“Almost 1000 cultural heritage institutions around the world1 have published some or all of their online collections for free reuse, modification and sharing. They are part of the ‘Open GLAM’ (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums) movement that views liberal access2 and reuse (where culturally appropriate3) of digital collections as fundamental to education, research and public engagement.
A key principle of Open GLAM is that works in the public domain – in which copyright has expired or never existed – should remain in the public domain once digitized. However, many museums do assert copyright in digital reproductions of public domain artworks. How legally legitimate is this? Although the answer is not straightforward (the relevant copyright law is complex and lacks international harmonization), in the European Union the standard of originality for a new copyright requires that the work be the ‘author’s own intellectual creation’….”
Abstract: The National Transportation Library (NTL) at the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) provides national and international access to the crucial transportation information that falls within the scope of grey literature, including the results of U.S. government funded research. Founded as an all-digital library in 1998, NTL’s collections include full-text-born digital and digitized publications, data products, and other resources. All items are in the public domain and available for reuse without restriction. Since 2016, NTL has led the implementation of the USDOT’s Official Public Access Plan issued in response to the February 22, 2013 Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies entitled Increasing Access to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research. This paper discusses the effect this plan has had on a grey literature library and the efforts to create and maintain a public access repository, as well as exploring relationships between repository platform, contents, and people.
“In celebration of Wikipedia’s 20th anniversary on January 15th, Boston Public Library has uploaded more than 8,000 historical photographs from its archival collections to Wikimedia Commons. These images include some of the library’s most important photographic collections, and contribute to the single largest batch of uploads ever contributed to Wikimedia Commons. By uploading these public domain images, BPL is making them available so that they can be freely used to enhance Wikipedia articles, re-printed in publications, or incorporated in student projects and papers. …”
“January the 1st is always a special day in the ebook world, because hundreds of titles are available in the public domain. This means any publisher or author can sell the book or build upon it. Today, books from 1925 are in the public domain. These works include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial.
The public domain enables access to cultural materials that might otherwise be lost to history. 1925 was a long time ago. The vast majority of works from 1925 are out of circulation. Now that they have entered the public domain, anyone can make them available online, where we can discover, enjoy, and breathe new life into them. Empirical studies have shown that public domain books are less expensive, available in more editions and formats, and more likely to be in print.
Here are all of the new books that hit the public domain. …”
“It’s Public Domain Day! Every year on January 1st, Free Content advocates all over the world celebrate the works of art that have entered into the Public Domain. Why today? Because copyright law only protects creative works (such as books, paintings, or songs) for a certain number of years – and this protection then ends on New Year’s Day….”
“1925 was the year of heralded novels by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Virginia Woolf, seminal works by Sinclair Lewis, Franz Kafka, Gertrude Stein, Agatha Christie, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Aldous Huxley … and a banner year for musicians, too. Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, the Gershwins, Duke Ellington and Fats Waller, among hundreds of others, made important recordings. And 1925 marked the release of canonical movies from silent film comedians Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd.
As of today, every single one of those works has entered the public domain. “That means that copyright has expired,” explains Jennifer Jenkins, a law professor at Duke University who directs its Center for the Study of the Public Domain. “And all of the works are free for anyone to use, reuse, build upon for anyone — without paying a fee.”
On January 1 every year, a new batch of published works is liberated from the constraints of copyright. (For a long time, copyright expired after 75 years but in 2001, Congress pushed the date of copyright expiration to 97 years.) It’s difficult to overstate the importance of having work in the public domain. For example, can you imagine the holidays without It’s A Wonderful Life? That movie happened to be unprotected by copyright, so it was able to be shown — a lot — for free, contributing to its establishment as an American Christmas classic….”
“On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain, where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller….”
“That chill set in because a 1998 law, the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, gave another 20 years of protection for works created before 1978 as part of an extension of copyright terms to the life of a work’s author plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication for corporate-owned works.
That itself followed a 1976 statute that also retroactively extended copyright protection for existing works while granting longer terms to new ones. By then, we had already traveled a great distance from copyright as first defined in U.S. law.
“The Founders’ copyright was 14 years, renewable once,” noted Internet Archive founder Brewster Kahle in an email. He compared that to a different form of intellectual property, the patents that temporarily protect inventions: “If a patent lasts 17 years and is enough to recover hundreds of millions of dollar investments in a drug, why does copyright now last 95 years?” …
The answer to how we got there rests at the intersection of Hollywood and Washington. …”