One of my favorite films of all time is a film from 1965 called CHARADE. It’s an amusing little caper with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and it was directed by Stanley Donen. It’s had a sordid history and a one point had sunk into public domain. That’s all well and good, as many things do. But CHARADE, amongst other works that have been in the public domain, may face a big change ahead, as Wired reports that the Supreme Court may re-copyright things that have fallen into public domain. This includes books, musical compositions, and other works that can be freely used by the public and adapted. The ruling was made last Wednesday.
The ruling was 6-2, the reasoning being that “just because material enters public domain, it is not territory that works may never exit.”
This ruling was made against a petition by a group of people within the arts whose livelihoods depended on the arts. Claiming that the speech rights of those using the material currently would be breached by recopyrighting the material, the group was vehement to stop the ruling. Someone the most famous works in the arts are in public domain, such as the books of Jane Austen, Fritz Lang’s sci-fi epic METROPOLIS, and the compositions ofIgor Fyodorovich Stravinsky. This is the first time that the issue has been brought to public light in years, the last time being in 2002 when Congress ruled that copyright would last from 50 years after an author’s death to 70 years