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Public Domain Day 2014 225

Posted by timothy
from the or-not-so-much dept.
An anonymous reader 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, Empire of the Atom, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and 12 Angry Men, the article "Theory of Superconductivity," 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."
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Public Domain Day 2014

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:56PM (#45830093)

    See, if those works had entered the public domain, the private owners would never profit off of them.

    And that's very important you know. Look how much money that Atlas Shrugged movie made for Ayn Rand!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:03PM (#45830189)
      Please take your Socialist bullshit somewhere else. Without Atlas Shrugged, we would not have nearly the same amount of stiff resistance to the current administrations redistributionist anti-business agenda.
      • by zlives (2009072)

        +5 funny

      • YOu are so right! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:34PM (#45830521)

        If I weren't sooo lazy, I'd work a bit harder and BOOM! I'd be RICH! Why, if I weren't so lazy, I could get another job on top of my other two, and work some more! After all, I'm only working 80 hours a week and who needs sleep and recreation!

        And we all know that the billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Buffet and all them got where they are by working hard and being honest and forthright people! Anyone can do it!

        We all know that all it takes here in the states is to work hard and wealth is guaranteed! Well, if it weren't for the government regulations.

        I had a chemical disposal business and the fucking EEE, PEEE, AYE stopped me from disposing in the local trout stream! How the hell is one going to make a living with these communist basterds?! And this bullshit nonsense about children getting cancer and whatnot - why there's St. Judes to help them! Business and profits first and health and well being is just a socialist value! Anyway, cancer was created by socialists to punish the hard working creators and rewards the takers!

        And this bullshit of "you didn't build that!" why, the private sector could do just fine building roads and highways and edukating us!

        If you're poor, it's all because of your character! Yes sir! If you worked hard have decent values, you wouldn't be poor!

        Poor people have poor character and they are stupid! It's all their fault! If they would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps like I did, all would be well!

        I tell you, the values in this society have deteriorated. Way back when, those people would be left to starve - as they should - and it allowed for us makers to achieve and better society.

    • Ayn Rand is dead, so why the need for continued copyright on the book?

      • Reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated.

        (The original Twain quote probably is still under copyright, but that was "fair use", wasn't it?)

      • If Ayn Rand is still copyrighted, Rand Paul needs to change his first name.

        But wasn't there a band in the 80's named D'rand D'rand . . . ?

        • If Ayn Rand is still copyrighted, Rand Paul needs to change his first name.

          Nah, Rand Paul is (unintentional) parody and therefore Fair Use. ; )

      • by alexander_686 (957440) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @04:09PM (#45831949)

        I will bite. A fixed term for copyright is best.

        Copyright gives value to a work, value dictates price, and price allocates scarce resources. If copyright expired with the death of the author, works made by people who die tragically young are worth less than those who just keep on going. Works written by older people – who have less life – are worth less than younger people.

        There are older folks that I want to hear more of. There are older folks living off a one hit wonder from 50 years ago. This seems to me arbitrary and capricious. The value of a work should not be swayed by how much life is left in the author.

        • It's also bigoted to have life based terms. Any factor that has you living longer than other people on average, gender, ethnicity, social class, a number of medical conditions, even being right handed, creates further arbitrary bias.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      See, if those works had entered the public domain, the private owners would never profit off of them.

      I think the AC is going for "funny" but nobody OWNS a writing or a song or image. I don't own Nobots, I merely have a "limited" (for bizarre values of "limited") time monopoly.

      I control its publication, but I don't own it. Nobody does and nobody should.

  • Would it matter? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:56PM (#45830097)

    IIRC, U.S. courts recently decided that public-domain works could have their copyrights reinstated post facto.

    If anything from Disney did ever accidentally enter the public domain, Congress would fix that in short order.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I don't think that this is correct. I definitely couldn't find anything out there about it happening in the US. EU it seems this is the case though.

      And every so often there's something that slips through the cracks. It's not often, but it happens sometimes (the one I always remember is "Charade" (1963) which entered the public domain because Universal messed up their copyright notice for the film).

