Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A sad, but interesting topic for readers everywhere...

public domain
The status of any creative work, invention, or device that is not protected by copyright law. Such items are available for use without permission. Often, works enter the public domain after patent, copyright, or trademark rights have expired or been abandoned.
-NOLO Law Dictionary

Ordinarily, January 1st of any year is cause for celebration (for numerous reasons), but it is also the happy day on which any copyrighted works whose term is expiring will enter the public domain.  This year, that should have meant that seminal works like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and Arthur Miller's  The Crucible became free and clear for public use. But sadly, we won't be getting free use of these works, or any works.... until at least 2019!

This site, produced and maintained by the Duke University Law School's Center for the Study of the Public Domain, has a very interesting and informative explanation of the issue.


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