With the number of books etc entering the public domain constantly have you ever given thought to updating what exactly is in the public domain datewise? What I mean by that is 28 years + 47 years = 75 years. This makes everything lower than September 1933 public domain. Do you think it would be worth making that known - or at least a reasonable facsimile, ex everything < 1933 to be safe - or do you feel it's better letting others find that out for themselves?
If only this were true!
In 1998 the U.S. Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act adding an additional 20 years to the duration enjoyed by copyrighted works.
To learn more about this...
For instance, a work published in the U.S. in 1923 for example...under the old copyright laws it would have been protected until 1952 (28 years after publication).
If the work was renewed in 1951, it would have another 47 years of protection (1998).
The Copyright Term Extension Act passed in 1998 (Public Law 105-298, 112 Stat. 2827, amending chapter 3 of title 17 of the United States Code) added another 20 years to the copyright duration for then copyrighted works.
Copyright protection ALWAYS lasts until the end of the calendar year.
Based on this, nothing new (other than works created by the Federal Government or purposely dedicated to the Public Domain) will enter the Public Domain in the U.S. until January 1st, 2019.
1923 + 28 + 47 + 20 = protected until midnight December 31st, 2018
The Copyright Term Extension Act effectively put a "freeze" on the growth of the Public Domain especially since millions of works were poised to enter the Public Domain at midnight on January 1st, 1999 with millions more following suit every year after as their copyright protection ran out.
Fortunately, the additional protection offered by this act was not retroactive, in other words it did not apply to works already in the Public Domain - it simply extended the copyright protection of works already protected anyway.
This is why I say with certainty that everything published in the U.S. BEFORE 1923 is safely in the public domain as evidenced by this statement found in the United States Copyright Office Circular 15T, "Extension of Copyright Terms"...
Actually, there are a few very rare exceptions to the above statement but we can talk about these exceptions some other time if you are interested.
Everything published in the U.S. between 1923 - 1963 is in the Public Domain only if it's copyright protection was NOT renewed in the 28th year after publication.
Sorry John, we can blame Disney for this (with the backing of a few other corporate giants) and their efforts to keep Mickey Mouse out of the Public Domain.
It's just another example of how big business will stop at nothing to protect it's assets even to the point of blatantly violating the spirit of the U.S. Constitution.
And really, who can blame them? Mickey Mouse is a cash cow.
There's speculation that an attempt will be made to extend copyright duration again in 2017 to keep the freeze in place but that's all rumors in dark alleys at this point.
Have a wonderful evening!
About The Author:
|Logan Andrew is an online entrepreneur, information publisher, and author that has been using Public Domain material to create profitable products and businesses since 2001. He is also co-author of "The Public Domain Treasure Hunter's Survival Kit" available here. For more info Logan, click here.|