It's a New Year and a Bigger Public Domain

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It's a New Year and a Bigger Public Domain

#1 Post by silverscreenselect » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:27 pm

On January 1, the public domain grew again as original works first published in 1924 (and properly copyrighted) enter the public domain. For years, the last expansion of the Copyright Act kept new works out of the public domain, but starting in 1919 that extra copyright period is ending. Under the law, no matter when in 1924 a book was published, it enters the public domain on January 1. Among these works are:

Rhapsody in Blue (the music itself, not any particular recordings which may still be protected)
California Here I Come and Alabammy Bound (catering to travel to both red and blue states)
It Had to Be You
What'll I Do
Greed (Erich von Stroheim)
The Land That Time Forgot
The Most Dangerous Game (a short story that has inspired many movies and TV shows)
A Passage to India
The Magic Mountain
Billy Budd (posthumously published)
Mark Twain's Autobiography (also posthumously published)
Desire Under the Elms

And it turns out the public domain is much bigger than we once thought. Under old copyright law, works had a 28 year copyright which could be renewed for a second 28 year term. However, if a work wasn't renewed, it went into the public domain, which is how these obscure cable channels can freely show all those movies from the 1930s to 60s. Some of these public domain works are quality efforts. Zulu is in the public domain as are His Girl Friday, the original A Star Is Born, Meet John Doe, and Marlon Brando's One Eyed Jacks. Works published until 1976, when the law changed, which weren't properly copyrighted initially are also in the public domain, like the original Night of the Living Dead.

This summer, the New York Public Library completed a project where they scanned hundreds of thousands of books and compared them to the Copyright Office renewal records. What they found was that as many as 80% of all books published from 1923 to 1964 were never properly renewed and are in the public domain. In many cases, authors died or forgot about early works or publishers went out of business or just didn't feel there was any value to going through the expense of renewing. Expect to see a lot of these books turn up, especially by well-known authors or in popular genres like mystery and science fiction. Many will be available free through Project Gutenberg and similar publishers, and others will be for sale at rock-bottom prices. ... ic-domain/ ... -1923-1964
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Re: It's a New Year and a Bigger Public Domain

#2 Post by mellytu74 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 1:18 pm

:o :o :o

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