      • I believe he was referencing this recent story [boingboing.net] about the digitized copies of public-domain works being copyrighted by the digitizer.
        • by jandrese (485)
          That's not the same thing. It's a physical exclusivity agreement and does not use Copyright law. They're restricting physical access to the works for 10 years, not a copyright. If you already had a copy of a document in their archive it will still be in the Public Domain and you can do whatever you want with it. I agree that it's a pretty shitty situation for the public, but it's not a case of copyright being reasserted ex post facto. At least it's only for a decade and they're going to digitize all of
    • by compro01 (777531)

      Yup. Golan v. Holder [wikipedia.org].

    • IIRC, I think 1 or 2 books or cartons slipped made it through the cracks back in the 70s. Disney and the publishers had a discussion where Disney mentioned that they still owned the trademark on Mickey. Cash was exchanged, the old books pulped, and new books were issued without Disney or Mickey on the covers.

  • Sherlock Holmes (Score:5, Informative)

    by innocent_white_lamb (151825) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:58PM (#45830131)

    Actually, Sherlock Holmes is finally in the public domain. It took a court order to shake it loose, though.

    http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-new-sherlock-holmes-copyright-20131230,0,5610784.story [latimes.com]

    • by alen (225700)

      the latest 10 SH stories aren't in the public domain, only the earlier ones are

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @12:59PM (#45830137)

    At least we are safe from a bunch of pseudo-libertarian amateur filmmakers creating their own personal "Atlas Shrugged" movies.

    • by jandrese (485)
      Yes, we must leave this to the professional film makers who absolutely did not release two nearly unwatchable Atlas Shrugged movies already...
      • by crunchygranola (1954152) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:31PM (#45831081)

        Yes, we must leave this to the professional film makers who absolutely did not release two nearly unwatchable Atlas Shrugged movies already...

        They are simply being true to their source material. An unreadable book should translate to an unwatchable movie.

        • Re:it keeps us safe (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:52PM (#45831285)

          I have found that those most critical of Ayn Rand, and Atlas Shrugged in particular, have typically never read it. While it's a mildly interesting dystopian future novel, I've never fully understood either the praise or criticism it receives. For example you call it "unreadable", but I found it quite readable. It needed a better editor to trim out the fat, but you could say that about any James Michener novel as well. Her characters are one dimensional, especially the antagonists of the novel. That is probably my biggest gripe. Meanwhile some people seem to treat it like the Bible or similar. I read it once, and that was enough for me. I don't take my political ideology from novelists. I certainly don't pick and choose my reading material based on the ravings of left wing and right wing lunatics. So I can't understand how it is so influential, unless those who criticize it fear what it represents, and those who praise it can't think for themselves.

          • by jandrese (485)
            50 page monologues are what make the book unreadable. The terrible characterization is just a cherry on top.
          • by Dishevel (1105119)
            When something scares you it can not be just in your opinion wrong. It must be evil incarnate. You can not just disagree with the premise but the words themselves must be wiped from history.

            I have read the book and watched both movies. I believe that Ayn Rand was wrong and right. Pure 100 percent capitalism is not a wonder drug. But regulations are wielded by the politically connected to the detriment of innovation on a fairly constant basis. When you do to much for the lazy at the expense of the drivers

          • Her characters are one dimensional, especially the antagonists of the novel.

            She was a Russian writer. Characters are meant to illustrate IDEAS, not be "real people".

            • Characters are meant to illustrate IDEAS

              English plurals have ambiguities: did you mean "each character illustrates one idea" or "each character illustrates ideas"? Either way, ideas are like onions in that they have layers. So if you have an ogre character with ideas, your ogre likewise needs to have layers.

          • I have found that those most critical of Ayn Rand, and Atlas Shrugged in particular, have typically never read it...

            Really? How did you determine that? Or are you just assuming?

            It is probably accurate to say the those most critical of Ayn Rand, and Atlas Shrugged in particular, have typically never finished it. I fall into that category. I got 10% of the way through, is that not enough punishment? It is one of the longest novels ever published by a regular publisher in English (perhaps the fifth longest) with 645,000 words (and fewer than 100 characters), about 80,000 more than War and Peace (which I had no trouble finis

            • Atlas Shrugged [has] 645,000 words (and fewer than 100 characters), about 80,000 more than War and Peace

              And both have more words than The Lord of the Rings (481k), which is so long it initially had to be split into three volumes.

