How Putting James Joyce's Ulysses Into The Public Domain Will Breathe New Life Into Joyce's Work

from the the-public-domain-is-important dept

We've been hearing copyright maximalists lately talking nonsense about how bad the public domain is, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. So it may be interesting to see that, over in Ireland, people are expecting a newfound excitement for the works of James Joyce after Ulysses goes into the public domain there next year (though, not in the US). The Joyce estate has been infamously stingy in terms of letting anyone make use of Ulysses. Perhaps the most notable effort by grandson Stephen Joyce was to block all public readings of Ulysses, especially at the various "Bloomsday" celebrations, based on the book, which are supposed to be a celebration of Joyce's life, but which have been notoriously limited by the estate, other than a single reading on Bloomsday which happens (of course) at the "James Joyce Centre." So many Joyce fans are really quite excited about no longer having any such restrictions next year, and are looking forward to being able to properly celebrate Bloomsday. The end result, of course, will be renewed life breathed into Joyce's work. What a shame that his own estate has restricted the use of the work for so long.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 6:26am

    Now I can work on my homage! I'm going to re-tell Ulysses, except with an ancient Greek hero who gets lost at sea on his way home.

     

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  2.  
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    Call me Al, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    That will never catch on.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    "except with an ancient Greek hero who gets lost at sea on his way home."

    Must be quite an odyssey. What will you call it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re:

    I vote for "Odd At Sea"....

     

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  5.  
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    Jim D (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:46am

    Re:

    If you write it, I'll create a cartoon series centered around a lovable idiot names Marcus

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I was thinking "Odd, Is He?"

     

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  7.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re:

    Awesome! Can I be voiced by H. Jon Benjamin with an annoying sidekick voiced by Dana Synder?

     

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  8.  
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    Ricky B, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:07am

    Re:

    Wow thats given me a great idea for a retelling about a Spaceship captain who gets lost in space on his way home. There'd be blue people and some sort of robot.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What about:

    "Oh! The sea!"

    (Try saying that really fast)

     

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  10.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    in an Irish accent...

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    USELESS!!!!

     

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  12.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:46am

    Should

    Joyce should have gone PD in 1992 - but for European copyright extensions.

    I remember that when this was mooted in the UK a lot of play was made of the fact that Great Ornmond St children's hospital was about to lose its Peter Pan income when JM Barrie's copyrights expired. Of course what SHOULD have happened at that point is that some other public spirited rightsholder should have made a new donation to replace the expired one - but funnily enough that idea never crossed anyone's mind - I wonder why? Instead we got 20 years more copyright on EVERYTHING. Thankfully Barrie's copyrights have now been allowed to expire - and a replacement has been commissioned - but it would have been better if this had happened the first time (even better if another estblished author had followed Barrie's lead - are you listening JK Rowling?)

     

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  13.  
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    Richard (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re: Should

    Actually some rights to Peter Pan have been granted in perpetuity - but once again - how much better to simply let these rights lapse in the natural way - and replace them with a more recent work (perhaps an author could make a new rights donation on condition that the perpetual copyright on PP be repealed. (JK Rowling..??)

     

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  14.  
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    HothMonster, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Id watch this but try to get Janine Ditullio while your at it

     

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  15.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 9:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good call. I should have clarified: under no circumstances is my cartoon being produced by anyone other than Brendon Small :)

     

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  16.  
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    HothMonster, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 10:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mr. Small is a busy man you might want to try Tom Snyder, he doesn't have a lot on his plate these days and could probably still land H. Jon.

     

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  17.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Pfft... okay, not a bad option. But if we're being realistic about it then I don't imagine H. Jon has a lot of free time either. It's my fantasy cartoon and it's being produced by Brendon Small goddamnit! David X. Cohen would also be acceptable.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    There will probably be a very short term boost from all the public domain supporters rallying around the flag, but given a short period of time, it will join the millions of other works in the public domain that are basically ignored, except for academic study.

    Would you care to list all the other works that have made it to the public domain in the last 10 years and have become sudden successes? I doubt you can find many.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Marcus' "Dr. Homerama" it is

    I look forward to imagining the first episode.

     

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  20.  
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    Dave, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    Would you care to list all the other works that have made it to the public domain in the last 10 years and have become sudden successes?

    LOL!! Trick question! Nothing is entering the public domain for another 8 years and nothing has entered the PD for 12. Even the works in question are still copyrighted here in the US, so can it really be considered PD? Nice try, though.

    A better one would be to list the successes that are currently in the PD, but there are too many of those for your troll to be successful.

     

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  21.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Wow thats given me a great idea for a retelling about a Spaceship captain who gets lost in space on his way home. There'd be blue people and some sort of robot.

    I think I saw that one already...something called Voyager or something like that. Good series, lasted like 8 years or something, but I hated the ending. The captain was a babe in like the 60s or 70s, but she also was a medicine woman in another shows set to the 1800s, and that show sucked, just like the ending of Voyager.

    What were we talking about again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:29pm

    Re:

    Here's a better exercise. Look at some of the things that would have gone into the public domain this year were it not for retroactive copyright extensions:

    http://www.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/pre1976

    Do you think we would suddenly start ignoring LoTR, Waiting for Godot, Horton Hears a Who and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof?

    Do you think that those works would become value-less? Do you doubt that there are people out there who would find amazing (and lucrative) new things to do with those works once they entered public domain?

    If so, you must not have a particularly innovative mind...

     

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  23.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Re:

    it will join the millions of other works in the public domain that are basically ignored, except for academic study.

