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Public Domain Day 2014

timothy posted about a year ago | from the or-not-so-much dept.

Entertainment 225

An anonymous reader writes "What could have been entering the public domain in the US on January 1, 2014? Under the law that existed until 1978.... Works from 1957. The books On The Road, Atlas Shrugged, Empire of the Atom, and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Incredible Shrinking Man, The Bridge on the River Kwai, and 12 Angry Men, the article "Theory of Superconductivity," the songs "All Shook Up" and "Great Balls of Fire," and more.... What is entering the public domain this January 1? Not a single published work."

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So? (-1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45830071)

its not like thousands of new works of art, literature and music haven't been made in the last 40 years
most of them are a lot better than the post war crap i grew up on

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830297)

So? If it's crap, then why not release it to the public domain, so people don't have to pay for it anymore, especially to help create the modern things you so cherish?

Re:So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830395)

Get a job and then you can afford to pay for that crap like everyone else.

Re:So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830633)

Please understand what public domain is before making comments like that.
Something becomes "public domain" when copyright expires.
This prevents monopolies on intellectual properties and allow derivative works to florish.
Why is this important? Because without this protection we would all be stuck in the dark ages since no one could develop anything based on something invented a long time ago.
You want a great example of something that is public domain and is core part of our society today? The web.
More precisely, the foundations and protocols of the internet. If CERN hadnt decided to share this great invention free of charge to the public domain we would never have seen the rapid growth of this industry.
http://tenyears-www.web.cern.ch/tenyears-www/Welcome.html

Many companies pressure governments to increase the copyright expiration time because this helps them create a monopoly.

Re:So? (0)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45831041)

unlike 100 years ago, books are so cheap now its ridiculous. public domain is not that big a deal. and thanks for amazon, publishing your own work is easier than at anytime in history. write a story and publish it to the kindle store

its not that hard to make up a story original enough not to get sued. i'm finishing up one now to sell, i have at least a dozen ideas for the future and read new books almost every week with original ideas

Re:So? (5, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#45830439)

sibling is right... if it's so crappy, then why the need to rent-seek on them? Consider that the majority of the works' creators are dead by now (it's been 56 some-odd years), so it's not like they're directly benefiting from copyright. So who is benefiting? The kids, the corporations, and a whole lot of other people who did approximately bupkis to create these works.

Copyright is about a temporary monopoly on a creative work. It is emphatically not meant to be a perpetual money machine.

Re:So? (3, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#45830707)

The question is, what can we do about it?

Long copyrights are great for corporations but shitty for authors. There was a fellow a couple years ago who was sued for writing a sequel to "Catcher in the Rye", that book should be in the public domain.

Insane copyright law is keeping The Paxil Diaries in electronic form and out of gutenberg.org because of twenty four words in the 80k word book. One chapter concerned the re-dedication of the Illinois State Library which was renamed to Illinois last late poet laureate's name. There was a 24 word poem displayed, which I copied with a pencil and used as the chapter's intro.

That poem, written in 1961 by a woman now long dead should NOT be covered by copyright. I may publish the book with the poem replaced by a rant about our insane copyright laws if I can't get permission to use it (I think the state holds copyright but I don't know).

Meanwhile, you can read Nobots [mcgrewbooks.com] for free online, I'm only charging for real books, which actually have a cost to print and distribute.

I've written my congressmen and Senators, have you written yours?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830789)

I have written my confressmen and Senators about copyright and patents. Your own choice of what to do with your writtings isn't very relavent to the conversation, it seems like a shameless plug. But, on the bright side your sci fi, isn't any worse than anything else that's been written in the last 20 years. So there's that.

Re: So? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45831025)

If the law is crap, people just ignore the law. Penalties are very harsh for copyright infringement, but we still download things. It's not that we are all "thieves", it's just that people don't see it as wrong.

Re:So? (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#45830803)

The question is, what can we do about it?

Civil disobedience en masse, to the point where you cannot possibly enforce it. This is happening now with marijuana usage, and will likely end up happening with movies and music, if BitTorrent traffic is an indicator.

You could write the congresscritters (one of my senators --Sen. Wyden-- gets it, but the other 534 congresscritters in DC don't, and some (Hatch in Utah) actively try and make things worse. Too bad the rest either don't care or have been bought off enough to ignore it.)

I'm afraid there aren't many other viable options, outside of a very lucky Supreme Court case.

Re:So? (1)

BemoanAndMoan (1008829) | about a year ago | (#45831195)

There was a fellow a couple years ago who was sued for writing a sequel to "Catcher in the Rye"

Yea, by fucking J.D. Salinger himself (or did mentioning that little tidbit weaken your argument too much to make it worthy of a mention?)

