Copyright, Public Domain, and Maps – It’s Complicated
AThomas's bookmarks 2019-02-18
"You may have noticed that “copyright,” “public domain,” and “1923” have been in the news lately. At midnight on Dec. 31, 2018, certain intellectual property published in 1923 that had been held under copyright underwent a legal transformation and is now part of the public domain. For a while this was an annual occurrence within the copyright lifecycle, since earlier instances of copyright laws had provided protection for authors, artists, and other creators for a fixed number of years (50 years after the author’s death, for example). This cyclical advancing pattern of release was interrupted in 1998 when the Copyright Term Extension Act became law, essentially putting a freeze on the otherwise annual release of things by automatically extending the number of years of protection. Mickey Mouse, Sonny Bono, and the entertainment industry had a lot to do with this, but the impact was necessarily widespread across all materials."