  • He's buried here.. [tripadvisor.com]

    You can go and hire Ms. Cleo [youtube.com] and do a seance and complain to him since he sponsored the legislation. [wikipedia.org]

    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:24PM (#45830419)

      He's buried here.. [tripadvisor.com]

      You can go and hire Ms. Cleo [youtube.com] and do a seance and complain to him since he sponsored the legislation. [wikipedia.org]

      See, even the trees opposed copyright extension.

    • Here's an idea: amend the constitution so any law whose authors die automatically expires. Congress would have its hands full re-passing only useful laws and junk statutes that forbid whistling at ladies after midnight would be long-gone.
      • by weilawei (897823)
        It's not a bad idea to place a time limit on laws. That will really emphasize repassing the ones that matter (e.g, not murdering people, or not hauling them off without a warrant to be tried in absentia in a secret court under secret laws). I'd like to see it also applied per clause or something, so we don't simply repass The Big Book of Laws Law. Also, tying it to a person's lifetime is unsafe. Think of the corporations!
  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:00PM (#45830157) Journal

    The books On The Road, Atlas Shrugged, ..., and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Incredible Shrinking Man

    "Hurry!" Dagny Taggart moaned. "Before he gets any smaller!"

    The strange cat in the hat grabbed the incredible shrinking man, who struggled mightily, but, being the size of a Barbie doll, could put up little resistance. "I'm gay, don't do this to me!"

    "Tough shit, little man! I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” He took him and and slowly eased him feet first up ins

    GOD DAMN IT, this stuff is not public domain. Nevermind.

  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:01PM (#45830159)

    It may still be illegal to download these things, but it's now much more difficult to argue that it's unethical to do so. Distributing these works should be considered an act of civil disobedience.

    • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:29PM (#45830463)

      At least for Christians, it may be unethical to ignore bad copyright rules. In the Christian New Testament, St. Peter's first letter contains this passage:

      "Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."

      A noteworthy thing here is that the letter carves out no exception regarding stupidly justified laws. (There are plenty of other places in the Bible that make it clear that it's okay for followers of God to disobey evil laws, however.)

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Nobody gives a damn what god has to say on the topic of copyright.

        The creation myths in the bible were cribbed from the Babylonians, and the rest is just the collected works of a bunch of old men who wanted to control the masses.

        You're essentially citing fairy tales as a basis for modern law.

        Get over it.

        • You need to slow down and reread my post. Nothing in it is significantly contingent on whether or not the Bible is true.

          • by Dishevel (1105119)
            You used the bible. It matters not what you meant by it. Someone may come by and be intriguedd by its words and read some of it.

            This can not be allowed. Every mention of the bible in a "Non explicitly evil and/or stupid" context must be squashed.

            You can see all the little PC Nazis running toward you ready to attack.

      • by DutchUncle (826473) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:05PM (#45830819)
        Did you just violate copyright on the Bible??????
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by mcgrew (92797) *

        No. The Constitution clearly states the reason for patent and copyright (to get people to produce more works for the public domain) and states "for limited times". a lifetime plus 95 years is in no way limited, and there's no way to convince Jimi Hendrix to make any more music.

        The Constitution is the law of the land and the Bono Act breaks that law (yes, I know of the bullshit Lessig verdict). Therefore, NOT practicing civil disobedience is immoral (religion deals with morality, not ethics). Yes, it makes n

        • Too bad I don't have any moderator points, I'd have given you an informative. I haven't been on slashdot recently so maybe that's why I have no points, but I strongly suspect I had some metamoderators mod down some of my past moderations in a rather controversial article I decided to moderate. If only we had meta-meta-moderation, I think I'd still have had a point left to give you. Too bad.

