicon, available in a $50 Earth-Dweller edition and a $200 Elder God edition (with embossed foil casewrap, around a custom, laser-engraved acrylic slipcase and an art-print). Read the rest

Disney's 1998 copyright term extension expires this year and Big Content's lobbyists say they're not going to try for another one

In 1998, Disney led an entertainment industry lobbying effort that resulted in the term of copyright being extended by 20 years, even for works that had already been created -- a law with an incoherent basis, given that the US copyright system is constitutionally constrained to passing laws to promote new creative works (giving creators more copyright on works they've already created doesn't get them to make new ones, and it reduces the ability of new artists to remix existing works, the way Disney did with the Grimm's fairy tales). 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

An obscure copyright law is letting the Internet Archive distribute books published 1923-1941

Section 108h of the Copyright Act gives libraries the power to scan and serve copies of out-of-print books published between 1923 and 1941; it's never been used before but now the mighty Internet Archive is giving it a serious workout, adding them to their brilliantly named Sonny Bono Memorial Collection (when Bono was a Congressman, he tried to pass a law that would extend copyright to "forever less a day" and was instrumental in moving millions of works from the public domain back into copyright, "orphaning" them so that no one could preserve them and no one knew who the copyrights belonged to). Read the rest

NASA's revamped image and video library makes searching fun

Get ready to fall into a black hole of non-productivity once you open NASA's new Image and Video Library. Lots of great tags and captions to find what you want! Read the rest

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