Tuesday, 2 January 2018


As is the case with our friend y2k, America’s period of no new works infusing and enriching the public domain has also entered its age of majority, with no published items released in two decades due to revisions to statue that strongly favour rather the artist and creator (and their adorning public) those studios, clearing-houses and franchisees that benefit from the ownership of exclusive liens and naming-rights.
While other countries and jurisdictions have allowed trademarks and charters to lapse gracefully—and to the public benefit as resources become freely available to schools and other institutions unconditional, the US has moved sharply the in the opposite direction, retroactively freezing the rollout of books and artwork (other than government created content) from the early 1920s onward—that is, if legislators don’t move to extend the option to renew again, which would not surprise me as it’s historically enjoyed bipartisan support since 1998 sweeping reforms that only benefited consumers and venue-operators by giving bartenders permission to unmute televisions or play the radio without fear of reprisal, though the days of a listening-tax are not far gone. Not only does America date itself when Irving Berlin, Jelly Roll Morton, The Ten Commandments and Adam’s Rib are reliable the only properties one can feel confident in airing and sharing and be reasonably certain that they’re not infringing on some ancient claim, it’s also what makes rentiership a viable business model and while making the world a little poorly probably just encourages others to flout the law through piracy.