    Man, you are so right here. Back when I was in my first year of college, I argued with my English Lit professor about a bunch of books he made us read and write reports on (yeah, the first year of college here is much like high school...you have to get through it and then you can study what you want.)

    He gave us the list of works from long dead authors, and I argued with him that you just cannot find those works any more, because they are along with the millions of other works in the public domain that are basically ignored.

    Didn't work out so well for me...he still made me read those books, some guy named Homer wrote a bunch, and another guy named Shakespeare. And guys like Doyle, Twain, Dickens, Poe, Carroll, Verne, Wilde, Kipling, and Austen. Man, I couldn't find any of those books anywhere, so I thought the teacher was a jerk.

    The public domain is so overrated. Nothing worthwhile in that collection. Jeesh, even hollywood knows that, as they don't even touch the public domain to pull any good current movies out of it. I mean, you can really only make one version of Romeo and Juliet or Tristen and Isolde before people get tired and move on...and Robin Hood sucked so bad they never even made that one into a movie.

    Yup....the public domain is a waste. It should continue to be ignored like the cesspool it is.

     

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  24.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am becoming increasingly sad that this fantasy is not a reality... we can drop my involvement altogether - now I just want to see those guys collaborate on a cartoon!

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Re:

    We don't start ignoring them, but I also didn't see any great rush to embrace them either.

    True innovative minds wouldn't lose time on trivial things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    HothMonster, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Sorry it already got dropped by Fox after 6 episodes of the first season. Hopefully Comedy Central or Adult Swim will pick it up in a few years. It was a great show while it lasted.


    (its sad that even in my mind fox cancels all the best shows)

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "What were we talking about again?"

    Smurf's Christmas Space Adventure

     

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  28.  
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    Dave, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yep! You are absolutely right! That's why no true Scotsman will ever do anything with the public domain. I dare anyone to try to find a fallacy in our logic.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    True innovative minds wouldn't lose time on trivial things.

    Trivial things like the play that defined absurdist drama? The novels that defined the entire genre of fantasy? The best-known play by America's best-known playwright? One of the most beautifully allegorical works of one of the most beloved children's authors?

    You have a weird definition of "trivial"

     

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  30.  
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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    They are backing Bob's Burgers with a second season and a juicy time slot - so maybe they are learning.

     

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  31.  
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    dwg, Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ah! Da Sea!

     

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  32.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 9th, 2011 @ 4:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Smurf's Christmas Space Adventure

    At least it wasn't the Star Wars Christmas Special...that show sucked.

     

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  33.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Did you just mix up Kate Mulgrew and Jane Seymour? I'm kinda confused.

     

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  34.  
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    ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 10th, 2011 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you just mix up Kate Mulgrew and Jane Seymour? I'm kinda confused.

    Yup.

    I know, they don't even look like each other...not by a long shot...but both shows were running around the same time, and on more than a few occasions when I would say something about Voyager -- someone would bring up that they liked her in Dr. Quinn, which always got me miffed. Jane Seymour is a great actress, but she isn't Kate Mulgrew (who I think was the best choice for that role in Voyager, unlike the choice of Avery Brooks for Deep Space 9 -- great actor, but poor actor for that role and I never really liked the character because he was too two-dimensional.)

    Tongue was surely stitched in cheek for that one. I saw Dr Quinn maybe two or three times, and while it never appealed to me, it certainly didn't "suck".

    The Star Wars Christmas Special on the other hand...

     

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  35.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jun 11th, 2011 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "What were we talking about again?"

    Just in case you did miss the original reference, Ulysses 31 :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_31

     

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  36.  
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    Eric, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 9:15am

    Not PD?

    Why isn't the Ulysees in the PD in the US? Since it was first published overseas (Paris) in 1922, its copyright term should have expired in the US. The only thing I can think of is Sec. 104A (the URAA), but restoration wasn't available to works whose term had expired; it was only available for foreign works which were in the public domain due to failure to comply with required formalities or due to the lack of a reciprocal agreement with the country in question.

     

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  37.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    Re: Not PD?

    Doesn't copyright expire 70 years after the author's death?

     

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  38.  
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    Eric, Jun 13th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Not PD?

    For works published prior to 1978, the term in the U.S. is 28 years plus a 67-year renewal term (total 95 years), and works published prior to 1923 are in the public domain (that it was published overseas is really irrelevant except for certain cases in the 9th circuit). The 70 years post mortem auctoris term doesn't apply until 1978, which is why many things enter the public domain in the rest of the world but not in the U.S. See: Copyright Term and the Public Domain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 13th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not PD?

    From reading Wikipedia, it's not really clear when it was first published in the US. I'm sure the Joyce estate uses any doubt to push for a later public domain date.

     

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  40.  
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    Eric, Jun 14th, 2011 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not PD?

    The first publication date isn't really relevant: works first published outside the United States prior to 1923 are in the public domain. The longest term possible for a work was 75 years, so anything from 1922 entered the public domain on Jan. 1, 1998 (after 75 full years). The Copyright Term Extension Act did not extend those terms (17 USC 304(b)). Works published in countries that are treaty partners have the same terms as those published in the States (see 17 USC 104(b)(2) and (c)). Ulysses was published in Paris by Shakespeare & Co in 1922.

    If this was somehow an unauthorized publication, that could explain it, but I haven't seen any evidence that it was unauthorized.

     

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  41.  
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    nasch (profile), Jun 14th, 2011 @ 7:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not PD?

    So it sounds like it actually is in the public domain in the US.

     

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  42.  
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    Eric, Jun 15th, 2011 @ 4:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not PD?

    That's what I'm thinking, but Mike is suggesting otherwise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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