Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Media United States Your Rights Online

What Would Have Entered the Public Domain Tomorrow? 331

Posted by timothy
from the alas-'twas-not-to-be dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Duke's Center for the Study of the Public Domain about items that would enter the public domain starting on January 1, 2010, if not for copyright extenions: "'Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe's Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson's Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney's Peter Pan, The Crucible'... 'How ironic that Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, with its book burning firemen, was published in 1953 and would once have been entering the public domain on January 1, 2010. To quote James Boyle, "Bradbury's firemen at least set fire to their own culture out of deep ideological commitment, vile though it may have been. We have set fire to our cultural record for no reason; even if we had wanted retrospectively to enrich the tiny number of beneficiaries whose work keeps commercial value beyond 56 years, we could have done so without these effects. The ironies are almost too painful to contemplate.""
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

What Would Have Entered the Public Domain Tomorrow?

Comments Filter:
  • the next step (Score:5, Informative)

    by Speare (84249) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:14PM (#30610832) Homepage Journal

    This is an excellent idea, to continually point out what we're losing out in the reneged Copyright bargain. The next step, for those with far less imagination than our own, is to point out the kinds of successful artistic endeavors can stand on the shoulders of the culture that has entered public domain. Point out that if powerful Copyright had prevailed earlier, then without heirs' approval, we would not have such works as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The West Side Story (adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliette), and many adaptations of The Raven including The Simpsons. What kind of legal pain happens when protected works stifle creative adaptation? Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind was retold from the slaves' point of view in The Wind Done Gone, long after Mitchell died; the heirs sued over its publication and finally took a payoff to allow an 'unauthorized parody' label on it (which is ironic, as 'parody' is one of the four valid branches of copyright infringement defense).

  • by maxume (22995) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:30PM (#30610940)

    You can buy it for a good deal less than a politician, so I'm not sure you want to read it all that badly:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0316769509/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used [amazon.com]

  • Re:14+14 years (Score:2, Informative)

    by Andorin (1624303) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:32PM (#30610946)
    If a work is still making money after 28 years, it's been an enormous success already.
  • Voice vote (Score:3, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:41PM (#30611004) Homepage Journal
    The Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 passed in both houses by voice vote. Under the U.S. Constitution, it takes either one-fifth of either house or a presidential veto in order to force a roll-call vote. So I guess you have to vote against anyone who served in the 105th Congress.
  • Out of print works (Score:5, Informative)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples.gmail@com> on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:46PM (#30611018) Homepage Journal

    The tone of the submitter was as if the works had some how died or at least been banned from distribution.

    A copyright owner who takes a work out of print effectively bans it from distribution. You can prove me wrong by showing me evidence of an authentic U.S. DVD release of Disney's Song of the South. Works whose copyright owner cannot be located are also banned from distribution.

    Without traditional distribution and funding most of these works either would have never existed in the first place or had never been released for the public.

    The works were first published when the statutory maximum copyright term for a new work was 56 years, with a maintenance fee due in the 28th year. How would Congress's failure to extend the copyright term in 1976 and 1998 have caused these works not to have been published in the 1950s?

  • by Rockoon (1252108) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:57PM (#30611096)
    It would thus cost $1000 to get the original unextended 14 years.

    It would cost $111,000 to attain the 28 years "legacy length"

    49 years would cost $111,111,000.. and some copyrights would be extended this long.

    only a couple would ever be extended to 63 years ($11,111,111,000)

    It is unlikely that any would be extended to 77 years (over a trillion dollars)
  • by Andorin (1624303) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @07:58PM (#30611102)

    One of the arguments of Dr. Seuss Enterprises in favor of copyright term extension was that a work's author deserves the exclusive right over adaptations in media invented after the publication of the original work, like the CG-film version of Horton Hears a Who.

    Then why can't we grant a different copyright to the new adaptation? If I write a book and then make a movie based on the book in sixty years, it shouldn't affect the book's copyright.

