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What Could Have Been - Copyrights


The 1976 Copyright Act (effective in 1978) extended the term of a Copyright to the life of the author plus 70 years for works created by individuals and 95 total years for works "created" by corporations or works made for hire.  Prior to 1976, the maximum term of a copyright was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years that could be extended for an additional 28 years upon renewal).  If not for the Copyright extension, several well known works would have entered the public domain this year.  These include:

- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller (book)
- James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl (book)
- Breakfast at Tiffany's (movie)
West Side Story (movie)
- Splendor in the Grass (movie)
- Judgment at Nuremberg (movie)
- The Hustler (movie)
- Stand by Me, by Ben E. King. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller (song)
- Let's Twist Again, by Kal Mann and Dave Appell (song)
- Surfin', by Brian Wilson and Mike Love

Alas, these works all remain protected by copyright.  They will, however, enter the public domain in 2057.  So only another 39 years.