Tag Archives: Public Domain

Copyright Term Extensions are Looming!

In our September 2014 newsletter, we wrote about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This is an international initiative, being negotiated in secret, which will have far-reaching impacts in many areas of trade, copyright, and more.

We urge all fans of Project Gutenberg to learn about this initiative, and speak with lawmakers and others about your concerns. Spread the word to your friends and family, who might not be aware of the downward pressure on wages and job security that the TPP would bring about.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an article describing the disastrous effects of copyright term extensions, which will be extended under the TPP to match or exceed copyright terms in the United States.

Readers in countries with Project Gutenberg affiliates will be particularly interested in this article. Australia, Canada, Great Britain, some nations in Europe, and elsewhere would extend copyright terms if the TPP were to be enacted. This would largely halt growth of the public domain, as happened in the United States in 1998.

The Sanction of the Victim

Consider this question:

Would any of our modern publishers be able to compete with a mind and heart such as that of Johannes Gutenberg?

Yet they, and their predecessors, The Stationers, managed to take over the entire world of The Gutenberg Press with the first of an era of legal manipulation we call “Intellectual Property.”

This takeover reduced the number of books in print to 10% of what they had been the day before the first copyright law took place — and returned the control of all publishing to The Stationers, who had had it for all previous history before Gutenberg.

The current ripoff royalty structure of 5% was imposed, meaning a single dollar out of every $20 you pay over the country goes from you to the author, and all the rest goes to publishing emperors — and their various hired personnel that stand between you and that author you love so much, each taking what they consider to be the fair share to which they are entitled…only that share is made possible only by the world of monopoly….

Think about this when you hear about the world in which monopoly, copyright, and other powers are used to enable one person, or some business they control, to own entire libraries of books, music or movies that would have long since expired under the copyright law they were created and contracted under.

These people, such as Ted Turner and Co., have made more millions from these titles than did those who originally created them


Because the copyright laws have been manipulated so that an owner of any copyright [until very recently] was under the impression a copyright could not last and thus was willing to take payments of drastically less than their work was worth due to the stroke pens made when enacting new copyright laws that voided the old ones!!!

Continue reading The Sanction of the Victim

Project Gutenberg Yearly Overview: 2010

Noon, January 6, 2011, was the end of Project Gutenberg’s 2010 production year. A great deal happened during the year though perhaps the most important was how 2010 became the year of the ebook.

All ebook websites reported an increase in downloads, especially at the end of the year. Gutenberg.org also saw a big increase, with almost 4.5M downloads for the 30 days after December 20th, up by around 900K from the 30 days before.

Public Domain Day

The first day of each year is Public Domain Day, when we list the works that have gone into the public domain that day.

There’s a great post over at law.duke.edu listing works that would have entered the public domain this year if it weren’t for copyright extensions that happened in 1978 and those since.

Because of these extensions we’ll see fewer and fewer works entering the public domain over the coming years.
Continue reading Project Gutenberg Yearly Overview: 2010

Oprah picks Public Domain titles for her Book Club

After all these years, Oprah finally made a selection–actually a pair of selections–from the public domain.

“A Tale Of Two Cities” and “Great Expectations” both by Charles Dickens and available for years from PG and all the other eBook distributors who use our materials.

In fact Tale Of Two Cities was one of our first 100 and is frequently on our Top 100 Downloads List.

The Associated Press and their subscribers seem to give Project Gutenberg some credit for the fact that a sales figure for this combined edition by Penguin is not up a lot higher than it’s current 43rd position.

I don’t expect Oprah to do any more public domain, as I think her selections have been more about the cash than the materials. I am evenly split on these two, as I hated Great Expectations, loved Tale of Two Cities.

January 1, 2011 will be Public Domain Day

Every new year since the first copyrights expired, back around 1724, the world has looked forward to the expiration of copyrights and the availability of public domain works, which have been kept under publishing monopolies.

This coming January 1, Europeans will see a nice list of great works entering the public domain as their copyright terms expire. Yet in the United States, where a landmark Supreme Court Case decided that an extended copyright term could literally last forever, a person can no longer look forward to such happenings.

Some exampes of expiring copyright in Europe this coming year:

  • Freud
  • Havelock Ellis
  • Zane Grey
  • William Butler Yeats
  • etc.

These works can now have new life breathed into them via any number of new unauthorized editions that publishers and private citizens are able create, including new articles, books, TV shows, videos, movies and all other forms of media.

Next year, many people will ask why the sudden resurgent interest in Freud, Ellis, Grey, Yeats, etc., and answers will rarely include the fact that these authors weren’t previously available due to copyright.

Continue reading January 1, 2011 will be Public Domain Day