To follow up on my last post, I found this entirely useful—though only for Europeans—tool that calculates whether work is public domain or not. Alas, after several test calculations, I feel more confused than enlightened. At the end of each calculation, nothing seems resolved. Every time the  conclusion was that the copyright was expired, though, “Please note that a single item might be protected by multiple layers of rights.”The automatic calculation option—only available for the Netherlands—proved more user friendly but still confusing. So far, drawing out the boundaries of the public domain is extremely difficult; either that, or I’m looking in all the wrong places.

Also worth noting, for most of us Public Domain Day 2012 went uncelebrated. Apparently, Jan 1 of every year is the largely under appreciated  Public Domain Day. At publicdomainday.org you can discover much more about those who advocate  public domain and creative commons. The site, too, very nicely outlines copyright laws, and notifies readers of artists soon to enter the public domain. It’s a great source for information about rights. And, finally, I found a site that lists new entrants to the public domain. I feel a little cheap spending so much time searching for copyright expired pieces of art to include in my design. Shouldn’t I be creating only original art? Absolutely not. By including past artists’ words and imagery into modern design, we can enrich and educate, and incorporate some sweet Victorian—or if we like, Byzantine or even the shameless Rococo—flourishes into our art. Oh, and it’s not plagiarism if it’s public domain, “At ease, old man law.”And, behold the technicolor map relating copyright length laws:

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