“If creativity is the field, copyright is the fence.”
January 1, 2016 7:57 AM   Subscribe

Public Domain Day: January 1, 2016 [Center for the Study of Public Domain]

What is entering the public domain in the United States? Not a single published work. Once again, no published works are entering the public domain in the United States this year. Or next year. In fact, no publication will enter our public domain until 2019. What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2016? Under the law that existed until 1978 . . . Works from 1959. [Center for the Study of Public Domain]
- Robert Heinlein, Starship Troopers
- Walter Miller, A Canticle for Leibowitz
- Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun
- E.R. Braithwaite, To Sir, With Love
- William Burroughs, The Naked Lunch
- Richard Condon, The Manchurian Candidate
- Cornelius Ryan, The Longest Day
- Gunter Grass, The Tin Drum
- Ian Fleming, Goldfinger
- Saul Bellow, Henderson the Rain King
- Strunk and White, The Elements of Style
- C. Wright Mills, The Sociological Imagination
- Agatha Christie, Cat Among the Pigeons
The 'Class of 2016' [The Public Domain Review] Five of the works listed below will be entering the public domain in countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.) and six in countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Africa) — those that died in the year 1945 and 1965 respectively.
- T.S. Eliot
- Le Corbusier
- Paul Valéry
- Martin Buber
- Malcom X
- Béla Bartók
- Käthe Kollwitz
- Otto Neurath
- Blind Willie Johnson
- Winston Churchill
- Lorraine Hansberry
- Albert Schweitzer
- W. Somerset Maugham
- Emily Carr
- Robert Desnos
- Who's Afraid of Mein Kampf? [The Atlantic]
Adolf Hitler’s notorious book is about to get a new lease on life. The copyright for Mein Kampf, which has been held for 70 years by the government of the German state of Bavaria, expires at midnight on December 31, 2015. From that moment on, any publisher interested in reprinting the Nazi leader’s virulently anti-Semitic, racist tome will be free to do so. [...] This is not the first time that Hitler’s words have generated public concern. Following his conviction for high treason in 1924, various German state governments barred the Nazi leader from public speaking for several years. It was during this low time in his political career that he penned Mein Kampf. The overpriced book was not an immediate bestseller; its sales dramatically increased only when the Nazi Party rose from insignificance to political prominence after 1930. By the end of 1932, close to 230,000 copies had been sold.
- The case of The Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank while in hiding during World War II, is significantly more muddled — at least in terms of copyright law. [NPR]
Olivier Ertzscheid, a French researcher at the University of Nantes, has announced plans to publish the book online in its original Dutch on Friday, according to the Agence France-Presse. The news service reports that French member of parliament Isabelle Attard plans to do the same. Both Ertzscheid and Attard argue that, with Frank's death in 1945, the 70-year copyright is set to expire on Jan. 1. Anne Frank Fonds, the group founded Frank's father in 1963, begs to differ. The charity holds the rights to the book, and AFP reports that it has threatened legal action, arguing that Otto Frank — not Anne — earned the copyright for his work on the book after his daughter's death. Otto Frank died in 1980. So by that rationale, the copyright to Anne Frank's diary would not expire in Europe until 2050. Chances are, both parties will be finding out one way or the other much sooner than that.
posted by Fizz (11 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The copyright holder has recently argued that Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, was a co-author of her diary, so that its copyright would not expire until 70 years after his death, or 2051, rather than 2016 (70 years after Anne Frank died).

My first belly laugh of 2016.

HPDD everyone!
posted by Chichibio at 8:36 AM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


Public domain? Sounds like socialism to me. Giant IP-hoarding corporations are people, my friend. (Never mind that Disney got rich mostly by adapting public domain stories, public domain BAAAAAD.)
posted by entropicamericana at 8:38 AM on January 1, 2016 [5 favorites]


I celebrate every time a work makes its way into the public domain. I was really happy when the GIF patent expired. I have spent hours looking over the copyright renewal records trying to determine if a particular copyright was renewed. The current policy of extending copyright forever is a travesty. I say this while meticulously sticking copyright notices on everything that I publish.

I'll bet that as 2019 comes looming and stuff might be entering the public domain again in the U.S., that some lobbyist (Disney?) gets congress to extend copyright again. They'll probably use some excuse like, "we need this extension for another five years because if our work falls into the public domain we can't put it back into copyright while we lobby congress for a longer extension."

I'll check back on this post in three years to see if I'm right.
posted by Xoc at 9:33 AM on January 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


"This is not the first time that Hitler’s words have generated public concern..."

You don't say?
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 9:53 AM on January 1, 2016 [17 favorites]


some lobbyist (Disney?)

Or politician. BoingBoing mentions how Canada might lose works in the public domain if the Trans Pacific Partnership is signed:
"If Canada signs on, this'll be the last year that Canada gets any new public domain works, until 2036."
:-(
posted by Fizz at 10:25 AM on January 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


Hitler? You mean that Austrian painter?
posted by blue_beetle at 12:30 PM on January 1, 2016 [2 favorites]


He could paint an entire apartment in one afternoon! Two coats!
posted by slkinsey at 12:54 PM on January 1, 2016 [4 favorites]


So, are any works entering public domain in Canada this year? Or have we bowed to the wishes of our American neighbours and shackled ourselves to their cooperate interests?
posted by Canageek at 3:50 PM on January 1, 2016


Another way to look at it is that Canadians will get to enjoy an advanced access to the next twenty years of public domain entrants. While the rest of us wait in the slow lane.
posted by humanfont at 4:37 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


So, are any works entering public domain in Canada this year?

Maybe you missed this bit:
Five of the works listed below will be entering the public domain in countries with a ‘life plus 70 years’ copyright term (e.g. most European Union members, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, etc.) and six in countries with a ‘life plus 50 years’ copyright term (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and many countries in Asia and Africa) — those that died in the year 1945 and 1965 respectively.
The list of authors underneath the 'Class of 2016' link contains works that are now in the public domain, at least for Canada. Sorry if that was made unclear in the original posting. The following authors are now public domain in Canada: TS Eliot, Winston Churchill, Nat King Cole, Malcolm X, Edward R Murrow, Spike Jones, Sonny Boy Williamson, Shirley Jackson, Albert Schweitzer, Fred Quimby and Somerset Maugham.
posted by Fizz at 4:51 PM on January 1, 2016 [1 favorite]


@hugmanfront, Fizz: Sorry, I missed that when skimming. Bad habit with such writings usually ignoring Canada.
posted by Canageek at 1:45 PM on January 3, 2016


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