        • The Constitution clearly states the reason for patent and copyright (to get people to produce more works for the public domain) and states "for limited times". a lifetime plus 95 years is in no way limited, and there's no way to convince Jimi Hendrix to make any more music.

          Indeed. The original copyright laws passed in the U.S. right after the Constitution was written allowed for a 14-year term of copyright, with an optional 14-year renewal. It wasn't until 1909 that it reached the 28+28 years formula used in TFA.

          Following the original 1790 copyright statute, everything up to 1985 should now be in the public domain -- John Irving's Cider House Rules, James Michener's Texas, Carl Sagan's Contact, and movies like Back to the Future, The Color Purple, Out of Africa, and The G

      • For Christians, the word of Jesus is important.

        Peter, not so much. Unless you're Catholic, of course, then Peter deserves a lot more attention.

        Alas, all too many modern Christians (and non-Christians) pay less attention to the words of Jesus and more to the later commentary than they should.

    • by fermion (181285)
      I argue that these less liberal copyright laws, along with changes in technology, are really the reason why kids today have little respect for copyright law. Some argue that the ability to sell ones work is an basic right, but really it is something we set in law to help and encourage creation of derivative works, as something that is completely new is quite rare. A compromise between a reality where things are chopped and screwed to maximize creation and where a producer can exclusively benefit economica
    • Nice. In other words, it's now ethical to break any law you happen to disagree with.
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:06PM (#45830215)

    I think the universe would implode.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:09PM (#45830251)

    Thanks to Disney and others, the very idea of works EVER entering the public domain will eventually become a relic.

    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:34PM (#45830517)

      I don't know who the fuck modded this down (Disney fan maybe??), but I'm dead serious. Back in the day, I used to teach my students the in-and-outs of copyright law (75 years plus, or whatever the hell the law happened to be at any given time). But since the 90's, I just tell them that anything that anything published from 1923 onwards will always be under copyright.

    • by dkleinsc (563838) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:43PM (#45830623) Homepage

      And the real irony is that Disney built its animated empire on stories in the public domain:
      - Snow White? Grimm's Fairy Tales.
      - Pinocchio? Carlo Collodi, 1880.
      - Fantasia? Classical music from the public domain. The highlight, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, is from Goethe in 1798.
      - Bambi? Nope, they stole that one too, from a 1923 work of Felix Salten
      - Cinderella? That was written about 1700.
      - Alice in Wonderland? Lewis Carroll, of course.

      Basically, if it's a "Disney princess", they almost definitely stole the character from somewhere else.

      • And the real irony is that Disney built its animated empire on stories in the public domain:
        - Snow White? Grimm's Fairy Tales.
        - Pinocchio? Carlo Collodi, 1880.
        - Fantasia? Classical music from the public domain. The highlight, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, is from Goethe in 1798.
        - Bambi? Nope, they stole that one too, from a 1923 work of Felix Salten
        - Cinderella? That was written about 1700.
        - Alice in Wonderland? Lewis Carroll, of course.

        Basically, if it's a "Disney princess", they almost definitely stole the character from somewhere else.

        Disclaimer: I am a Disney fan. However, I am willing to admit that Disney has hypocritically played both sides of the aisle here in milking public domain when it suited them (Snow White now practically belongs to them, for example) and crying loudly for copyright protection for their original material about to enter the public domain, but your examples are not 100% accurate.

        Fantasia contains "Rite Of Spring" which was composed by Igor Stravinski and should have been under copyright at the time (the fi

      • by i.r.id10t (595143)

        So should public domain status be "viral" like the GPL ? The actual performance of the work (speaking the words as well as the animation) and the recording thereof is what is copyrighted, not the actual story. Should derivative works automatically become public domain (and only public domain, no "cross licensing")?

      • by dryeo (100693)

        Don't forget The Jungle Book, which they published about one day (I'm only slightly exaggerating) after it entered the public domain to avoid paying the estate of Kipling (or whoever owned the rights.)

      • The Disney version. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @05:08PM (#45832413)

        And the real irony is that Disney built its animated empire on stories in the public domain
        - Bambi? Nope, they stole that one too, from a 1923 work of Felix Salten

        It is never wise to take anything a geek says about Disney at face value.

