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Woolf’s works enter public domain

As the clock counted down to 2012, the estates of artists, creators, authors and composers prepared to see their incomes wane as copyright works slip out of protection

For those countries where rights holders enjoy protection for 70 years after the artist’s death ­– among them EU member states and Australia – 2012 will see works come into the public domain by British novelist Virginia Woolf, French essayist Louis Bertrand, Irish sculptor John Hughes, French painter Jean Hippolyte Marchand and Lithuanian composer Jurgis Karnavičius.

So too the works of British artist Harold Harvey and US songwriter Howard Johnson, whose works include “I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream”.

For countries whose copyright terms last 50 years after the death of the creator - including China, Japan, Hong Kong and South Africa - this year sees the works of US novelists Thomas Bell and Ernest Hemingway lose copyright, along with books and articles by psychiatrist Carl Jung.

The works of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore, who died in 1941, also come into the public domain in the EU and Australia. But in his native land, where the term is the life of the author plus 60 years, they have already been freely available for 10 years.

In India, the works of French author and Nobel prize winner André Gide, philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and, confusingly, Rabindranath’s nephew Abanindranath Tagore, a painter and author of children’s books, all enter the public domain.

In a separate development, Laos will see a significant copyright development this year when the Berne Convention enters into force in the country on March 14. It becomes the 165th contracting party.

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