So sad that this is where you've invested your moral outrage, that one of the century's most noted author's sued because he didn't want some talentless ass hat publishing fan fiction (a.k.a. unoriginal self-indulgent feculence) to muddy his genuine, original and critically acclaimed novel.

Hammer on Disney and the other greedycorps all you want, but when a living author wants to protect his own work/invention/legacy, he has every right to do so and piss on every self-righteous dick (including the comparatively talentless hacks of the world) who tells him otherwise.

It's for the best (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830093)

See, if those works had entered the public domain, the private owners would never profit off of them.

And that's very important you know. Look how much money that Atlas Shrugged movie made for Ayn Rand!

Re:It's for the best (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830189)

Please take your Socialist bullshit somewhere else. Without Atlas Shrugged, we would not have nearly the same amount of stiff resistance to the current administrations redistributionist anti-business agenda.

Re:It's for the best (1)

zlives (2009072) | about a year ago | (#45830255)

+5 funny

YOu are so right! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830521)

If I weren't sooo lazy, I'd work a bit harder and BOOM! I'd be RICH! Why, if I weren't so lazy, I could get another job on top of my other two, and work some more! After all, I'm only working 80 hours a week and who needs sleep and recreation!

And we all know that the billionaires like Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Buffet and all them got where they are by working hard and being honest and forthright people! Anyone can do it!

We all know that all it takes here in the states is to work hard and wealth is guaranteed! Well, if it weren't for the government regulations.

I had a chemical disposal business and the fucking EEE, PEEE, AYE stopped me from disposing in the local trout stream! How the hell is one going to make a living with these communist basterds?! And this bullshit nonsense about children getting cancer and whatnot - why there's St. Judes to help them! Business and profits first and health and well being is just a socialist value! Anyway, cancer was created by socialists to punish the hard working creators and rewards the takers!

And this bullshit of "you didn't build that!" why, the private sector could do just fine building roads and highways and edukating us!

If you're poor, it's all because of your character! Yes sir! If you worked hard have decent values, you wouldn't be poor!

Poor people have poor character and they are stupid! It's all their fault! If they would just pull themselves up by their bootstraps like I did, all would be well!

I tell you, the values in this society have deteriorated. Way back when, those people would be left to starve - as they should - and it allowed for us makers to achieve and better society.

Re:YOu are so right! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830743)

This. Exactly this. And a kazillion times this. What I can't understand is why we tolerate these commy socialist pinko basturds and their immoral and unethical values why has it not become an excutable offense yet to walk around being so pig-headedly wrong?

Re:It's for the best (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830549)

Please take your Socialist bullshit somewhere else. Without Atlas Shrugged, we would not have nearly the same amount of stiff resistance to the current administrations redistributionist anti-business agenda.

Please take your Capitalist bullshit and go elsewhere.

Just because people believe in Ayn Rand doesn't make what she said true. Much like disbelieving in evolution doesn't make it not true.

Ayn Rand was full of shit, and is uncritically followed by drooling idiots who worship it as if it were holy writ -- and they treat it as dogma and defend it with as much irrational zeal as people do when you tell them their god is false.

Adherents of Ayn Rand are essentially economic terrorists who would destroy the world around them so their utopian fantasy would arise. In that regards, there's no difference between them and the most viscious of Communists.

Fuck Ayn Rand and her followers -- because they're all just drooling idiots who have found a different sort of religion.

Re:It's for the best (2)

Penguinisto (415985) | about a year ago | (#45830447)

Ayn Rand is dead, so why the need for continued copyright on the book?

Re:It's for the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830627)

For the same reason God need a space ship.

Re:It's for the best (1)

RandomFactor (22447) | about a year ago | (#45830709)

Or a 4x4









(There's one scene where you can spot a set of 4x4 tracks off in the distance in that ST movie. One of the guys in the old BBS scene used "Why does God need a 4x4?" for his tagline for a while as a result. Ahh the good old days...)

Re:It's for the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830637)

If she's dead, then how did she make money off the movie based on her book?

Re:It's for the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830887)

That was his point.

Re:It's for the best (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830689)

Ayn Rand is dead, so why the need for continued copyright on the book?

Because John Galt may still be alive.

Re:It's for the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830705)

"Ayn Rand is dead, so why the need for continued copyright on the book?"

Because John Galt may still be alive.

Let him write his own damned book.

Re:It's for the best (2)

TheloniousToady (3343045) | about a year ago | (#45831099)

Reports of her death have been greatly exaggerated.

(The original Twain quote probably is still under copyright, but that was "fair use", wasn't it?)

