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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:55 am 
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If you're cheap like me, you rely on public domain materials for much of your reading, viewing, and listening pleasure. Every year, on January 1, the copyrights expire on a group of works and they enter the public domain EXCEPT in 1998, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Act (to protect the character of Mickey Mouse), which extended copyright protection in the U.S. for 20 years. This means that no new works would enter the public domain during that 20 year period, so, while anything first published in 1922 or earlier was in the public domain, 1923 works remained protected for 20 more years.

A lot of works published since then are in the public domain because the laws in the US for properly copyrighting a work were fairly strict and technical, and for a long time, copyrights were only 28 years and had to be renewed for another 28. Works that weren't properly copyrighted or renewed fell into the public domain and weren't saved by the subsequent legislation (that's why you see a lot of bad 40s, 50s, and 60s movies on public access channels or streaming channels).

Here's a list of some of the 1923 works that are now available and will undoubtedly be made available for free by various publishers:

--The Ten Commandments (silent)
--Safety Last (Harold Lloyd dangling from the clock)
--The Pilgrim (Charlie Chaplin)
--Tarzan and the Golden Lion
--Murder on the Links (Poirot)
--Bambi (the book)
--The Ego and the Id (Freud)
--The Inimitable Jeeves (P.G. Wodehouse)
--Whose Body (Dorothy Sayers)
--Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening (Robert Frost)
--The Prophet (Khalil Gibran)
--Jacob's Room (Virginia Woolf)
--Yes, We Have No Bananas
--Who's Sorry Now
--The Charleston
--St. Joan (play by Shaw)
--London Calling (Noel Coward)
--Bird in Space (Brancusi)

Only the original works enter the public domain, so people are now free to record their own versions (or print the music) of "Who's Sorry Now," but the various recordings of it remain protected. Similarly, people can print their own versions of Bambi and the artwork from the book, but the Disney film remains under copyright.

I've read that Agatha Christie's most famous work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is also in the public domain, but it was published in 1926, so I'm not sure if that's accurate or not. The Christie books and any other English author books remain protected in the UK until 2046, since their copyright laws differ from those in the US.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:15 am 
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For those who may be wondering, copyright is handled like horses' birthdays, where everything gets a year older on January 1. That saves would-be copiers the trouble of figuring out when during the year a work was published, or (when copyright term depends on the life of the author) when during the year the author actually died. --Bob

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 8:26 pm 
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silverscreenselect wrote:
I've read that Agatha Christie's most famous work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is also in the public domain, but it was published in 1926, so I'm not sure if that's accurate or not.
Most famous? I'd guess that most people would name "Murder on the Orient Express," "And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians" and others, before they'd come up with "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 11, 2019 10:31 pm 
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Estonut wrote:
silverscreenselect wrote:
I've read that Agatha Christie's most famous work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is also in the public domain, but it was published in 1926, so I'm not sure if that's accurate or not.
Most famous? I'd guess that most people would name "Murder on the Orient Express," "And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians" and others, before they'd come up with "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."


I've read a couple of places that And Then There Were None is the best selling Christie novel of all time. However, Aykroyd shows up at the top of a number of Christie Best lists and in 2013, the British Crime Writers Association voted it the best crime novel of all time by any writer. To be fair, the award was voted from a list of only ten novels, including Murder on the Orient Express, Silence of the Lambs, The Hound of the Baskervilles and two Raymond Chandler novels. (but not And Then There Were None).

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/ ... ime-writer

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2019 1:28 am 
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silverscreenselect wrote:
Estonut wrote:
silverscreenselect wrote:
I've read that Agatha Christie's most famous work, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, is also in the public domain, but it was published in 1926, so I'm not sure if that's accurate or not.
Most famous? I'd guess that most people would name "Murder on the Orient Express," "And Then There Were None/Ten Little Indians" and others, before they'd come up with "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd."
I've read a couple of places that And Then There Were None is the best selling Christie novel of all time. However, Aykroyd shows up at the top of a number of Christie Best lists and in 2013, the British Crime Writers Association voted it the best crime novel of all time by any writer. To be fair, the award was voted from a list of only ten novels, including Murder on the Orient Express, Silence of the Lambs, The Hound of the Baskervilles and two Raymond Chandler novels. (but not And Then There Were None).

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/ ... ime-writer
"Most famous" means best known by most people, not rated highest by crime writers and list-makers.

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