Copyright Extensions

2016 brings us a new year, and with it, more copyright extensions. Techdirt’s coverage makes two points worth mentioning about the works that should be entering public domain, but aren’t:

  1. At the time they were created, the copyright term of 56 years was enough to incentivize the creation of the work. Odd then, that they should retroactively be affected by copyright extensions.
  2. Many of the works themselves were based on public domain works, like Ben-Hur, Sleeping Beauty, and Journey to the Center of the Earth.

When discussing public domain vs. copyright, the conversation often treats the copyright as the value generator, and the public domain as a corresponding loss of value. The second point is a nice counterpoint to that arguement, since it highlights the creative value society derives from public domain works.

You can find the full list and some discussion on Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain.