In countries with a life-plus-70-years copyright term,
works by creators who died in 1943 will enter the public domain
on January 1 2014.
Creators whose work will enter the public
domain on New Year’s Day for those countries
include jazz artist Fats Waller, French expressionist
painter Chaïm Soutine and Kostis Palamas, a Greek
poet who wrote the words to the Olympic Hymn.
For countries with a life-plus-50 copyright term, the work
of creators including authors CS Lewis, Sylvia Plath and Aldous
Huxley will enter the public domain in 2014.
New Year’s Day has been declared Public
Domain Day by a group of organisations working to promote
the public domain, including Communia and the European Thematic
Network on the Digital Public Domain, with support from the
Open Knowledge Foundation.
As a result of extensions to the copyright term, no material
has entered the public domain in the US as the result of
copyright term expirations since 1970. Some works, however,
have entered the public domain in other ways, such as through
Creative Commons licences.
The next mass migration of works into the public domain in
the US will occur in 2019, if the country does not further
extend the copyright term before then.
US Congress launched a review of the Copyright Act
this year after being urged to do so by Maria Pallante, the
register of copyrights at the US Copyright Office. Pallante
called for review in a speech in March before the House
Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet
Committee on the Judiciary.
One of the aims of the review is to consider ways to
update US copyright law for the digital age. The last major
revision of the 1976 Copyright Act was in 1998 with enactment
of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which created
notice-and-takedown rules for infringing material online, and a
20-year increase to the US copyright term in the Copyright Term