TorrentFreak: Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy For Copyright Infringement. “Project Gutenberg, the world’s oldest digital library, has been blocked by ISPs in Italy under the orders of the Court of Rome. The platform, which focuses on public domain books, appears to have been erroneously labeled a pirate site in an action targeting 28 domains and several Telegram channels.”
Everybody’s Libraries: Everybody’s Library Questions: Finding films in the public domain. “First, how do you find out what films exist that meet your content criteria? Second, how do you find out whether films in that set are in the public domain? Finally, how can you get access to a film so you can do things with it (such as write a score for it)?”
Library of Congress: Free to Use and Reuse: Movie Magic. “You can see the Riviera in all its long-lost splendor, and dozens of other unique movie theaters, in this month’s set of Free to Use and Reuse prints and photographs from the Library’s collections of copyright-free material. There’s the neon-lit Tower Theater, a Sacramento landmark. Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The Ritz Theatre in Greenville, Alabama, an Art Deco building opened in 1935 and now devoted to the performing arts.”
Smithsonian: Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Free Images for Broader Public Use. “The Smithsonian announced today the launch of Smithsonian Open Access, an initiative that removes Smithsonian copyright restrictions from about 2.8 million of its digital collection images and nearly two centuries of data. This means that people everywhere can now download, transform and share this open access content for any purpose, for free, without further permission from the Smithsonian.”
Hypebot: Every Possible Melody Has Been Copyrighted, Stored On A Single Hard Drive. “In a unique effort to combat the high volume of dubious lawsuits flying back and forth in the music industry today, on team of musicians has recorded every possible melody onto a single hard drive, and then put each melody in the public domain.”
Techdirt: Announcing The Winners Of The 2nd Annual Public Domain Game Jam!. “The judges have had their fun, the votes are in, and now it’s time: we’ve got the winners of our public domain game jam, Gaming Like It’s 1924! We had some amazing entries this year, and we’ve even got a couple returning winners. Plus, we noticed a really exciting pattern: several of the games didn’t just make use of newly-copyright-free works from 1924, they actually found ways to embody the spirit of the game jam — a celebration of the public domain and the creative power of remixing and reimagining — within their themes and mechanics as well.”
Thank you John S. for the pointer to this from Kottke: Database of old book illustrations. “Here’s an enormous library of thousands of old book illustrations, with searchable name, artist, source, date, which book it was in, etc. There are also a number of collections to browse through, and each are tagged with multiple keywords so you can also get lost in there in that manner.” John mentioned that this site is an absolute timesink. He’s not wrong.
Library of Congress: Free to Use and Reuse: Maps of Discovery and Exploration. “Exploration into the unknown — when much of the world’s surface was not accurately mapped — is the theme of this month’s edition of the Library’s Free to Use and Reuse sets of copyright-free material. The collection is an eye-opening reminder that much of the globe was not recorded until late in the 19th century.”
Techdirt: Announcing The Public Domain Game Jam: Gaming Like It’s 1924!. “The rules are basically the same as last year. For the entire month of January, you can submit your digital or analog games (specific rules are at the link) based on some of the newly public domain works from 1924. If you’re looking for ideas on what works are there, Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain has an excellent list and LifeHacker has called out some highlights as well.”
Center for the Study of Public Domain: Public Domain Day 2020. “On January 1, 2020, works from 1924 will enter the US public domain, where they will be free for all to use and build upon, without permission or fee. These works include George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and books such as Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India, and A. A. Milne’s When We Were Very Young. These works were supposed to go into the public domain in 2000, after being copyrighted for 75 years. But before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years.” So much goodness. Harold Lloyd, a silent film stuntster like Buster Keaton, is not known enough. Check out this scene from the iconic film Safety Last. Filmed almost a century ago and still had me on the edge of my seat.
Techdirt: Universal Music Claims Copyright Over Newly Public Domain ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’. “One of the signature works of the public domain class of 1923 was the song Yes! We Have No Bananas by composers Irving Cohn and Frank Silver. As of January 1st, anyone was free to make use of that song. Indeed, in our own Public Domain Game Jam competition, we actually had not one, but two separate game entries based on ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas.’ But, of course, even if Hollywood wasn’t going to push for term extension, that doesn’t mean it won’t do what it always does, and pull other levers.”
Motherboard: Millions of Books Are Secretly in the Public Domain. You Can Download Them Free. “Prior to 1964, books had a 28-year copyright term. Extending it required authors or publishers to send in a separate form, and lots of people didn’t end up doing that. Thanks to the efforts of the New York Public Library, many of those public domain books are now free online.”
Everybody’s Libraries: More and better copyright data online for serials and books. “It’s getting easier over time to find and use data on copyrights, and thereby to find and make use of materials in the public domain. Here’s a quick update on what’s new and what’s coming, in my projects and elsewhere.”
Genealogy ala Carte: Quebec Archives to allow free use of more than 100,000 digitized historical documents. “The Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) yesterday announced it now allows the free and unrestricted use of more than 100,000 public-domain historical documents and images, in the public domain, that have been digitized and made available on its website.” Apparently some classification has to be done before this will be complete.
PR Newswire: Introducing MHz Curationist – Framing the World We Share (PRESS RELEASE.) ” MHz Curationist is an emergent, distilled and searchable CMS database of Creative Commons, Open Access, and Public Domain content serving as an interdisciplinary and ever-growing library, publisher and 21st-century online museum.” I browsed a little but I’m still not sure what this is all about. The press release makes it sound interesting, but I’m a bit nonplussed.