Nick, Michael Farris Smith, Gatsby discussed on Morning Edition
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Happy New Year. Among other things. January 1st is public domain Day. That means copyrights expire on works from 95 years ago, so everybody is free to rewrite. Remix or just play around with classic books and songs and more. NPR's Petra Mayer reports on what people have been doing with it all. So here's the thing with public Domain Day for 20 years, it didn't happen. 1998 Congress passed a law extending current copyrights from 75 to 95 years. And that meant that until two years ago, nothing new was coming into the public domain. That all changed on January 1st 2019. Since then, A flood of popular culture from the 19 twenties has become available early, silent movies, pop songs, books like the Prophet Mrs Dalloway and The Great Gatsby. So what are people doing with all this good stuff? You know, Like Gatsby, I was captivated by Nick That's author Michael Farris Smith. His new novel, Nick comes out this month, and it imagines a life and a backstory for Gatsby's Nick Carraway. Smith says he was snagged by that moment at the end of the book, where Nick suddenly realizes it's his 30th birthday. And then right after that, he describes it as anticipating a decade of loneliness. And that is what really stuck me like When I read the decade of loneliness line I remember actually stopped there, and I said the book aside, Smith says he saw so many parallels between Nick's life and his own at that age that he decided to write next story, although he says he just assumed Gatsby was in the public domain. When he started writing five years ago. He was a little taken aback when his publishers told him the book couldn't come out until 2021. But Nick is one of the few really high profile works to surface from that flood of new public domain material. Jennifer Jenkins is the director of the Center for the Study of the Public domain at Duke Law School. She says. A lot of what's happening is on a smaller scale. I've had e mails from parents who say, Hey, my high school kids, an amazing musician. And guess what, you know now that Rhapsody in blue is free. He's going to play it. He's going to re imagine it and maybe we'll put it on YouTube. Some publishers have put out new editions of books like Khalil Gibran's The Prophet, Jenkins says the works become more available and in more editions, and that is self feeds creativity, So we do absolutely no, that happens. So why aren't there more Nick's out there? Glenn Fleishman is a journalist who's covered copyright issues. There's some very popular weird copyright cases that involve lots of lawsuits. And I think it makes people worry. Flashman has experienced some of that worry himself. He loves the classic song. Yes, we have no bananas, which entered the public domain on January 1st 2019. So he organized some friends at a New year's party to sing it, And they put the song up on YouTube. Moments after midnight on January 1st wait. Months.