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. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    average_joe (profile), 23 Dec 2012 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re:

    So you're actually okay that nothing is entering the public domain any more?

    You guys are so ridiculously over-dramatic. Copyright terms were extended by 20 years by the CTEA, so that means that there's a period of 20 years where works that would have fallen into the public domain do not. We are still in that 20 year period. That 20 year extension ends in six years (I think), so that means that works will begin falling into the public domain again soon.

    What Mike can't ever do is back up his claim that this 20 year bump is negatively affecting culture. It's empty rhetoric based on faith. Mike's own "Sky is Rising" puff piece shows that he's simultaneously arguing that culture is blossoming and being starved. It's silly--and it seems incredibly dishonest.

    The fact is, since the 1976 Act makes everything copyrighted upon fixation, the public domain will be greater than ever. You guys want it all right now, but that's not the bargain that copyright strikes. I'm sorry that you can't see past the end of your nose.

    But to pretend that culture is suffering is stupid. I am surrounded by so much culture that it's crazy. You can cherry pick a couple of scenarios where someone wanted to do something but couldn't (Techdirt's specialty), but on balance culture is alive an well. Copyright is a trade-off, and it brings us many, many, many wonderful works that we all enjoy. You guys love those works so much that you're willing to violate other people's rights to get them. That sort of says it all, I think.

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