It's January 1st, 2011, New Year's Day and, for millions of “works” in the copyright law sense of the term, the first day of the rest of their existence. Yes, it is Public Domain Day, the day on which “life-plus” copyrights expire in those countries which calculate the duration of copyright from the death of the author, for N years thereafter, and to the end of that final year.
In Canada, that term is “life plus fifty”, which brings into the public domain the published works of a number of historically prominent Canadians. Chief among them would be Prime Minister Arthur Meighen, artist Paul-Émile Borduas, writer G. Herbert Sallans (“Little Man”, GG award in 1942), and poet Jean Charbonneau.
Some lesser-known Canadians whose published copyrights expired at midnight include soldier and author Harold R. Peat, journalist and politician Joseph Charles Walsh, historian Bruce Alistair McKelvie, Scottish-born artist and professor Jock Macdonald, poet and writer J. Edgar Middleton, politician and writer Victor Morin, painter Fred S. Haines, physician and writer Philippe Panneton, astronomer Andrew McKellar, artist Victor Child, politician and author William Henry Moore, poet Eustace Jenns, medical scientist and artist Maud Menten, and Canadian-American astronomer Samuel Alfred Mitchell.
Unfortunately, due to incredibly short-sighted amendments to the Copyright Act in 1997, unpublished works by these same authors, and others who died in 1960, will remain under copyright in Canada until January 1, 2049. The best example of the perverse result of this would be Prime Minister Meighen, whose published works and speeches are public domain, but whose private correspondence and other unpublished material will be under copyright for another four decades.
Internationally, literary figures, having died in 1960, whose life+50 copyrights have just expired include Russian Nobel laureate in literature (“Dr. Zhivago”) Boris Pasternak; British-Australian novelist Nevil Shute (“On the Beach”, “A Town Like Alice”, “No Highway”); Irish writer Seumas MacManus; French author Albert Camus; and Dutch writer Chris van Abkoude (“Pietje Bell”). (See others, below.)
Due to the unusual history of copyright term in the United States, many works which may just now be coming into copyright in the life+50 universe are already public domain south of the border, having been published before 1923. One example would be African-American poet Effie Waller Smith, whose works were published in the first decade of the 20th century.
In the world of art, design, and architecture, the life+50 clock has run out the works American illustrator James Montgomery Flagg. You may never have heard of him, but you have certainly seen his most famous work, the iconic 1917 U.S. Army recruiting poster of Uncle Sam, with the slogan “I want YOU for the U.S. Army”.
In music, life+50 copyright have expired for the sole-authored works of French composer André Bloch and American songwriter Pat Ballard (“Mr. Sandman”). A number of other prominent American songwriters shuffled off in 1960, including Eddie Cochran (“Summertime Blues”), Fabian Andre (“Dream a Little Dream of Me”), Frank Silver (“Yes, We Have No Bananas”), and Oscar Hammerstein II of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame. However, their works are not necessarily public domain today, due to the application of the life-plus rule to all others of joint works. Cochran's collaborator Jerry Capehart, and Andre's collaborator Wilbur Schwandt both lived until 1998, so “Summertime Blues” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” will have life+50 copyright until January 1, 2049. Richard Rodgers lived until 1979, which means another 19 years of life+50 copyright for the Rodgers and Hammerstein corpus. Frank Silver's co-writer Irving Cohn, however, only outlived him by one year, which will bring “Yes, We Have No Bananas” into the life+50 public domain a year from today.
From the silver screen, the last frame of life+50 has run out on Italian screenwriter and director Gianni Franciolini; French director and screenwriter Jacques Becker; Danish screenwriter Svend Rindom; Russian-American screenwriter Sonya Levien; American screenwriter Frank Lloyd (“Mutiny on the Bounty”, 1935) ; German screenwriter and director Harald Braun; and Argentinian screenwriter and director Leopoldo Torres Ríos.
However, copyright doesn't “protect” only the works of literary and artistic expression. It also applies to “works” in other fields, especially books, articles, and monographs in all areas of human endeavour.
In the area of history and archaeology, copyright has expired on the solely-authored works of British historian Charles Singer, British archaeologist Leonard Woolley, and German historian Wilhelm Herzog.
Elsewhere in the humanities and liberal arts, the works of British orientalist Lionel Barnett, Dutch ethnomusicologist Jaap Kunst, and American economist Edwin E. Witte are now public-domain in the life+50 world.
