1976 Strikes Again

By , January 5, 2012 11:07 am

by Philippe Cloutier

With another January upon us Public Domain works that may have been, if not for current Copyright Law, are 1955 works. Creativity, art, access, imagination, commercialism, and so much more could have taken advantage of the following [list from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain]:

The possibilities remain speculation, as US Copyright Law stands as a testament to the power of industry. The Copyright Act of 1976, signed by Gerald Ford, was oddly viewed by Barbara Ringer, the U.S. Register of Copyrights, as “a balanced compromise that comes down on the authors’ and creators’ side in almost every instance.” A statement that mystifies considering the profanation of the word balance. To this day The Act offers the worn-out phrase, “life plus seventy”, and the lesser known, “95 years corporate work-for-hire”. Surely there must be works entering the Public Domain, after-all it is a new year. Luckily, Duke Law continues to put out easily digestible lists:

What is entering the public domain in the United States? Nothing. Once again, we will have nothing to celebrate this January 1st. Not a single published work is entering the public domain this year. Or next year, or the year after that. In fact, in the United States, no publication will enter the public domain until 2019.

In light of this and on a personal note, any hopes for the complete collected works of J.D Salinger will more than likely go on unappeased throughout my lifetime. At any rate, Happy New Year.

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