Wednesday, January 05, 2011

What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2011?

Copyright law changed in 1978, ensuring that countless books, movies and other creations would take far longer to enter the public domain. The Center for the Study of the Public Domain offers a collection of classics that would have done so this year had the law not been passed.
Ultimately, extended copyright terms means that our culture is deprived of free access to these cultural items.  The original creators and their descendants have had lots of time to make money exclusively from these items.  Instead of 7 Samurai becoming as culturally available to us as Shakespeare, it is still locked up behind a corporate ownership system that limits our ability to access and reuse it.

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