Culture

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
copyright, europe, public domain, us



The US's Public Domain Class Of 2013

from the short-list dept

Every year, we talk about how January 1st is public domain day in many parts of the world, but thanks to constant copyright term extension, the US is left waiting and waiting and waiting -- kind of like the famous play by Samuel Beckett, which entered the public domain in many places around the world in 2011, but is still covered by copyright here.

The folks at the Public Domain Review have put together a nice list (and photo!) of the "Class of 2013": content creators whose works will be going into the public domain on January 1, 2013 in large parts of the world, including the EU, Brazil, Russia and many other places. To help out, I thought I'd put together the list of content creators whose works are entering the public domain in the US in 2013:
Yeah. It looks suspiciously like last year's list. And the year before that. And before that. And so on. Oh, and also... I hate to ruin the surprise, but next year's list? Pretty much the same. Year after that? Yeah, that too. For anyone who actually understands the value of the public domain in enriching and enhancing culture, the fact that the US -- at the behest of the entertainment industry, which has often mined the public domain for its own works -- isn't just shameful, it's downright despicable. We're stifling our own culture.

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  1. icon
    jameshogg (profile), 21 Dec 2012 @ 10:14pm

    Destroying the public domain: taking everything, and giving you nothing in return.

    Well who WOULD want to release their works into the public domain? The works always suffer from legal technicalities that allow outsider companies to buy them back into copyright protection.

    Just imagine... a self-righteous corporation could take MY works (in the sense that I made them, not the IP sense) that I put into public domain and wriggle around enough until they have copyrighted it FOR THEMSELVES... meaning that I no longer have any say in the creative process of those works. Yes. I as the original artist could get sued for expanding on my works by a corporation that had FUCK ALL to do with the creative process. The very idea. It makes me physically sick.

    Copyright is an absolute piss stain in this respect. And the above point means I have to have it on my works... not because I want to use it to go on a sue-streak against others, but because a company might buy it out of the public domain otherwise and go on the sue-streak themselves... in the name of my works. It is a bit like the recent gun debate going on: even although guns are dangerous apparently it is a good idea to have one because everyone else has one, and that we cannot uninvent the gun and etc etc with the excuses... thankfully we CAN uninvent copyright by simply getting rid of it from law. And then once artists get their incentives from virtual ticket websites like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter we can then look back on copyright and think "what on Earth was all that about?"

    The whole point is there shouldn't BE any copyright protection to begin with! That way companies would not be able to destroy the public domain. Copyright is a dangerous buck of power that constantly gets passed around to the highest, most powerful bidder all in the name of "saving the artists from slavery"... can anything be more fucking contemptible? Don't you dare tell me that a mentality that wishes to take the rights and dignity from artists by using works against their will is somehow a mentality that favours the artist more than the corporations.

    Eliminate copyright from the equation, get incentives with all-or-nothing crowdfunding, solve the moral issues of defamation, plagiarism, libel, branding and officiality on their own, and take a massive weight off of the artist's shoulders. Occam's Razor holds true here: the simplest explanation is probably the best one. Do not multiply unnecessary constants.

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