does Copyright on source files expire ?

Mike Meyer mwm-keyword-freebsdhackers2.e313df at
Thu Mar 26 15:24:52 PDT 2009

On Thu, 26 Mar 2009 20:58:02 +1100
Peter Jeremy <peterjeremy at> wrote:

> On 2009-Mar-25 05:31:52 -0400, David Schultz <das at> wrote:
> >In the US, the rule that applies most of the time is that
> >Copyright expires 70 years after the author dies, although there
> >are many special cases where the term differs.
> And the '70' gets regularly extended following pressure from the big
> content owners.  As a rule of thumb, you can expect (eg) 'Mickey
> Mouse' to never be released from Copyright.

You forgot "and anything with a copyright newer than that one, which
includes anything in the US written after March 1, 1989." after the
words "Mickey Mouse".

And yes, chasing down the owners is a PITA. IIRC, Paul Allen did a DVD
retrospective of John Wayne's movies, and it cost more to chase down
and obtain rights from all the people involved than it did to produce
the DVD. But that's the way the big content owners want it.


Mike Meyer <mwm at>
Independent Network/Unix/Perforce consultant, email for more information.

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