Thursday, January 03, 2019

Disney's reign of terror

It's over. For now, anyway.
2019 is only a few days old, but the new year is already a happy one for appreciators of early jazz. And classic film. And 20th century literature.

That's because with the arrival of the new year came the sunset of a 1998 congressional act that for 20 years delayed the expiration of the copyrights of works that were otherwise scheduled to enter the public domain. What that means to you and me: An expansive treasure trove of music, film, literature and other works of art produced in 1923 now, finally, belongs to all of us.

That includes early recordings from such New Orleans jazz legends as Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, King Oliver and Sidney Bechet -- and that's just the start.
Now that the clock is ticking on Mickey again, we can all rest assured that Disney will figure a way to put another stopper on public domain within the next few years. But for now, this is nice.

Once upon a time, US copyright only lasted for 28 years with one eligibility for renewal.  In a saner world this would mean we'd be getting free access to 1963 and probably a little bit of 1991 this year. Theoretically this would mean "Blame it On the Bossanova" by Eydie Gorme and "Blame it On the Rain" by Milli Vanilli could be ours today.  

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