Wednesday, January 19, 2022

WB Yeats and Freud (and more) Become Public Domain Today

Good news for those seeking to use copyrighted material (some at least). Today’s Telegraph has some interesting news concerning copyright and the public domain.  Expect some litigation over this.

Under European Union law all books, poems and paintings pass into the public domain 70 years after the death of their creator.

At midnight last night the works of artists and thinkers who died throughout 1939 slipped out of copyright, meaning they can be reprinted and posted on the internet without incurring royalties.

In addition to Yeats and Freud, the list includes Arthur Rackham, the illustrator whose drawings appeared in early versions of children’s books such as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the novelist Ford Madox Ford, and Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt.

A selection of works by the artists will be available on Wikisource, a sister website of the free online encyclopedia Wikipedia, from today.

Also according to the Telegraph, no “copyrights expired in the US today because of a 1998 copyright extension. The earliest that copyrights will begin to expire there will be 2019[.]”

James Boyle, Duke Law professor and founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, has great insights on public domain issues here.


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