The Missing 20th Century: How Copyright Protection Makes Books Vanish – Rebecca J. Rosen – Technology – The Atlantic

“The above chart shows a distribution of 2500 newly printed fiction books selected at random from Amazon’s warehouses. What’s so crazy is that there are just as many from the last decade as from the decade between 1910 and 1920. Why? Because beginning in 1923, most titles are copyrighted. Books from before 1923 tend to be in the public domain, and the result is that Amazon carries them — lots of them. The chart comes from University of Illinois law professor Paul Heald. In a talk at the University of Canterbury in March 16, he explained how he made it and what it shows. He said:”

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