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Public Domain2:39 with Chris Zabriskie
When copyright finally expires, a work falls into the public domain, allowing anyone to use it and create new works based upon it. But there is something to be careful of when you're working with something in the public domain.
While there's no official guide to works in the public domain, Public Domain Review has a good guide to researching public domain works for yourself. Anything published before 1923 is public domain for sure, but there are other, later works that have since passed into the public domain.
So what happens when the copyright term is over? 0:00 You're dead. I'm sorry. It's been a few decades. What now? 0:03 Well according to the law, at that point the work falls into the public domain. 0:07 Copyright no longer exists. 0:12 Anyone can literally do anything they want to with it, 0:15 though I guess if you were to try and tell people that you're the one who originally wrote "Romeo and Juliet" 0:18 you might get a few sideways glances. 0:23 Usually a work enters the public domain after it's formal copyright has expired. 0:26 There's a few ways that that could happen. 0:31 Usually it's enough time has lapsed 0:33 or in the case of a lot of work of the 20th century when copyright laws were a little different than they are today, 0:35 that's work copyright hadn't been properly renewed before the deadline. 0:41 We don't have to renew copyright anymore, but they used to have to. 0:45 Some work can actually be put into the public domain right from the beginning though. 0:49 So if you want to write a song or create a collection of icons and make it public domain, you can do that. 0:53 Now we're going to talk about how to do it later on. 0:59 A fun example of creating new works from the public domain is "The Wizard of Oz" okay? 1:02 So the original book, Frank L. Baum's "The Wizard of Oz", is in the public domain. 1:08 Go ahead! Make a "Wizard of Oz" movie. Go nuts. Whatever you want to do. 1:12 And that's just what Disney did pretty recently. 1:15 They made "Oz The Great and Powerful" 1:18 using characters from the novels. 1:20 But in 1939 MGM made "The Wizard of Oz", which I'm sure you've seen. 1:23 That film is not in the public domain yet. 1:28 And believe it or not, Dorothy's ruby slippers from the MGM film are not in the books. 1:31 Those were invented specifically for the movie. 1:37 So if you watch "Oz The Great and Powerful", that's why there's no ruby slippers in it. 1:40 Going even further than that, Disney had to make sure that the Wicked Witch of the West's green skin 1:45 wasn't too close to that color green that they'd used in 1939. 1:50 It's crazy stuff for sure, but it illustrates the limitations of public domain. 1:55 There's a big difference between the work that is a public domain 2:00 and not just new versions of it but actual recordings of it. 2:05 And this is important. 2:10 You might want to use some Bach or some Mozart in a video that you're making to advertise your new Android app. 2:12 That's fine as far as that original Bach piece goes. 2:17 But that recording of the song that you bought on iTunes, that's probably copyrighted. 2:21 The song is public domain, but the recording is copyrighted. 2:26 You have to understand that difference whenever you think you're working with something that's in the public domain. 2:32 Just be careful out there. 2:37
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