4 thoughts on “Quick: Is It Under United States Copyright?

  1. Happy New Year to you too, Eric!

    I think it used to be 75 years, then got retroactively extended to 95 years. But yeah, copyright is practically forever these days.

    In fact, Roger Ebert wrote recently about a wonderfully unique animated movie that is currently in copyright jail because it uses songs from the 1920s—that are under copyright for many more years, even moreso because they’re sound recordings under corporate copyright.

    Actually, apparently I’m lowballing the figure of 95 years. Now it’s 70 years after author death for anything post 1978, 120 years after creation, or 95 years after creation, whichever expires earliest. And copyright for works pre-1978 has been extended by 20 years as well. We can thank Sonny Bono for this mess. Among other things, we can consider all sound recordings ever made to be copyright until at least the middle of the 21st century, even those pre-1923.

    I’m going to go correct this post.

    Here’s a graph of the expansion of years under U.S. copyright: Graph.

  2. Thanks, Joe. :) I try to wend my way through copyright hell because I want to contribute to Feedbooks as well as Project Gutenberg. Unfortunately, I’ve been stepping into copyright bombs ever since—as do all folks who venture down that path.

    By the way, your post about the RIAA’s new approach is probably the reason why a friend of mine, who produces original music and distributes it online, got his internet access pulled. Which just goes to show that ISPs are still as ham-handed as the RIAA ever was….

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