Diamonds are Forever, 101 Dalmatians, and many other works would have entered the public domain this year. This means that you could copy them, use them in art, and share them for free. But, changes in copyright law over the years have locked up these and many other films, novels, articles, songs, and other works. We are in an age when we share photos, videos, thoughts, and documents easily across the web, but many works cannot be shared…at least they can’t be shared legally without paying for them first.
This short report from On the Media gives a nice summary of the problem.
On the Media: BARELY ANY U.S. CULTURE WILL ENTER THE PUBLIC DOMAIN THIS YEAR
Summary: Copyright protections were never supposed to last forever. Copyright was originally designed to protect creators long enough so that they could profit from their work, after which time that work would enter the public domain. However, changes to copyright law have made it so that copyright protections in the US generally last for 70 years after the creator’s death. Duke Law School Professor James Boyle runs the Center for the Study of the Public Domain. He tells Bob about all the works that would have entered the public domain this year, but didn’t.