January first is the day, each year, when the works of some authors enter the public domain. Their works become officially a part of our cultural heritage in a way that makes them open for use, and not hampered by restrictions. The terms of copyright expire and give us the opportunity to remix and build upon the works of those who have gone before us. Building on the heritage of our shared culture is the key element, I think. Public domain status certainly also means that individuals get the first legal opportunity to simply copy a work. That’s great, but not the equal of making something new that wasn’t legal before.
Read more here.
Public Domain Works has a list of people whose works will enter thepublic domain in 2010.
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