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New year welcomes thousands of copyrighted works into the public domain

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This year marks the first in two decades that a significant body of copyrighted work has lost its U.S. copyright protection and fallen into the public domain. Why is that...and what does it mean for scholars and educators? Prior to 1978, the term of copyright protection for a work in the United States was measured from its date of first publication in the U.S. Under the first U.S. copyright act in 1790, U.S. works enjoyed an initial term of 14 years of protection, with an optional second term of another 14 years.

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