Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Big "When does this go Public Domain?" Post

Mr Burns and Smithers representing the current way copyright and  authors are related.

Copyright; a temporary exclusivity on the distribution and reproduction of a work. A privilege, meant to aid authors and owners be more confident that their works will grant them income during their lifetimes. Maybe when it was instituted at a constitutional level they weren't thinking of sending kids to jail for having Niki Minaj  mp3s or stopping churches from unauthorizedly showing The Messenger without permission from  a company, or keep kids from singing High School Musical songs on they're own high schools, but what are you going to do?

If this makes me a copyright breaker, then I don't want to be nothing else.

After works stop belonging to Warner or whatever, they enter the public domain, a healthy 95 years after their initial publishing. I...think it should be a little less. If you agree, well, go ahead and sign my petition. Meanwhile, we must continue to live in the world where it takes nearly 100 years for works to become public domain. Why don't we check out when some of todays most influential works will enter public domain, according to today's law?

Now, here's my fair warning: unless I say so, this only accounts for the first appearance of the thing. For example, if I say Men in Black, all that enters PD is the initial movie. It'll take 5 years after that for MIB II, and ten years after that for MIB III. So if you use any elements from MIB III, say, the film's villain Boris, or the idea that Kay met Jay as a kid, in the date I give you, you're gonna get sued. I'm only giving you the date for Men in Black 1. Mind you, there's also a MIB cartoon, derived from the movies, and an MIB Malibu comics, which are now owned by Marvel, which inspired the movies. I can't cover every little thing. 
You can do better than this.

Because of this, I invented the Public Domain calculator. You just choose the year of publication, and it automatically shows you when the stuff will go public domain in the states. Want to know when you can use Batarangs, Buffy's sister Dawn, or That Old Strategy RPG Only YOU Remember? Well, give it  a whirl. You can even see when it would have gone  had the law not been changed, if you like indignation as much as I do.

Everyone else, here's a breakdown on when the most popular things today* go PD.  Read it and weep.


Movies. It takes a combination of actors, directors, and a bunch of something called "grips" to make a movie. Unlike a book, or a baby, you generally can't just make a movie between two to three people. Which is why most movies, most of the ones we all know and love are owned by corporations. Here's when they won't be.





Terminator  2079 (This is just the first movie. No T1000 yet.)



Pirates of the Caribean


Star Wars 

2070 (Just the first movie. No Bobba Fett yet or Emperor yet. On the other hand you can totally come up with your own Prequels at this point. You just can't put Jar Jar Binks in them. {:.(.. )


(This is just for the quotable Scarface remake starring Al Pacino we all know. The Original Scarface should have lapsed in 2027, You can make another Cut-in-the-face-criminal-who-rises-to-the-top-and-then-has-a-huge-downfall movie after 2027. Or, you know, now, and just don't call it Scarface.)

Planet of the Apes



2087 (This is just the first movie. The TV show, it's original characters and premises, will not lapse yet. )

James Bond (The first movie) 2048


Ok, there's plenty of public domain superheroes, awight? You could already be working on that. If you must wait, here's when some of the really popular ones will become as free as the air to use.


(He doesn't have his Batmobile, sidekicks, or code against killing by this point. Below are dates for further Batman elements)
Joker 2035
Robin 2035
Catwoman  2035

 2028 (He doesn't have his final symbol, abilities like flight or heat vision, sidekicks, pets or most of his rogues cast.)

Wonder Woman 




 2058 He doesn't have the red and yellow yet.

 2055 The team is comprised of Angel, Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast and Iceman. Adding Jubilee gets you sued.)
>Wolverine 2069

Fantastic Four 
Dr Doom 2057

Ninja Turtles
 2079 (This is just the original comics. Does not cover future cartoons, movies, books etc.)

Dick Tracy



Did you know that Chronicles of Narnia is already public domain in Canada, and that War of the Worlds is public domain in America, yet still locked up in England? Books are the original IP, and here's when some of the ones you like might become Public Domain.

Lord of the Rings


Starship Troopers


I Robot 


Space Odyssey


Who goes there? BKA The Thing






I Am Legend


Who doesn't love a good cartoon? I know I do, anyway. Animation is, naturally, one of those things that's becoming "Democratized" by cheap and free and easy new tools, and one day it'll be easier than ever for you to make your own version of...

Looney Tunes
 2063 (Check for particular character origins. I'm tired)

Mickey Mouse


Betty Boop
 2021( Or...maybe now?)

Inspector Gadget

 2090( Check for particular character's first appearance)

Sailor Moon



Yeah, we're not getting any public domain videogames within our lifetimes, thanks to those ridiculous alterations made to the duration of copyright. It's sad, really.   What's fun is, once, since rules and procedures can't be copyrighted, you'll get to make as much legitimate Sonic as you like once he does go public domain.


Street Fighter
 2092 (This is just the Street Fighter 1 game.No Chun Li for you, yet. )



Legend of Zelda


Final Fantasy 2082

Final Fantasy VII(the one you all care about anyway.)

Final Fight



Tomb Raider featuring Lara Croft


Metal Gear


Mortal Kombat


So there you go, guys. See you in 95 years!

(Batzarro is not a copyright lawyer. Or a lawyer of any kind. Or very smart. Or not-dumb. Follow his advise at your own risk, asshole.)

* Well, some stuff I know, anyway. Go do your own damn list, then!


Post a Comment