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What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn't 309

An anonymous reader writes with an article from Duke Law on what would have entered the public domain today were it not for the copyright extensions enacted in 1978. From the article: "What could have been entering the public domain in the U.S. on January 1, 2013? Under the law that existed until 1978, works from 1956. The films Godzilla, King of the Monsters!, The Best Things in Life Are Free, Forbidden Planet, The Ten Commandments, and Around the World in 80 Days; the stories 101 Dalmations and Phillip K. Dick's The Minority Report; the songs 'Que Sera, Sera' and 'Heartbreak Hotel', and more. What is entering the public domain this year? Nothing." And Rick Falkvinge shares his predictions for what the copyright monopoly will try this year. As a bit of a music fan, excessive copyright hits home often: the entire discographies of many artists I like have been out of print for at least a decade. Should copyright even be as long as in the pre-1978 law? Is the Berne Convention obsolete and in need of breaking to actually preserve cultural history?
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What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn't

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  • by kthreadd ( 1558445 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @11:08AM (#42441427)
    Or we could ask the copyright holder to release it under such license. No need to force anyone.
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2013 @12:27PM (#42442021)

    There's another side of the coin, since that means that software protected under GPL would loose its protection,

    OMG! Evil corps like Apple would be able to grab all the GPLd pre-1956 UNIVAC apps and take them closed source!

    Developers would need to pay an annual fee just for the privilege of developing iUNIVAC apps in Objective Fortran. Apple would be skimming huge percentages off of all the apps in the Punchcard Store. Then Apple would probably give everyone compatibility headaches by unilaterally switching CPU architecture from UNIVAC to IBM 650. And for yet more planned obsolescence, they'll seal the mainframe cabinets in welded Lexan, so end users can't replace bad vacuum tubes.

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