        In 1933, Sidney Franklin, a producer and director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, purchased the film rights to Felix Salten's novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods, intending to adapt it as a live-action film. After years of experimentation, he eventually decided that it would be too difficult to make such a film and he sold the film rights to Walt Disney in April 1937. Disney began work on crafting an animated adaptation immediately, intending it to be the company's second feature-length animated film and their first to be based on a specific, recent work.

        Bambi [wikipedia.org]

        Philip Pullman's Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version [amazon.com] retells fifty of these classic tales in a four hundred page book. Call it eight pages on average per story.

        That is barely enough material to sustain a one-act stage play.

        The truth is that the adaptation becomes memorable through its embellishments, its richness in detail. ''Hansel & Gretel'' at Columbia Marionette Theatre: A Sweet Artistic Triumph [jaspercolumbia.net]

        It isn't a generic Sleeping Beauty the geek wants to appropriate from Disney, it is Maleficent. [youtube.com]

    • Which is funny since Disney made their fortune remaking stories that were already in the Public Domain:
      Cinderella
      Sleeping Beauty
      Snow White
      Beauty and the Beast
      Frozen ...

      The list goes on.

  • by maverickgunn (3480787) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @01:18PM (#45830345)

    The entire purpose of copyright was to serve as an incentive for creators to add to the public wealth of knowledge and art. It was mutually beneficial: they get public protection for their work, and the public receives high quality art.

    The corruption of copyright by the likes of Disney and other mega-conglomerates has polluted that purpose. Now, copyright is a legal bludgeon used to deprive the public of its culture while perpetually forcing them to pay to get it back.

    If they want perpetual ownership of their work, they should lose any public or legal protections of it: it's quid pro quo, and if they are unwilling to hold up their end, they should be required to hold up both.

    • by tomhath (637240)

      The entire purpose of copyright was to serve as an incentive for creators to add to the public wealth of knowledge and art. It was mutually beneficial: they get public protection for their work, and the public receives high quality art.

      The primary purpose of copyright was to ensure that the creators could profit from their work for a reasonable length of time, then the work would enter the public domain so others can use or extend it. I agree that current copyright laws don't serve that purpose very well; the concept needs to be modernized to accommodate corporations which can exist for hundreds of years as well as individuals. More like trademark than copyright.

      • The primary purpose of copyright was to ensure that the creators could profit from their work for a reasonable length of time, then the work would enter the public domain so others can use or extend it.

        No.

        The primary purpose of copyright is to serve the public interest in advancing the progress of science. The means by which it functions involves giving authors a chance to profit (it's far from ensured; in fact most never make a cent from their copyrights and never will) but its a big mistake to confuse the means with the ends.

        I agree that current copyright laws don't serve that purpose very well; the concept needs to be modernized to accommodate corporations which can exist for hundreds of years as well as individuals. More like trademark than copyright.

        That would just make things worse. We need to seriously reduce the scope and duration of copyright. It's grown so bloated that authors would barely notice any effects of this, but t

    • by CastrTroy (595695)
      On the other hand, in the old days, copyrighted works would basically disappear after a certain period of time. Without a way to flawlessly record and maintain books, music, and movies, works would inevitably be lost, or of poor quality, so people needed new works to be produced, or there would be no copyrighted works. Now that all copyrighted works are able to be stored in a way that stops any of their original quality from being lost, things have changed a bit. the original copyright terms were 14 (17??)
      • I'm thinking that 75 years (or whatever it's at now) is probably too high, but if the number was set too low, then we'd have a similar problem that we now have with piracy, where there's so much work freely available, that people don't bother paying for the new stuff.

        You may wish to double-check your figures on the profits of the culture industry. It may be shocking, after the bullshit spewed by the RIAA, MPAA, etc., but they are making a hell of a lot of money despite piracy. There is also a substantial amount of research that suggests those who pirate more also legally purchase more when it comes to media.

      • Without a way to flawlessly record and maintain books, music, and movies, works would inevitably be lost, or of poor quality, so people needed new works to be produced, or there would be no copyrighted works.

