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According to the New York Times, this coming year marks the first time in two decades that a large body of copyrighted works will lose their protected status — a shift that will have profound consequences for publishers and literary estates, which stand to lose both money and creative control.

1. Where can this sudden deluge of available works be traced back to?
2. Why is the law referred to as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act?
3. Do you agree with the intellectual property expert at Harvard, who said, “The copyright term is way too long now.” Why or why not?
4. What did you find to be the most interesting issue in the article?
5. Ultimately, do you think this will make books much cheaper?
6. How would you record a transaction for a copyright that loses protected status?

Alter, A. (2018). New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out. The New York Times, Dec. 29 (retrievable online at