Posted by Billyjam, January 1, 2008 09:15pm | Post a Comment
Welcome to January 1st, 2008, otherwise known as Public Domain Day. Each New Year's Day thousands and thousands of new creative works pass from being copyrighted material into the public domain -- meaning movies or music, etc, become free to you or me or anyone who wants them.

As reported today on the Copyright Watch website today "January 1st is Public Domain Day in most countries of the world, where copyright runs from the death of the author of a work until the end of the 50th, 70th, or some other year thereafter. In the largest bloc of countries of the world, with the majority of the world’s population, the general copyright term of life+50 expired no later than midnight this morning for the works whose author, or last-surviving of multiple authors, died in 1957."

There are already thousands of works out there (movies, music, plays, books, etc) that are public domain that many people are unaware of. They just don't know that are out there for the pickings. In fact there are some individuals who trawl online sites looking for obscure public domain movies to download, and then burn them on DVD and sell them on eBay for a profit. The New York Times, which recently did a story on this practice, said that what makes it unprecended is that traditionally people would be more likely to hawk copyrighted material. But in a case like this the seller is taking the time to research and dig and see what material is out there in the public domain, downloading it, and then marketing it via eBay and other outlets.