Today is Public Domain Day 2016. Here in the U.S. nothing to celebrate. In fact, the lack of material entering the public domain not change until Jan. 1, 2019.
However, elsewhere around the world, it’s a different story.
From an Excellent Center For the Study of the Public Domain Roundup:
Public Domain Day is January 1st of every year. If you live in Europe, January 1st 2016 would be the day when the works of Béla Bartók, Blind Willie Johnson, and Felix Salten enter the public domain.1 The works of Adolf Hitler will also enter the public domain, allowing a team of historians to publish a heavily annotated edition of Mein Kampf with around 3,500 academic annotations intended to “show how Hitler wove truth with half-truth and outright lie, and thus to defang any propagandistic effect while revealing Nazism.”
In Canada, the works of T.S. Eliot, Winston Churchill, and Malcolm X will emerge into the public domain. Canadians can stage their own dramatizations of T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (the basis for the Broadway show CATS), or add the full works of Churchill and Malcolm X to online archives, all without asking permission or violating the law. However, Canadians may have much less to celebrate next year. The recently released Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (“TPP”), if ratified, would require Canada, along with 5 other countries, to add 20 years to its copyright term (expanding the term from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death). This is happening at a time when there is a consensus among academics, economists, and policymakers—including two heads of the United States Copyright Office—that this term is a “big mistake.”
See Also: Public Domain Day FAQs
See Also: World Copyright Terms Map
See Also: Public Domain Calculators
See Also: The Public Domain Review