Re:It's for the best (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#45831265)

If Ayn Rand is still copyrighted, Rand Paul needs to change his first name.

But wasn't there a band in the 80's named D'rand D'rand . . . ?

Re:It's for the best (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#45830739)

See, if those works had entered the public domain, the private owners would never profit off of them.

I think the AC is going for "funny" but nobody OWNS a writing or a song or image. I don't own Nobots, I merely have a "limited" (for bizarre values of "limited") time monopoly.

I control its publication, but I don't own it. Nobody does and nobody should.

The Cat in the Hat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830095)

If Disney didn't push through another copyright extension, Audrey Geisel just might.

Would it matter? (3, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#45830097)

IIRC, U.S. courts recently decided that public-domain works could have their copyrights reinstated post facto.

If anything from Disney did ever accidentally enter the public domain, Congress would fix that in short order.

Re:Would it matter? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830335)

I don't think that this is correct. I definitely couldn't find anything out there about it happening in the US. EU it seems this is the case though.

And every so often there's something that slips through the cracks. It's not often, but it happens sometimes (the one I always remember is "Charade" (1963) which entered the public domain because Universal messed up their copyright notice for the film).

Re:Would it matter? (2)

Antipater (2053064) | about a year ago | (#45830801)

I believe he was referencing this recent story [boingboing.net] about the digitized copies of public-domain works being copyrighted by the digitizer.

Re:Would it matter? (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#45830951)

That's not the same thing. It's a physical exclusivity agreement and does not use Copyright law. They're restricting physical access to the works for 10 years, not a copyright. If you already had a copy of a document in their archive it will still be in the Public Domain and you can do whatever you want with it. I agree that it's a pretty shitty situation for the public, but it's not a case of copyright being reasserted ex post facto. At least it's only for a decade and they're going to digitize all of the works so they can be backed up indefinitely. I would have been happier if someone like Archive.org had gotten this project, but you can't win every time.

Re:Would it matter? (1)

compro01 (777531) | about a year ago | (#45831169)

Yup. Golan v. Holder [wikipedia.org] .

TSC download available right now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830109)

I just downloaded Theory of Superconductivity from the APS website.

"Theory of Superconductivity"
http://prola.aps.org/abstract/PR/v108/i5/p1175_1

Re:TSC download available right now (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830199)

But you'd still have to pay for the movie rights!

Atlas Shrugged. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830125)

Can we take away all the excessive copyright time spans assigned to new works, and tack them on the end of Atlas Shrugged's?

It would satisfy her disciples' hilarious beliefs for her descendants to collect royalties from this toilet paper until the end of time, while creative people would benefit from a return to sane copy right law.

Sherlock Holmes (5, Informative)

innocent_white_lamb (151825) | about a year ago | (#45830131)

Actually, Sherlock Holmes is finally in the public domain. It took a court order to shake it loose, though.

http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-new-sherlock-holmes-copyright-20131230,0,5610784.story [latimes.com]

Re:Sherlock Holmes (1)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45830179)

the latest 10 SH stories aren't in the public domain, only the earlier ones are

it keeps us safe (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830137)

At least we are safe from a bunch of pseudo-libertarian amateur filmmakers creating their own personal "Atlas Shrugged" movies.

Re:it keeps us safe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830261)

Good one. One more point towards the Stalin Penis Award up your ass. Or is it down your mouth? Well, whatever fills your wet dreams dude.

Re:it keeps us safe (2)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#45830963)

Yes, we must leave this to the professional film makers who absolutely did not release two nearly unwatchable Atlas Shrugged movies already...

Re:it keeps us safe (3, Funny)

crunchygranola (1954152) | about a year ago | (#45831081)

Yes, we must leave this to the professional film makers who absolutely did not release two nearly unwatchable Atlas Shrugged movies already...

They are simply being true to their source material. An unreadable book should translate to an unwatchable movie.

Re:it keeps us safe (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45831285)

I have found that those most critical of Ayn Rand, and Atlas Shrugged in particular, have typically never read it. While it's a mildly interesting dystopian future novel, I've never fully understood either the praise or criticism it receives. For example you call it "unreadable", but I found it quite readable. It needed a better editor to trim out the fat, but you could say that about any James Michener novel as well. Her characters are one dimensional, especially the antagonists of the novel. That is probably my biggest gripe. Meanwhile some people seem to treat it like the Bible or similar. I read it once, and that was enough for me. I don't take my political ideology from novelists. I certainly don't pick and choose my reading material based on the ravings of left wing and right wing lunatics. So I can't understand how it is so influential, unless those who criticize it fear what it represents, and those who praise it can't think for themselves.

