For homework, we were assigned to browse through “Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States” that was complied by people at Cornell University. Although it wasn’t quite what I expected to read (I expected to see a long article), this was quite different.
This whole reading, if you want to call it that, is a big chart regarding people’s kinds of work they published, and when it is okay for someone else to use it based on Copyright laws.
The categories were: never published, never registered works, works registered for first published in the U.S., works first published outside the U.S. by foreign nationals or U.S. citizens living abroad, sound recordings, and architectural works.
The chart also states the date of publication, conditions, and the Copyright term.
Although I don’t necessarily agree with how long it takes for a person to legally be allowed to use another person’s work, there is nothing we can do about it unless the law changes. I think that because we have to allow so much time to pass after the creator has passed away before someone new can use their work, it will be such old news that most people will not even want to use it anymore.
In my personal opinion, I think that any work should be free game to the public immediately after the creator has passed away. The only other exception would be is if the creator sells it to someone else while they are still alive.
In the end, we have to follow the law, so until the law changes, we have to be careful of what work we share and use if it is copyrighted