What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2012?

Current US law extends copyright protection for 70 years after the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1955 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2012.…

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“A Mushroom at Last… A Mushroom Forever”

I asked my 10yo why she was moping. “Because I don’t want to be a dancing mushroom,” she said, in a tone that added an unspoken “duh!” Like most of her theater friends, she is on pins and needles, waiting for Stage Right to announce the cast list for next month’s production of Annie “What makes you bring up mushrooms, honey?” She shifted on her bed. “The cast list.” I…

Office Hours in the Pool Hall

My favorite story comes from the week I held my office hours in the Brother Gorch Pool Hall. Named for the Congregation of the Holy Cross monk who spent decades in charge of our student center and sometimes played pool with students, it was the perfect location for office hours the week we discussed William Appleman Williams’s Empire as a Way of Life. Near the end of his jeremiad calling…