News Alert! Sonny Bono is dead! (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about a year ago | (#45830141)

He's buried here.. [tripadvisor.com]

You can go and hire Ms. Cleo [youtube.com] and do a seance and complain to him since he sponsored the legislation. [wikipedia.org]

 

Re:News Alert! Sonny Bono is dead! (3, Funny)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#45830419)

He's buried here.. [tripadvisor.com]

You can go and hire Ms. Cleo [youtube.com] and do a seance and complain to him since he sponsored the legislation. [wikipedia.org]

See, even the trees opposed copyright extension.

Come on, do you really want stuff like this? (3, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#45830157)

The books On The Road, Atlas Shrugged, ..., and The Cat in the Hat, the films The Incredible Shrinking Man

"Hurry!" Dagny Taggart moaned. "Before he gets any smaller!"

The strange cat in the hat grabbed the incredible shrinking man, who struggled mightily, but, being the size of a Barbie doll, could put up little resistance. "I'm gay, don't do this to me!"

"Tough shit, little man! I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” He took him and and slowly eased him feet first up ins

GOD DAMN IT, this stuff is not public domain. Nevermind.

So who's got a torrent? (5, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | about a year ago | (#45830159)

It may still be illegal to download these things, but it's now much more difficult to argue that it's unethical to do so. Distributing these works should be considered an act of civil disobedience.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#45830463)

At least for Christians, it may be unethical to ignore bad copyright rules. In the Christian New Testament, St. Peter's first letter contains this passage:

"Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."

A noteworthy thing here is that the letter carves out no exception regarding stupidly justified laws. (There are plenty of other places in the Bible that make it clear that it's okay for followers of God to disobey evil laws, however.)

Re:So who's got a torrent? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830813)

Nobody gives a damn what god has to say on the topic of copyright.

The creation myths in the bible were cribbed from the Babylonians, and the rest is just the collected works of a bunch of old men who wanted to control the masses.

You're essentially citing fairy tales as a basis for modern law.

Get over it.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (4, Funny)

DutchUncle (826473) | about a year ago | (#45830819)

Did you just violate copyright on the Bible??????

Re:So who's got a torrent? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#45831047)

Yes, I believe I did. Unless it's fair use. And I'm not a Christian ;)

Re:So who's got a torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830823)

A noteworthy thing here is that the letter carves out no exception regarding stupidly justified laws. (There are plenty of other places in the Bible that make it clear that it's okay for followers of God to disobey evil laws, however.)

I can't think of anything more evil than copyright laws.

Christianity for the win!

Re:So who's got a torrent? (2, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#45830917)

No. The Constitution clearly states the reason for patent and copyright (to get people to produce more works for the public domain) and states "for limited times". a lifetime plus 95 years is in no way limited, and there's no way to convince Jimi Hendrix to make any more music.

The Constitution is the law of the land and the Bono Act breaks that law (yes, I know of the bullshit Lessig verdict). Therefore, NOT practicing civil disobedience is immoral (religion deals with morality, not ethics). Yes, it makes no exception for stupid laws but an illegal law is no law at all. And what would old Pete say if the Emperor had outlawed communion, tithing, and charity? What if he had outlawed Christianity itself (which Peter may have been wary of)?

The meaning behind that passage is "don't make your fellow Christians look bad, the Emperor hates us enough as it is". And some of the right wing Obama-hating "Christians" should read that passage.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (1)

enharmonix (988983) | about a year ago | (#45831163)

Too bad I don't have any moderator points, I'd have given you an informative. I haven't been on slashdot recently so maybe that's why I have no points, but I strongly suspect I had some metamoderators mod down some of my past moderations in a rather controversial article I decided to moderate. If only we had meta-meta-moderation, I think I'd still have had a point left to give you. Too bad.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830967)

"Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor."

Since the number of governments over the last 1900 years that meet that standard is precisely zero, Christians are free to recognize the fact that intellectual property is a fiction and are therefore free to pirate.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45831165)

Then again, Saint Augustine stated that "an unjust law is no law at all". You have no moral obligation to obey a law that goes against human dignity.

Re:So who's got a torrent? (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#45830613)

I argue that these less liberal copyright laws, along with changes in technology, are really the reason why kids today have little respect for copyright law. Some argue that the ability to sell ones work is an basic right, but really it is something we set in law to help and encourage creation of derivative works, as something that is completely new is quite rare. A compromise between a reality where things are chopped and screwed to maximize creation and where a producer can exclusively benefit economically for a short period of time, thus reducing the creation of works.

