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The Term Quagmire

Generally, when you think of copyright term, you think in terms of the author's lifespan, plus some bonus years. However, as Congress keeps extending the bonus years in an interminable game of hopscotch to keep Micky Mouse out of the public domain, the calculus for determining copyright term becomes a little more. In fact, as you can see in the flowchart below, the calculus really begins to look like calculus.

Copyright Duration

source:
When U.S. Works Pass Into the Public Domain by Lolly Gasaway, www.unc.edu /~unclng /public-d.htm

Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States by Peter B. Hirtle, www.copyright. cornell.edu /training/ Hirtle_Public _Domain.htm