On Friday, as many were nursing hangovers and pinching and punching for the first day of 2016, a new set of entries went into the Public Domain. The most widely discussed books that made it into the list last week were the two European books: ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank and ‘Mein Kampf’ by Adolf Hitler.
In both cases, free access to these memoirs would help historians, students and readers to better understand the atrocities of the Second World War. This is important, particularly following events in 2015, which have been closely paralleled to the geopolitical climate of the 1930s. Whether this knowledge is passed on in epub format, traditional paper format or made into documentaries or movies, the entry of these key texts into the Public Domain is to be celebrated.
Sadly, copyright laws, particularly in the United States, have prevented other work that was due to enter the Public Domain last Friday from doing so. The Centre for the Study of the Public Domain has this to say about these works:
Imagine them being freely available to students and educators around the world. Readers – from the conspiracy theorist to the grammar enthusiast, the student of racial injustice to the sociologist – would have something to celebrate. And then there are the sci-fi offerings, from Canticle to Troopers. “Long ago, during the last age of reason, certain proud thinkers had claimed that valid knowledge was indestructible—that ideas were deathless and truth immortal.” At least if you can get to it.
For the full piece, as well as a list of the most famous works which were blocked by copyright loopholes, click here.