Public Domain? We ain’t got no Public Domain. We don’t need no Public Domain! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ Public Domain!
With apologies to B. Traven and John Huston, I note that Duke’s Center for the Public Domain has a nice post about what might have been in the public domain. In my paper The Life and Death of Copyright, I go over how a few authors rallied with American interests to extend copyright term. I also show that no matter which of the main theories one looks to for IP, none supports copyright after death. None.
In other words, folks who usually disagree about all sorts of nuances in copyright, (It’s labor! It’s the personhood! It’s utilitarian!) converge on, or at least have no good support for copyright after death. Paul Heald’s work shows that the dreaded under-production myth is just that, a myth. Aram Sinnreich’s The Piracy Crusade just came out and gets into the problems with locking up work. I’ve just started it, but his run through history, sociology, and more looks to be a great addition to the literature in this space.
So it’s a new year. Old fights are with us. New ones will come. The sun also rises. Time for naked lunch.
(Note: Burroughs claimed the phrase, Naked Lunch, meant a “frozen moment when everyone sees what is on the end of every fork.” or the truth albeit ugly).