Out of the political and legal world, and out of copyright in life+50, if not in their own country, are works by British suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst, British politician Charles Ammon, 1st Baron Ammon, and Welsh politician Elizabeth Andrews. On the other hand, American William Morgan Shuster's 1913 “The Strangling of Persia” was already public-domain in the United States, and, for that matter, under the life+30 — yes, 30 — copyright term in Iran.
From the pure sciences, mathematics, and medicine, the new life+50 public domain is represented by the works of German-born astronomer Walter Baade, German-American geophysicist Beno Gutenberg, and Dutch astronomer Pieter Johannes van Rhijn.
And, in a variety of other fields, life+50 has run out on the works of Indian journalist Feroze Gandhi; American newspaper columnist Franklin Pierce Adams; Russian-American Rabbi and scholar Mnachem Risikoff; Scottish theologian John Baillie; Italian missionary and ethnographer Father Alberto Maria De Agostini; British WWI flying ace James Ira Thomas "Taffy" Jones; Irish-born missionary and writer W. S. Pakenham-Walsh; Norwegian journalist Hans Aarnes; French admiral Pierre Barjot; American librarian Harry M. Lydenberg; Anglican Bishop of Melanesia Walter Hubert Baddeley; French journalist Georges Altman; Lebanese theologian and scholar Sheikh Ahmed Aref El-Zein; American systems engineer Harry H. Goode; American pastor Donald Barnhouse; English footballer and sports journalist Charlie Buchan; American journalist and war correspondent Lewis Ransome Freeman; German journalist and diarist Victor Klemperer; American naval officer and historian Dudley Wright Knox; American journalist and businessman James S. Carson; Turkish-born Jewish scholar Chaim Nahum.
Over in in the life+70 universe, which includes most of Europe and Latin America, works entering the public domain this year include those by American explorer Frederick Albert Cook; Dutch writer Menno ter Braak; Canadian physician Maude Abbott; Swedish writer Alfred Ploetz; Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky; English medical missionary to Labrador and Newfoundland Sir Wilfred Grenfell; Polish poet Kazimierz Tetmajer; English physicist and Nobel laureate J.J. Thomson; American writer John Monk Saunders; American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald; American writer Nathanael West; American artist Mary Vaux Walcott; American biologist Raymond Pearl; French composer Maurice Jaubert; Swedish writer Verner von Heidenstam; Russian writer Isaak Babel; British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain; Buck Rogers creator Philip Francis Nowlan; Austrian neuroscientist and Nobel laureate Julius Wagner-Jauregg; Swiss-German painter Paul Klee; Russian writer Mikhail Bulgakov; Ukrainian writer Isaac Babel; British sculptor and writer Eric Gill; and British novelist and Governor-General of Canada John Buchan, Baron Tweedsmuir.
The life+70 terms has also expired for the American copyright in unpublished works by those who died in 1940. By the end of this decade, the public domain in archival documents in the United States will surpass that of Canada in size, as the life+70 rule starts applying to works of those who died in 1948 and after, works which will continue to be "protected" in Canada until 2049.
Short live copyright, and long live the public domain. Happy Public Domain Day 2011!
OTHER AUTHORS WHOSE WORKS HAVE ENTERED THE LIFE+50 PUBLIC DOMAIN
LITERARY FIGURES: American adventurer Roy Chapman Andrews; Swiss author Georges Oltramare; Japanese novelist Ashihei Hino; African-American author Richard Wright; Austrian writer Arthur Schütz; British arabist and writer St. John Philby; English author Eden Phillpotts; English poet F. S. Flint; American author Gene Fowler; Georgian writer Guram Rcheulishvili; French poet Gilberte H. Dallas; Russian novelist Yury Olesha; Italian writer and artist Fortunato Depero; Serbian poet Sima Pandurović; Filipino writer Iluminado Lucente; American poet and author Karle Wilson Baker; American writer Harry Kemp; Croatian writer Viktor Vida; French poet Paul Fort; American children's author Clara Ingram Judson; Norwegian author Sigurd Hoel; Scottish poet and author Rachel Annand Taylor; Iranian poet Nima Yooshij; American poet Dilys Laing; Swedish writer Per Hallström; Latvian writer Ernests Birznieks-Upitis; American writer Zora Neale Hurston; Spanish writer Gregorio Marañón; German writer Hedda Eulenberg; American mystery writer Roman McDougald; American writer Joy Davidman; English novelist Ethel Lilian Voynich; Italian writer Massimo Bontempelli; Slovene author Ivan Ahčin; Japanese poet and playwright Yoshii Isamu; British juvenile author (“The Abbey Girls”) Elsie J. Oxenham; American writer Raymond Abrashkin; British writer Douglas Goldring; French poet Fernand Gregh; English writer Lady Cynthia Asquith; English author and artist Ralph Chubb; Sierra Leonian author Adelaide Casely-Hayford; French writer Marie Gasquet; British author Olivia Rossetti Agresti; British pulp writer John Russell Fearn; English diarist Evelyn, Princess Blücher; Chilean writer Víctor Domingo Silva; Japanese children's author Kurushima Takehiko; American self-help writer Elizabeth Towne; American writer John P. Marquand; Swiss-German writer Curt Goetz; French poet Jules Supervielle; American light-verse writer Joseph Simon Newman; Flemish writer Willem Elsschot; Czech poet Jan Zahradníček; French poet Gérald Neveu; Indian Jain scholar and writer Nathuram Premi; Irish poet and translator Pádraig de Brún; Swedish writer Sven Lidman; Indian playwright Brajanath Sarma; pulp fiction writer Victor Rousseau Emanuel; British novelist Dornford Yates; Slovene writer Ivan Pregelj; Peruvian writer Antenor Orrego; English novelist Dorothy Bussy; Australian science fiction writer Norma Hemming; Scottish writer Saira Elizabeth Luiza Shah; American playwright Edith Ellis; Scottish folklorist and author Calum Maclean; Puerto Rican writer and nationalist José Coll y Cuchí; Uruguayan writer Enrique Amorim; Kurdish writer Rafiq Hilmi; Senegalese poet David Diop; French philologist Marius Chaîne; Brazilian writer Narbal Fontes; Bengali writer Parashuram; American writer Emily Post; Indian poet and essayist Sudhindranath Dutta; Indian Tamil scholar Raghava Iyengar; English poet Frances Cornford; American author Negley Farson; Dutch author Piet Bakker; Portuguese poet Tomaz Vieira Da Cruz; Scottish-born mathematician and science fiction writer Eric Temple; French Guyanese writer René Maran; Austrian writer Vicki Baum; British playwright A. R. Whatmore; American novelist H. L. Davis; American poet James J. Metcalfe; Greek writer M. Karagatsis; Indian poet and author Sripada Krishnamurty Sastry; Italian author Sibilla Aleramo; Mexican playwright Julio Jiménez Rueda; Swedish biographer Archibald Douglas; Indian ghazal writer Jigar Moradabadi; American author Mark Antony DeWolfe Howe; Israeli author Ya'akov Cohen; American author Ruth Suckow; American author Eric P. Kelly; French poet Pierre Reverdy; American poet Audrey Wurdemann.
ARTISTS AND ARCHITECTS: Australian-born British painter Henry Lamb; American sculptor Rudulph Evans; Russian sculptor Alexander Matveyev; American painter David Park; Irish artist Eva Henrietta Hamilton; Norwegian artist and designer Gabriel Kielland; British illustrator H. M. Brock; French sculptor Lucien Brasseur; English architect and writer Philip Morton Shand; French artist Jean Puy; Danish painter and author Harald Moltke; Dutch painter Dirk Smorenberg; French painter Auguste Herbin; Indian painter Sailoz Mookherjea; Mexican artist Francisco Goitia; American artist Dean Cornwell; Australian illustrator Ida Rentoul Outhwaite; French sculptor Henri Bouchard; American painter Leon Dabo; American artist Ernest L. Blumenschein; English architect and designer Alfred Hoare Powell; Scottish architect Maxwell Ayrton; Japanese photographer Hakuyō Fuchikami; Russian artist Igor Grabar; American painter Genevieve Springston Lynch; Scottish architect Ninian Comper; Japanese artist Ei-Q; French artist Jean-Michel Atlan; Spanish artist Fernando Álvarez de Sotomayor y Zaragoza; Hungarian-born artist Georg Mayer-Marton; Hungarian-Romanian artist János Mattis-Teutsch; Indian painter Archibald Herman Muller; Hungarian-born painter and designer Vilmos Huszár; Spanish cartoonist Boixcar; English architect Giles Gilbert Scott; Filipino architect Juan Marcos Arellano; American dog painter Morgan Dennis; Bulgarian painter Vladimir Dimitrov; Hungarian artist Arthur Pan; Belgian artist Jozef Peeters; French artist Paul-Émile Bécat; American artist Rolf Armstrong; American sculptor Ulysses Ricci; British war artist Evelyn Dunbar; Belgian artist Anne Bonnet; Russian artist and writer Stepan Pisakhov; American illustrator Bessie Pease Gutmann; German architect Fritz August Breuhaus de Groot; British war artist Eric Kennington; Italian architect Antonio Barluzzi; American architect Douglas Ellington; Dutch painter Luite Klaver; Bosnian-Serbian sculptor Sreten Stojanović; American cartoonist Gene Ahern; American illustrator J. J. Lankes; French-born woodblock artist Paul Jacoulet; Russian artist Alexander V. Kuprin; French painter Andrée Lavieille; Welsh artist Margaret Lindsay Williams; Russian artist and art historian Alexandre Benois; German painter Edward Harrison Compton; German artist and architect Richard Ermisch; German-born sculptor Benno Elkan.
