Copyright is an oft misunderstood topic, though there are many resources developed by libraries (including copyright information developed by Cal Poly’s Robert E. Kennedy Library) to assist neophytes.
Copyright is an area of interest, and as such, I found it fascinating that the oldest work still protected by U.S. Copyright law was created by none other than John Adams.“It looks likely, therefore, that the 1753 Adams diary is both the oldest work in the US still protected by copyright and also the work whose Federal copyright protection will expire the longest after creation: in this case, over three centuries. Our oldest still-copyrighted work is over a century older than the oldest in the UK, and its copyright will last much longer than any UK competitor. Does this matter (other than for reasons of national “pride”)? I think it does for two reasons. First, it is a reminder that when one thinks about copyright, it is important not to think just about date of creation, but also date of publication. Wikimedia Commons gets this wrong, insisting that the diary is in the public domain. But secondly, when things get old enough, people tend to stop worrying about copyright – even if technically, works are still protected by copyright.”
Full posting at Library Law Blog