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Creative Works *Ascend* into the Public Domain

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It's a Wonderful Life, the movie, became a public domain work in 1975 when its copyright registration was not renewed. It had been a disappointment at the box office, but became a perennial favorite in the 80s as television stations began to play it (and play it again, and again) at Christmas time, partly because it was inexpensive content. Alas, copyright for the story it was based on, The Greatest Gift by Philip Van Doren Stern, HAD been renewed, and the movie was thus a derivative work on which royalties could be collected. In 1993, the owners of the story began to cash in on the film's popularity by enforcing their copyright on the story.

I learned about the resurrection of Wonderful Life from a talk by Krista Cox, Director of Public Policy Initiatives for ARL (Association of Research Libraries) during June's ALA Annual Conference. But I was struck by the way she described the movie's entry into the public domain. She said that it "fell into the public domain". I'd heard that phrase used before, and maybe used it myself. But why "fall"? Is the public domain somehow lower than the purgatory of being forgotten but locked into the service of a copyright owner? I don't think so. I think that when a work enters the public domain, it's fitting to say that it "ascends" into the public domain.

If you're still fighting this image in your head, consider this example: what happens when a copyright owner releases a poem from the chains of intellectual property? Does the poem drop to the floor, like a jug of milk? Or does it float into the sky, seen by everyone far and wide, and so hard to recapture?

It is a sad quirk of the current copyright regime that the life cycle of a creative work is yoked to the death of its creator. That seems wrong to me. Wouldn't it be better use the creator's birth date? We could then celebrate an author's birthday by giving their books the wings of an angel. Wouldn't that be a wonderful life?
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adamcole
121 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
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bibliogrrl
121 days ago
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Chicago!
adamcole
121 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
theprawn
126 days ago
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By JohnFromGR in "Galt's Goof" on MeFi

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"That's libertarians for you - anarchists who want police protection from their slaves." - Kim Stanley Robinson.
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adamcole
121 days ago
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digdoug
136 days ago
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Louisville, KY
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MaryEllenCG
139 days ago
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Yup.
Greater Bostonia
bibliogrrl
141 days ago
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Chicago!
adamcole
141 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
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"Diana’s lack of cultural and accumulated background trauma is perhaps what makes this version of her..."

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Diana’s lack of cultural and accumulated background trauma is perhaps what makes this version of her so iconic compared to other superheroes, across both Marvel and DC. While all superheroes personify various fantasies of power, in this iteration Diana represents the fantasy of freedom from structural violence and harassment. It’s not just that she can fight her way out of danger—it’s that she’s a vision of what could be possible if women weren’t in danger as often as they are.

Over the course of Wonder Woman, Diana is also continually shown listening to and respecting other women, when the men around her are eager to underestimate or dismiss them. This is particularly noteworthy, since Diana is a warrior and a princess and the women she meets are not only ordinary 20th-century residents, but lack institutional power.

It would be easy to portray Diana as valuing strength or courage, finding the women who grew up under patriarchy confusing. Instead, there’s Trevor’s secretary, who Diana treats with kindness and respect from the moment they meet. There’s a woman from a destroyed village, ignored by the soldiers in the trenches and seen as another acceptable victim of the war, whose plight Diana takes seriously. Even the female villain of the piece, Doctor Maru, is spared by Wonder Woman in the hopes that she could be reformed.

Diana will argue with other women and fight against them, but she’ll never be their rival or feel threatened by them, and refuses to condescend to them as well. In a genre of film that glorifies strength and fighting skills—particularly in the rare instances that women are allowed to be action stars—Diana’s kindness and respect is a deliberate subversion.



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https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/wonder-womans-best-superpower-is-destroying-sexist-tropes

“It’s not just that she can fight her way out of danger—it’s that she’s a vision of what could be possible if women weren’t in danger as often as they are. “ like this whole excerpt is magnifique but that part right there made my heart clench

(via finnglas)

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MaryEllenCG
153 days ago
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YES.
Greater Bostonia
adamcole
153 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
bibliogrrl
153 days ago
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Chicago!
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DESCRIBING LIBRARIANSHIP TO NON-LIBRARIANS

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adamcole
161 days ago
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
MaryEllenCG
162 days ago
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Greater Bostonia
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