COMPOSERS AND SONGWRITERS: Italian composer Giovanni Antiga; Croatian composer Ivan Matetić Ronjgov; German composer Clemens Schmalstich; American organ composer Joseph W. Clokey; American composer Charles E. Duble; Welsh songwriter Mai Jones; Italian composer Vito Carnevali; Hungarian composer Ernő Dohnányi; Brazilian songwriter Newton Mendonça; American songwriter Al Hoffman; Hungarian-born composer Mátyás Seiber; German composer Günter Raphael; Filipino composer Julio Nakpil; German composer Rudolf Nelson; English composer Oliphant Chuckerbutty; Russian composer Mischa Bakaleinikoff; African-American composer Clarence Cameron White; Australian-born composer Alfred Hill; Hungarian composer Paul Abraham; American composer Isadore Freed; American gospel composer J.R. Baxter; Italian-American composer Alberto Bimboni; German composer Walter Goehr; English composer Rutland Boughton; Dutch composer Jakob van Domselaer; French composer Louis Cahuzac; French film composer Henri Crolla; German composer Joseph Haas; Swedish composer and artist Hugo Alfvén; American bebop composer Oscar Pettiford; American country songwriter & musician A. P. Carter; Hungarian composer Jenő Huszka; American composer Edward Burlingame Hill; Greek composer Dimitri Mitropoulos; Danish composer Launy Grøndahl; Argentine composer Carlos di Sarli; Czech composer and artist Jaroslav Doubrava; Australian composer Arthur Benjamin; Spanish composer Jesús Arámbarri; Danish composer Christian Debois; American ragtime composer Joseph Lamb; Indian composer Pannalal Ghosh; American songwriter Jesse Belvin; English composer Armstrong Gibbs; New Zealand composer Victor Edward Galway.
HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY: American historian Clarence H. Haring; Danish archaeologist Gudmund Hatt; German archaeologist Adolf Schulten; American historian Bertha Putnam; Swedish historian Lauritz Weibull; Norwegian historian Einar Jansen; Swedish archaeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson; English occultist and conspiracy theorist Nesta Helen Webster; Dutch economic historian and political scientist Nicolaas Wilhelmus Posthumus; Japanese historian Tetsuro Watsuji; German archaeologist Edmund Kiss; Indian historian Anant Sadashiv Altekar; American archaeologist Malcolm Jennings Rogers; Italian writer and historian Edwin Cerio; Italian historian Federico Chabod; Greek archaeologist Antonios Keramopoulos; Peruvian historian Raúl Porras Barrenechea; Russian-British historian Lewis Bernstein Namier; French Egyptologist Maurice Alliot; British pseudo-historian Harold T. Wilkins; American historian Charles Upson Clark; Czech Egyptologist František Lexa; American historian Anne King Gregorie.
HUMANITIES AND LIBERAL ARTS: American linguist and translator Johan Andreas Holvik; French linguist Gustave Guillaume; Scottish literary critic Herbert J. C. Grierson; American anthropologist Alfred L. Kroeber; American economist Leland Olds; American sociologist Samuel A. Stouffer; American philosophy professor Ralph Tyler Flewelling; American medieval scholar Hope Emily Allen; Swedish economist Erik Lindahl; Russian orientalist George de Roerich; Indian economist J. C. Kumarappa; American linguist George T. Flom; Austrian musicologist Robert Haas; American economist Beardsley Ruml; British literary scholar H. W. Garrod; British classical scholar Richard Livingstone; French linguist Joseph Vendryes; British colonial officer and scholar John Sydenham Furnivall; English linguist J. R. Firth; French futurist and philosopher Gaston Berger; American medievalist Sidney Painter; Austrian literary critic Leo Spitzer; British philosopher of language J. L. Austin; German literary historian Arthur Kutscher; Norwegian literary critic Harald Beyer; American literary scholar Thomas Marc Parrott; American anthropologist Clyde Kluckhohn; Czech sociologist Inocenc Arnošt Bláha, British theatre historian W. J. MacQueen-Pope.
