As with any new year, 2015 brings a freight of new works that will be released into the public domain in various jurisdictions – and a whole lot that could have been under prior iterations of copyright law, but won’t be. As the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School states, “Public Domain Day is January 1st of every year. If you live in Canada, January 1st 2015 would be the day when the writings of Rachel Carlson, Ian Fleming, and Flannery O’Connor enter the public domain. It will be a not-so-silent spring! In Europe, the works of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Edvard Munch, and hundreds of others will emerge into the public domain.”

In the U.S., however, thanks to Big Media copyright lobbyists – and not, if it ever needs to be re-emphasized, individual authors and other creatives – the picture is very different. The Center devotes a very detailed analysis to this whole issue, and the consequences of the business-driven shifts in copyright legislation, but here’s a sample of the choicest parts:

If we had the laws that were in effect until 1978, thousands of works from 1958 would be entering the public domain. They range from the books Our Man in Havana, The Once and Future King, and Things Fall Apart, to the films Gigi and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, to the songs “Yakety Yak” and “All I Have to Do Is Dream”

The Center also has shared a lovingly detailed breakdown of the authors and creative figures who will become public domain outside the U.S on Public Domain Day, and those that are still locked up in the U.S. And of course, Big Media is busy puppeting Congress and U.S. trade policy to internationalize these restrictions too.

So, Useful Idiots of Big Media and confused creatives everywhere, are you ready to get behind the copyright lobbyists’ next push to lock up even more of your creative heritage? Get in line: There’s no time like the present.


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