It’s five years after the financial crisis and America is starved for solutions. Nearly 1 in 4 Americans is unemployed. Ragtag groups of students, unemployed workers, veterans, and the generally displaced, are occupying public spaces around the country. Republicans in Congress have blocked any significant government intervention. It was in that climate, in the fall of 1932, that we hoped for change with a new president.
The idea of the “public domain” goes all the way back to ancient Rome (probably further), where the law prohibited certain things from being owned by citizens because they existed for all to enjoy—like air, sunlight, and the ocean. As societies around the world advanced, copyright laws emerged to protect the interests of the content creators, and soon only work that was too old or uninteresting “fell” into the public domain.