The developed western world is not going to be able to compete with these draconian copyright laws. Places like China are soon going to be a major competitor. Having things copyrighted in perpetuity provides not benefits for a nation, only for a select few who think they are above the nation. And at some point the cost of enforcing the law on mickey mouse is going to be so great that it will fall, just like the current war on drugs.

Re: So who's got a torrent? (1)

Scowler (667000) | about a year ago | (#45831015)

Nice. In other words, it's now ethical to break any law you happen to disagree with.

If Atlas Shrugged went public domain (2)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#45830215)

I think the universe would implode.

Re:If Atlas Shrugged went public domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830479)

I think that Atlas Shrugged *not* going into the public domain would make the universe implode.

I say that we independently declare it public domain anyway and yahboosucks to the interfering government legislation. It's what she would have wanted.

And none ever will again (5, Insightful)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45830251)

Thanks to Disney and others, the very idea of works EVER entering the public domain will eventually become a relic.

Re:And none ever will again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830317)

Thanks to Disney and others, the very idea of works EVER entering the public domain will eventually become a relic.

Mostly it goes to demonstrate that those who keep talking about 'free markets' are full of shit.

There never has been, and never will be what people call a free market.

It's a lie and a myth. The companies and lawmakers will always find ways to stack the game in their favor.

Kill the rich. They're all just crooks anyway.

Re:And none ever will again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45831077)

You do realize that copyright is a government creation, right? It has nothing at all to do with a free market. It impedes the free market.

This is a prime example of why people call for limited government. When you give the government power to regulate the market to 'protect the little guy' you do the opposite. When you concentrate power, people will use it to their advantage. Because we have given the ability to restrict the use of 'intellectual property' to the government, moneyed interests manipulate that power to their own benefit, and to the detriment of others.

Unfortunately, because some use this power, it forces everyone else to as well. If you don't, you will fail to compete effectively.

Have you ever known a rich person?

Re:And none ever will again (5, Informative)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#45830517)

I don't know who the fuck modded this down (Disney fan maybe??), but I'm dead serious. Back in the day, I used to teach my students the in-and-outs of copyright law (75 years plus, or whatever the hell the law happened to be at any given time). But since the 90's, I just tell them that anything that anything published from 1923 onwards will always be under copyright.

Re:And none ever will again (5, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | about a year ago | (#45830623)

And the real irony is that Disney built its animated empire on stories in the public domain:
- Snow White? Grimm's Fairy Tales.
- Pinocchio? Carlo Collodi, 1880.
- Fantasia? Classical music from the public domain. The highlight, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, is from Goethe in 1798.
- Bambi? Nope, they stole that one too, from a 1923 work of Felix Salten
- Cinderella? That was written about 1700.
- Alice in Wonderland? Lewis Carroll, of course.

Basically, if it's a "Disney princess", they almost definitely stole the character from somewhere else.

Re:And none ever will again (1)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#45831007)

And the real irony is that Disney built its animated empire on stories in the public domain:
- Snow White? Grimm's Fairy Tales.
- Pinocchio? Carlo Collodi, 1880.
- Fantasia? Classical music from the public domain. The highlight, the Sorcerer's Apprentice, is from Goethe in 1798.
- Bambi? Nope, they stole that one too, from a 1923 work of Felix Salten
- Cinderella? That was written about 1700.
- Alice in Wonderland? Lewis Carroll, of course.

Basically, if it's a "Disney princess", they almost definitely stole the character from somewhere else.

Disclaimer: I am a Disney fan. However, I am willing to admit that Disney has hypocritically played both sides of the aisle here in milking public domain when it suited them (Snow White now practically belongs to them, for example) and crying loudly for copyright protection for their original material about to enter the public domain, but your examples are not 100% accurate.

Fantasia contains "Rite Of Spring" which was composed by Igor Stravinski and should have been under copyright at the time (the film came out in 1940 and "Rite" was composed in 1913.).
Bambi was based on a book and Disney purchased the film rights to the book, although they bought them from a producer who had previously purchased the rights and abandoned the project when he realized it would be too difficult for him to do.

Re:And none ever will again (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about a year ago | (#45831273)

So should public domain status be "viral" like the GPL ? The actual performance of the work (speaking the words as well as the animation) and the recording thereof is what is copyrighted, not the actual story. Should derivative works automatically become public domain (and only public domain, no "cross licensing")?

Re:And none ever will again (2)

ravenscar (1662985) | about a year ago | (#45830891)

Which is funny since Disney made their fortune remaking stories that were already in the Public Domain:
Cinderella
Sleeping Beauty
Snow White
Beauty and the Beast
Frozen ...

The list goes on.

