Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Leaving your literary estate to the public domain

In the U.S., copyright on works of individual authorship (as opposed to corporate authorship; includes joint authorship by more than one individual) lasts for 70 years after the author's death. In some other jurisdictions, it lasts for life + 50. This copyright, if not opened such as by a Creative Commons license, will act as a barrier to the use rights which form the BBB definition of OA. That's a long period to wait for OA. Plus, the author's death makes it harder to locate the rightsholder (who inherited the copyright), making it more difficult to secure permissions and increasing the likelihood the author's work will become orphaned.

This page has been circulating around the Web in recent days (apparently since February 26 or later). It depicts a sticker which an individual can apply to her ID card, in the manner of an organ donor sticker, indicating the individual wishes her copyrights to be released to the public domain upon her death.