These Copyrighted Works Will Finally Enter the Public Domain

The last mass copyright expiration was 21 years ago.

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By Chase Hill / December 20, 2018 12:02 pm

Creative works by Robert Frost are being added the public domain in 2019. For the first time in 21 years, poetry, art, writings and much more will finally be made available to the public. Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” is among the works being released.

Hundreds of thousands of films, photographs and musical compositions are also being added to the public domain. The last time a massive expiration of copyright occurred was in 1998.

Other notable works include Theodore Pratt’s stage adaption of The Picture of Dorian Gray, Winston Churchill’s The World Crisis, Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass (The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even) and Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.

The long wait is due in part because the Disney company lobbied hard in 1998 to extend copyright laws to protect their most valuable asset: Mickey Mouse. After Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, 20 years were added to the original copyright terms that already gave protections for the lifetime of the creator and for an additional 50 years after the their death.

Holes in history will finally be filled thanks to the release of works like Claude McKay’s poetry in Harlem Shadows and T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land.

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