Lobbyists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830253)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/10/25/15-years-ago-congress-kept-mickey-mouse-out-of-the-public-domain-will-they-do-it-again/

Re:Lobbyists (1)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year ago | (#45830525)

Looks like we've got a counterexample case to Betteridge's Law of Headlines!

Near public domain (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830283)

Is there a concept similar to the BSD software license, where others are entitled to use the work as they see fit, but are required to make attribution to the original author and copyright holder? Also, derived works should clearly indicate that the original author(s) were not involved in the new work; for example, in a mixed anthology of original and new-fangled Sherlock Holmes stories, it should be clear which is which without having to do google searches.

capitalism, in this form, is utterly flawed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830293)

capitalism, in this form, is utterly flawed

They Should Lose Public Protection (5, Interesting)

maverickgunn (3480787) | about a year ago | (#45830345)

The entire purpose of copyright was to serve as an incentive for creators to add to the public wealth of knowledge and art. It was mutually beneficial: they get public protection for their work, and the public receives high quality art.

The corruption of copyright by the likes of Disney and other mega-conglomerates has polluted that purpose. Now, copyright is a legal bludgeon used to deprive the public of its culture while perpetually forcing them to pay to get it back.

If they want perpetual ownership of their work, they should lose any public or legal protections of it: it's quid pro quo, and if they are unwilling to hold up their end, they should be required to hold up both.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (-1)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#45830459)

It was mutually beneficial: they get public protection for their work, and the public receives high quality art.

And this still works perfectly well today, thank you very much.

If they want perpetual ownership of their work, they should lose any public or legal protections of it

Defending property rights of the citizenry is among the top tasks of any government. Moreover, the "ownership" (perpetual or not) is only meaningful, if there are legal protections for it.

Now, copyright is a legal bludgeon used to deprive the public of its culture while perpetually forcing them to pay to get it back.

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mcsnee (103033) | about a year ago | (#45830547)

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

(1) If you can't afford it, yes.
(2) If you can't find the person who has it to pay them, yes.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#45830657)

Well, thankfully, neither applies to entertainment:
  1. It is not required for survival, so question of "affording" does not arise.
  2. Disney and the others you denounce are right there, anxious to take your money for the entertainment they produce.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mcsnee (103033) | about a year ago | (#45830795)

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=orphan+works

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#45830869)

Are you implying, Disney have caused these "orphan works" to appear? Because this is, what you wrote earlier:

The corruption of copyright by the likes of Disney and other mega-conglomerates has polluted that purpose. Now, copyright is a legal bludgeon used to deprive the public of its culture while perpetually forcing them to pay to get it back.

Now, what does any of this have to do with "orphan works"?

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mcsnee (103033) | about a year ago | (#45831129)

I don't recall writing that, though I agree with its broad outlines.

But yes, Disney and others who lobby Congress to extend copyrights beyond all reason have contributed to the problem of orphan works. Orphan works come about when, for example, copyright law extends protection of works whose authors are already dead.

Your comments suggest that you don't really have an idea of the scope of the problem or how it comes about. Every original work--not just entertainment--that is fixed in a tangible medium is copyrighted, automatically, and thus automatically protected for the life of the author plus 70 years. The level of protection for pre-1976 works is a little different, but still far out of scale with the problem copyright tries to solve--namely, providing a sufficient incentive to authors to ensure the flow of new creative works without placing unnecessary restrictions on free expression.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830715)

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

If I take some food to eat, and the government takes the food back from me because I haven't paid for it, they are by definition depriving me of food. Of course, if the food was previously owned, I'll have deprived the previous owner in taking it.

Property ownership comes down to the threat of depriving people if they try to enjoy something which doesn't belong to them.
  The question is the extent to which deprivation is moral.

None of this has anything to do with copyright: the great thing about copying is that you don't deprive the initial owner.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45831269)

If I take some food to eat, and the government takes the food back from me because I haven't paid for it, they are by definition depriving me of food

Only if that's the only food available to you, otherwise you still have food and are not deprived.

None of this has anything to do with copyright: the great thing about copying is that you don't deprive the initial owner.

Maybe, maybe not. It depends on what would have happened if the copy was not available to you. IP is property, deal with it.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (5, Informative)

maverickgunn (3480787) | about a year ago | (#45830741)

And this still works perfectly well today, thank you very much.

Perfectly well? Really? Do you realize how many works are completely lost, from film, to music, to software to any other creative field simply because they never entered the public domain and copyright holders either disappeared or held them tightly in their grasp? On top of that, you have corporations like Disney whose entire existence was built on the works of others now abusing that same privilege to deprive future generations of their own creativity.

I wouldn't call either of those things "perfectly well".

