Public Domain Day 2019
Articles,  Blog

Public Domain Day 2019

>>Hi, I’m Laura Quilter. I am the Copyright and Information
Policy Librarian here at the University of Massachusetts
Amherst Libraries. We are excited for January 1, 2019
because it is Public Domain Day. It’s the day in which copyrighted
works i- from a particular year enter the public domain. 2019 is a particularly exciting
Public Domain Day; in fact, we could call it Public Domain
Year because it’s the first time in 20 years that a large
volume of works published in the United States will be
entering the public domain. In fact, everything published
in the United States in 1923 will be entering the public
domain, um, on January 1, 2019. In 1998, the Copyright Term
Extension Act was passed, and that extended copyright by
20 years, so works were copyrighted now from 50
years after the life of the author to 70 years after
the life of the author, or, in the case of corporate
works and many other kinds of works, from 75 years
to 95 years. So, everything that was published in 1923
has been on lockdown for 20 years; it hasn’t entered the
public domain when we would have expected it to have
entered the public domain in 1999, for instance,
and so all of those years’ worth of works have remained
frozen. When works enter the public
domain, they can be fully and freely used by anybody;
there are no more copyright restrictions on them. So the
public domain is effectively the- the repository, if you
will, sort of the intellectual repository of everything that
humanity has created that is not being currently locked up
under a legal regime that restricts sharing and copying.
So when a work enters the public domain, when it comes
out into the public domain, it can be reused; it can be
distributed; it can be modified; people can build
on it to make new works. So, for instance, famous works
like the statue of Alexander Hamilton that is in front of
the U.S. Treasury will enter the public domain. It was
unveiled in, um, in 1923, dedicated to the public
in 1923, and so it will be entering the public domain
in 2019, be available for people to scan and to
reproduce, um, freely, images of, you know, our- our latest
celebrity founding father. When works are under copyright
but no longer in print or no longer commercially available,
they really fall out of access to the world, and so in a
sense, they- they- they- they’re dead to the world,
right? But when they enter the public domain, they’re born
again to the world; people can reuse- can find them and re-
and use them, and- and bring them back into the cultural
mainstream at that point, and so it’s really an opportunity
for us to celebrate American culture and American
creativity. Um, the first part of the 20th century was,
you know, an amazingly [SILENT FILM MUSIC PLAYING]
um, productive and creative time in the American world,
when jazz was being established, when film, when recorded music
was in its heyday, when there was creativity from- from all sectors
of society, and- and all of the works that were created in
1923 have been locked up for 20 additional years, and so
now, we’re going to be able to celebrate that they’re
coming back to life. [MUSIC STOPS]

One Comment

  • Francisco j T0RRES

    ¿ is posible that DC comics and marvel characters enter in public domain and is posible went enter in public domain?

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