POLITICS AND LAW: Scottish politician Katharine Stewart-Murray, Duchess of Atholl; American polemecist Francis Parker Yockey; Filipino jurist and author Claro M. Recto; British politician and writer Edward Hilton Young, 1st Baron Kennet; Japanese author and politician Takeru Inukai; Welsh politician Aneurin Bevan; American lawyer and author Donald Richberg; American lawyer Manley Ottmer Hudson; Swedish feminist and editor Signe Bergman; Indian Tamil politician O. P. Ramaswamy Reddiyar; Russian revolutionary Cecilia Bobrovskaya; American journalist and politician Richard L. Neuberger; Egyptian communist Shuhdi Atiya ash-Shafi; Basque nationalist politician José Antonio Aguirre.
SCIENCE, MATHEMATICS, AND MEDICINE: Czech mathematician Eduard Čech; Czech-American physicist Marcel Schein; American mathematician Oswald Veblen; German chemist Max Trautz; German entomologist Hans Bischoff; New Zealand-born zoologist James Brontë Gatenby; American astronomer Frank Elmore Ross; American electrical engineer Samuel H. Caldwell; Austrian-British psychoanalyst Melanie Klein; British forester and entomologist Edward Percy Stebbing; Russian-German mathematician Oskar Anderson; American physicist August Raspet; American geologist Louis Day; Austrian botanist Theodor Karl Just; Czech archaeologist and palaeontologist Karel Absolon; British astrophysicist F. J. M. Stratton; French physicist Maurice de Broglie; German astronomer August Kopff; New Zealand physicist John Angus Erskine; Indian zoologist C. R. Narayan Rao; German physicist Ernst Gehrcke; German neurologist Karl Kleist; French mathematician Victor Thébault; American botanist Ivan Murray Johnston; German-born psychologist Erich Neumann; Brazilian neurologist Antônio Austregésilo; Dutch astronomer and Marxist Antonie Pannekoek; Scottish mathematician Sheila Scott Macintyre; Hungarian-born surgeon Max Thorek; Swedish botanist Arthur Maillefer; British mathematician J. H. C. Whitehead; British-American physicist Kenneth Mees; Russian physicist Abram Ioffe; German chemist Walter Noddack; French mathematician Georges Darmois; American neurologist William Gordon Lennox; Japanese mathematician Teiji Takagi; American astronomer Carl Keenan Seyfert; British physicist Herbert Wakefield Banks Skinner; British botanist William Henry Lang; American astrophysicist Frederick C. Leonard; American marine biologist Paul Bartsch; Belarussian astronomer Gavriil Adrianovich Tikhov; German engineer Erich Bachem; French engineer Georges Claude; Hungarian-born psychologist Andras Angyal; British geologist Gertrude Elles; German physicist Max von Laue; Japanese physicist Ukichiro Nakaya; Anglo-Indian naturalist Stanley Henry Prater; German physicist Werner Meyer-Eppler; Australian astronomer Colin Stanley Gum; British florist Constance Spry; Russian geologist Nikolay Shatsky; Japanese mathematician Hidehiko Yamabe; Dutch physicist Wander Johannes de Haas; Italian-born aviation engineer Giuseppe Mario Bellanca; Russian-American biochemist Aaron Bodansky; English environmentalist George Stapledon; chemist Maria Bakunin; American psychologist David Seabury; Spanish zoologist Ángel Cabrera; American biologist Edward Loranus Rice; Scottish geologist John Baird Simpson; English astronomer Harold Spencer Jones; Danish astronomer Julie Vinter Hansen; Austrian-Argentinian psychoanalyst Heinrich Racker; German entomologist Hermann Schmitz; British botanist William Lawrence Balls; German zoologist August Thienemann; Italian mathematician Carlo Emilio Bonferroni; Welsh astronomer Hugh Percy Wilkins; Hungarian-born psychologist David Rapaport; Indian mathematician Ramaswamy S. Vaidyanathaswamy; American mathematician Arthur Milgram; American astronomer Ralph Elmer Wilson; American chemist Hermann Irving Schlesinger; Finnish botanist Alvar Palmgren; British botanist Agnes Arber; Russian-Swiss pharmacologist Anton Gordonoff.