Defending property rights of the citizenry is among the top tasks of any government.

Intellectual property is only "property" because the government, our government, labeled it as such. It shares little in common with actual property: it's not tangible, it doesn't degrade and it's not limited in quantity or duplication. Were it not for the public invention of protecting it, it would have no inherent protections. So if we receive no public benefit, why should we spend public resources defending it for them?

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

Of course you are. That's an obvious statement. But it's an entirely different situation because food is a tangible product limited in quality and quantity. It has inherent protections intellectual property does not so comparing the two is asinine.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830771)

> And this still works perfectly well today, thank you very much.
Not really. Look at Disney's portfolio again. None of their early work would have been legal had they not had public domain stuff to copy. So they would have made NO new art. That is where many people are today. Unable to use parts of out very culture because someone owns it. Copyright is harming the vast majority of people's ability to create art in order to enrich a few, entrenched entities'.

> Defending property rights of the citizenry is among the top tasks of any government. Moreover, the "ownership" (perpetual or not) is only meaningful, if there are legal protections for it.
It's not property. There is no movie I can make that can take Disney's movies away from them. But I can't do things like make a new animation called "Snow White" and not get sued out of existence.

> Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?
False equivalence.
A better one is, are you deprived of food if, in order to eat something, you may not use a single recipe anyone else has published anywhere, ever. Nor can you eat if yours is too similar to another. And only after a few years and several million dollars is spent in court determining that you spinach, green bean, feta, and kidney bean bread was sufficiently non-infringing.

In short: shill elsewhere you fucking dumbass

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#45830959)

And this still works perfectly well today, thank you very much.

No, it doesn't. I covered this in an earlier comment, scroll up.

Defending property rights of the citizenry is among the top tasks of any government.

If you buy a copy of my novel, the book is your property. But the novel is nobody's property. There is no such thing as intellectual property. It is NOT property, damn it!

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (4, Interesting)

jiriw (444695) | about a year ago | (#45830973)

Are you "deprived" of food, because you have to pay for it?

(3) If the person who has an abundance of it is unwilling to provide* at any reasonable price, yes.
(4) If the food is purposely made** to spoil fast, sometimes even before you were able to take a bite from it.
(5) If you have to pay the producer of your piece of food over and over again*** in full, if you want it to last or if you want to eat it in another venue than you originally intended.

(* publishers that let works go 'out of print' but still prosecute 'alternative means of distribution'. It is called artificial scarcity and is something very common when dealing with monopolies.)
(** certain DRM mechanisms come to mind.)
(*** LP, Cassette, CD. Celluloid film, Video cassette, Laser disk, DVD, Blu-ray. Digital distribution with various restrictions. Multiple devices for playback, or the inability to be able to.)

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (1)

tomhath (637240) | about a year ago | (#45830513)

The entire purpose of copyright was to serve as an incentive for creators to add to the public wealth of knowledge and art. It was mutually beneficial: they get public protection for their work, and the public receives high quality art.

The primary purpose of copyright was to ensure that the creators could profit from their work for a reasonable length of time, then the work would enter the public domain so others can use or extend it. I agree that current copyright laws don't serve that purpose very well; the concept needs to be modernized to accommodate corporations which can exist for hundreds of years as well as individuals. More like trademark than copyright.

Re:They Should Lose Public Protection (2)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year ago | (#45830807)

On the other hand, in the old days, copyrighted works would basically disappear after a certain period of time. Without a way to flawlessly record and maintain books, music, and movies, works would inevitably be lost, or of poor quality, so people needed new works to be produced, or there would be no copyrighted works. Now that all copyrighted works are able to be stored in a way that stops any of their original quality from being lost, things have changed a bit. the original copyright terms were 14 (17??) years. Having everything from the year 2000 and previous in the public domain would leave a whole lot of content out there that's in pristine condition, that people could use without paying anyone. I'm thinking that 75 years (or whatever it's at now) is probably too high, but if the number was set too low, then we'd have a similar problem that we now have with piracy, where there's so much work freely available, that people don't bother paying for the new stuff.

Pay up and enjoy it... (-1)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#45830415)

It is not like you can't access the works, unless they are in public domain — you just have to pay for it.

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (2)

mcsnee (103033) | about a year ago | (#45830497)

That (1) misses the point, which is that U.S. copyright law has become wholly uncoupled from the point of granting copyrights in the first place, and (2) isn't even true for a lot of works. Google "orphan works."

