The Shifted Librarian - Shifting Libraries at the speed of byte
 Thursday, August 21, 2003

Bringing Home the Void Sonny Bono Has Left in the Public Domain

In response to yesterday's post about Book Magazine's 2002 chart of the best selling classics, Eliot Landrum re-did the chart and added a column estimating when those works not already in the public domain would become so in the U.S. He also included cool little pop-ups that link to Excellent work, Eliot!

"A couple of notes:

  • Besides the books already under public domain (10 of the 50 already are), The Great Gatsby is up next for public domain. In the year 2020.
  • Book number 13, Memoirs of a Geisha, is the last book to go public. Iíll be cold in my grave in the year 2092.
  • Many of these books also happen to be on the Challenged and Banned Books list. Maybe later Iíll mark books that are on both lists."

I think adding that column does indeed make you stop and think about how ridiculous our copyright extensions have become. When The Great Gatsby enters the public domain (assuming there are no further extensions, which is a risky bet these days), Brent will be 25-years old, and when it's Memoirs of a Geisha's turn, he'll be 97.

That's just insane, and the Supreme Court Justices that rejected Eldred need to understand this. Those Justices most likely will not see such classics as The Pearl, Siddhartha, Catch-22, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Catcher in the Rye enter the public domain in their lifetimes. I know that little fact doesn't bother them, but it should.

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