Here We Go Again: All The Works That Should Now Be In The Public Domain, But Aren't
from the *sigh* dept
Not surprisingly, if horrifically disappointingly, the blog post points out that many of the movies that should be going into the public domain were, themselves, built on public domain works:
Many of these movies were built on public domain works. Ben-Hur was based on Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). Sleeping Beauty drew on fairy tales including Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant (1697) (itself based on earlier fairy tales) and the Brothers Grimm’s later version of Perrault’s story (1812). Journey to Center of the Earth adapted Jules Verne’s 1864 novel of the same name. One work inspires another. That is how the public domain feeds creativity.But if you wanted to continue to build on those works, too fucking bad. What a massive loss to culture.
The post also details music that should be in the public domain (including Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and the original score to The Sound of Music). Even more terrible is scientific research that is still locked away:
I hate writing this post each year. It's incredibly depressing. What's worse is when we see people who claim to support "artists' rights" or who claim to be supporters of culture not realize how damaging this is to their own creative output. The usual refrain of "just make your own work" is so ignorant as to be laughable. Everyone builds on the works of those who came before, but thanks to all of this copyright extension we're seeing culture disappear into a giant blackhole. And, even worse, rather than fix this problem, the US government seems focused on making it worse. The TPP agreement would block the US from being allowed to roll back copyright terms, while forcing many other countries to extend their own copyright terms.
1959 was another noteworthy year for science. C. P. Snow presented The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, an influential lecture about the gulf between the sciences and the humanities. The programming language COBOL was developed. Martin Gardner published the Three Prisoners Problem, a probability theory paradox, in his “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American. Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison published Searching for Interstellar Communications, a foundational work for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, in the journal Nature.
If you follow the link from Nature above (and you do not have a subscription or institutional access), you will see that this 1959 article is behind a paywall. You can purchase it for $32. A distressing number of scientific articles from 1959 require payment or a subscription or account, including those in major journals such as Science and JAMA. And the institutional access that many top scientists enjoy is not guaranteed—even institutions such as Harvard have considered canceling their subscriptions because they could no longer afford the escalating prices of major journal subscriptions.
It is difficult to see how anyone can support such blatant destruction of culture.