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830579)

Actually there are plenty of works being lost every day that no one has access to as a result of over extension of copyright. Relatively obscure works from prior to the 1920s are plentiful because they are in the public domain and are freely available. Works that are still covered by copyright are difficult to find even if you're willing to pay for them.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/the-missing-20th-century-how-copyright-protection-makes-books-vanish/255282/

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (0)

mi (197448) | about a year ago | (#45830621)

Works that are still covered by copyright are difficult to find even if you're willing to pay for them.

Then that is how their creators must have wanted it... Sure, there may be some author here and there, who was just otherworldly to mark his work "public domain" but in truth most people would rather get paid — if only as a cold affirmation, that their work is any good.

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830693)

Assumptions are factual only as assumptions and not as any other factual data.

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about a year ago | (#45830905)

Then that is how their creators must have wanted it

Or that's what the cartel which controls it's distribution now wants.

Copyright has long ceased to be about what the creator of a work wants, and is far too often about what the corporations who control them want.

Just because a corporation sits on something and doesn't publish, doesn't mean that the copyright owner has any say any longer -- because sometimes distribution rights also factor in.

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830839)

The problem is not access to works. The problem is if you can build on top of those works.
As an example. You can pick up a piece of paper and draw a car or a house. Well, according to law, the idea of a car or a house can be protected. That means that anyone that draws a car or a house needs permission from the holder.
Ever heard of the licensing monopoly back when the Automobile industry was in its infancy?
Read this :http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/how-henry-ford-zapped-a-licensing-monopoly#axzz2p4pOIgNi

"ALAM weapon was the 1895 Selden patent, and their claim was that it covered all gasoline-powered vehicles. By controlling this patent they asserted the right to decide who should be allowed to build and sell cars. Carmakers who didn’t join the ALAM and pay royalties on each car sold could be sued and possibly forced out of business."

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (1)

jandrese (485) | about a year ago | (#45831073)

That's less true than you think. Many times the original copyright holders cannot be found, or worse, you find multiple parties all asserting the same copyright (every grandchild thinks it is their personal gift from granddad). Although if you make a million bucks on something you can bet that delinquent rightsholder will suddenly appear out of the woodwork with lawyers in hand. Sometimes authors simply don't want you to use their works too and won't sell them for anything, although it's more common that they simply overvalue their own work and ask for way too much money.

Remember that copyright spans multiple generations over several decades. Lets say you want to build on an obscure work published in 1930 by a little known author. You can pore over public records to try to find living decendents, but chances are they have no clue about the copyright status of their great grandfather's works. Nobody has any documentation and the will doesn't mention it. You can't even find half of the people who might have a claim on it. You have nobody to pay, but the work was never released to the Public Domain, so it is effectively lost. You might think you can get away with just using it, but if one of those missing kids suddenly has some bills to pay, they're going to hire an East Texas lawyer and milk you for everything you've ever owned.

Re:Pay up and enjoy it... (2)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | about a year ago | (#45831143)

It is not like you can't access the works, unless they are in public domain â" you just have to pay for it.

You can pay for public domain works as well.

Difference is that if the copyright holder doesn't think it's worth the bother of publishing something, then you can't buy it at all. If it were in the public domain, someone else might decide to publish it....

JEWS... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45830863)

You can't expect your unelected Jewish 'masters' to actually WORK for a living, can you? Don't you know that Jews benefit from the change in the law? Who controls the entire media? Why, the eternal Jew...

The best argument for change in PD laws (3, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | about a year ago | (#45831111)

The best argument I've heard for changing the laws dealing with public domain in the USA is that in these days of federal budget cutting and decreasing spending, if these copyrights are so valuable then why are they being renewed for free automatically? It would seem logical to make a change where those who want their copyrights to be extended could pay a fee, perhaps fairly large, and fill out some paperwork to get the copyright renewed. If they forget to fill out the forms in time and pay the fee in time, too bad. That's how it was some years ago. If you forgot to renew your copyright in time, you lost it. Congress could enact a sliding scale where the renewal fee increases exponentially. For example, say that all works get an original copy right period of 50 years. Then if renewal is desired, the copyright holder could pay $500,000 for a renewal period of 10 years. If they want the works renewed at the end of that period for another 10 years, the fee goes up to $5 million. The next 10 year period is $50 million. The one after that is $500 million, then $5 billion and so on. Eventually the cost will get prohibitive that nobody will pay it any more and works will enter the public domain. I really do not get how if these works are so valuable that they must be renewed that Congress has to let it be done for free and virtually forever. Unfortunately to date the US Supreme Court has basically ruled "We're not saying that we think that extending copyright is a great idea, but the Constitution does permit it. As long as the termination date is less than 'never', any extension is probably legal." Why is Congress giving away money in renewal fees if these works are truly so valuable that they must remain in copyright longer?
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