        Umm, not really. I work on a regular basis with old books (with include music manuscripts too) that are hundreds of years old, some over a thousand. Parchment required killing lots of animals to make a manuscript; paper books were also quite expensive until the 1900s. Anything that was valued enough to be written down at all was meant to last. And by the time that movies became very popular, copyright terms were 56 years (28+28), whereas movie fads changed so rapidly that a lot of early films from the 1

      • Artistic works are created regardless if there is an economic incentive or not. No one payed you any money when you doodled stuff in high school. No one is paying 4 year olds to play with crayons. No on is paying the thousands of amatuer muscians involved in bands and choirs. There is no copyright on jokes and people still make them. There is already enough artistic works in the world that no new works need to be created. People want new art because new art is part of new culture. People want to watch Game
      • Without a way to flawlessly record and maintain books, music, and movies, works would inevitably be lost, or of poor quality, so people needed new works to be produced, or there would be no copyrighted works.

        What the hell are you talking about?

        We've always been able to flawlessly copy books. We haven't always done enough of it, but we've always been able to. And music and movies can generally be preserved and reproduced fairly well if some care is taken.

        Copyright interferes with the preservation and reproduction of works by imposing additional costs on archivists and outright impeding copying and distribution.

        We put up with it, to the extent that we do, because we hope that it will spur the creation and distrib

    • by dryeo (100693)

      And it was a battle between the elected House of Commons who wanted to have copyright as eternal (the book publishers at this time invented the fiction that it was for the authours) and the unelected House of Lords who didn't and eventually won out with the 14+14 year compromise for "The Advancement of Learning" as the original copyright act included in its title. This is a good example of the problems with (representative) democracy.

    • The buggy Slashdot mod system made me mod "overrated" by accident.
      This post will undo it.

  • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Tuesday December 31, 2013 @02:33PM (#45831111)
    The best argument I've heard for changing the laws dealing with public domain in the USA is that in these days of federal budget cutting and decreasing spending, if these copyrights are so valuable then why are they being renewed for free automatically? It would seem logical to make a change where those who want their copyrights to be extended could pay a fee, perhaps fairly large, and fill out some paperwork to get the copyright renewed. If they forget to fill out the forms in time and pay the fee in time, too bad. That's how it was some years ago. If you forgot to renew your copyright in time, you lost it. Congress could enact a sliding scale where the renewal fee increases exponentially. For example, say that all works get an original copy right period of 50 years. Then if renewal is desired, the copyright holder could pay $500,000 for a renewal period of 10 years. If they want the works renewed at the end of that period for another 10 years, the fee goes up to $5 million. The next 10 year period is $50 million. The one after that is $500 million, then $5 billion and so on. Eventually the cost will get prohibitive that nobody will pay it any more and works will enter the public domain. I really do not get how if these works are so valuable that they must be renewed that Congress has to let it be done for free and virtually forever. Unfortunately to date the US Supreme Court has basically ruled "We're not saying that we think that extending copyright is a great idea, but the Constitution does permit it. As long as the termination date is less than 'never', any extension is probably legal." Why is Congress giving away money in renewal fees if these works are truly so valuable that they must remain in copyright longer?
  • I'd like to see copyright law changed to make orphaned works available to the public. A simple way to do that would be to require a periodic registration (with fee) after an initial implicit registration period. For example, works that are over 20 years old would need to be registered every 5 years at a cost of $100 or they would revert to public domain. Then, services which make public domain works available online would be able to access the registry to determine whether an old work is in the public do

  • I see a parallel with the Snowden revelations of an out-of-control national security apparatus, which has created a vigorous and still growing push-back against flagrant abuse of the the government's powers (search warrants anyone?).

    The corruption of the law and legal process by corporations to create a copyright regime that defies the U.S. Constitution* has created a widespread (and growing) view that copyright as it now stands is simply wrong - it is straight-out theft of public property for private gain.

  • If those go public domain, every Ron Paulite will be posting them everywhere.

    We will die in a flood of one-dimensional characters and cardboard-cutout dilemmas.

    Please make sure they never get into the public domain.

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