What Do Ayn Rand, Dr. Seuss, and Buddy Holly Have in Common?

If I go on strike, Whoville will grind to a halt.If you were dreaming that this year an
upstart publisher would mash up Atlas
 and How
the Grinch Stole Christmas
 into a book both egoists
and altruists could love, you’re out of luck. There was a time
when American copyrights covered creative efforts for no more than
56 years, allowing both of those books to enter the public domain
yesterday. But the Copyright Act of 1976 brought that saner system
to an end, and since then copyright terms have only grown

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain has posted a
of famous novels, films, and other works that would have come into
the public domain this year if the pre-’76 system were still in
place; they range from Salvador Dali’s Celestial
 to Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue.” Under the old law, the
site notes, you

would be free to translate [the list’s] books into
other languages, create Braille or audio versions for visually
impaired readers (if you think that publishers wouldn’t object to
this, you would be wrong), or adapt them for film. You could read
them online or buy cheaper print editions, because others were free
to republish them….Imagine a digital Library of Alexandria
containing all of the world’s books from 1957 and earlier, where,
thanks to technology, you can search, link, index, annotate, copy
and paste. (Google Books has brought us closer to this reality, but
for copyrighted books where there is no separate agreement with the
copyright holder, it only shows three short snippets, not the whole
book.) Instead of seeing these literary works enter the public
domain in 2014, we will have to wait until 2053.

We might have to wait even longer. The content industry is
gearing up to extend copyright terms
yet again

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/02/what-do-ayn-rand-dr-seuss-and-buddy-holl

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