  • by DaveV1.0 (203135) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:00PM (#30611108) Journal

    James Boyle, "Bradbury's firemen at least set fire to their own culture out of deep ideological commitment, vile though it may have been. We have set fire to our cultural record for no reason;

    We have not "set fire to our cultural record". The firemen in Bradbury's story systematically destroyed works to remove them from the culture. There is no such destruction and/or removal of works from our culture. There is a limiting of the works for the benefit of the copyright holders, but the works still exist and are accessible. The works are even available at lending libraries.

    His statement is not a fallacy. It is an outright lie.

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Informative)

    by headkase (533448) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:10PM (#30611178)
    Late to the thread, anyway here is the obligatory read concerning copyrights (short read, 1.5 pages): Melancholy Elephants [spiderrobinson.com] by Spider Robinson. Basically, to protect all the artists some must be disadvantaged. The some fight tooth and nail to prevent this. Being disadvantaged is having your work enter the public domain. The "all" who are protected are the artists of today, tomorrow, and forever who get to use ideas to resurrect, reinvent, or just plain re-do. Give all artists these protections and all of us in the wider society benefit, thrive, and grow.
  • by SEE (7681) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:14PM (#30611208) Homepage

    Who's printed as the copyright holder in the book itself?

  • by spottedkangaroo (451692) * on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:29PM (#30611312) Homepage
    AFAIK, that section is interpreted (sadly SCOTUS has more of a say in this than you do) to mean criminal law and has no bearing in civil law -- which is what we're talking about here.
  • by broken_chaos (1188549) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:45PM (#30611402)

    Most authors retain the copyright to their own works (unlike anyone involved with music or movies). Chances are your great-great grandmother held the original copyright, and it's now held by her estate or a descendant. I'm not very familiar with how wills work, but, if it wasn't explicitly mentioned, it probably passed to her husband or child(ren) when she died. It's likely still in your family, somewhere.

    If you can track down your great-great grandmother's will (and possibly the wills of those who her possessions went to, you can probably figure it out with a little work.

  • by Nikker (749551) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:48PM (#30611412)
    It is not about meerly watching something without their permission we have already nailed that down, it is about being able to experiment with them and showing them to the public that is what we have never been able to do.
  • by gweeks (91403) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:49PM (#30611418) Homepage

    Exactly when and where was it published. If it was published in the US prior to 1964 it still required a renewal. If it wasn't renewed it's in the public domain.

  • Re:Cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @08:51PM (#30611436)
    Exactly. And its really odd that Disney has been so strongly for copyright extensions yet its entire classic film library is public domain tales. Lets see, based on a Wiki list: Snow White, Pinocchio, Bambi, Cinderella, Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, Some parts of Davie Crockett, Sleeping Beauty, Swiss Family Robinson and many, many, many, many, many other films are all based off of public domain books. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Disney_Films [wikipedia.org] has a list if you would like to see)
  • by headkase (533448) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:22PM (#30611620)
    Sonny Bono [wikipedia.org], arguably instrumental in the passage of the latest copyright extension act was killed in a skiing accident.
  • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @09:29PM (#30611648)

    Any legislator that voted for these retroactive extensions should be arrested.

    Fixed that.

    US Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, paragraph 3:

    "No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed."

    Congress broke the biggest law.

    Not to mention making a mockery or the "limited time" phrase in Art. I, Sect. 8.

  • Re:Cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Thursday December 31, 2009 @10:50PM (#30611978)

    And its really odd that Disney has been so strongly for copyright extensions yet its entire classic film library is public domain tales

    Disney copyrights - and can only copyright - its own take on these stories. The jazz age Princess and the Frog, for exampe.

    Mary Martin's Peter Pan is in print on DVD. Rogers & Hammerstein's original 1957 television production of Cinderella, Wallace Beery's Treasure Island.

    There are countless other examples.

    Disney's sources were never entirely public domain:

    Dumbo published 1939. Bambi, first English edition, 1928, 101 Dalmations, 1957.

  • Re:Offensive (Score:3, Informative)

    by geminidomino (614729) * on Thursday December 31, 2009 @11:05PM (#30612064) Journal

    You just got trolled hard.

Today's scientific question is: What in the world is electricity? And where does it go after it leaves the toaster? -- Dave Barry, "What is Electricity?"

Working...