Copyright laws in America are incredibly complicated, especially for books. Although F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel The Great Gatsby was published in 1925, it will not be public until January 1, 2021. Why is that?
In 1976, copyright was passed by Congress Law of 1976, which revised the copyright of 1909. When the law came into force in 1978, it extended copyright protection throughout an author's life, plus 50 years after his death. In another section, it was stated that anonymous works, pseudonymous works and rental works were protected by copyright 75 years after their publication.
Sonny Bono ̵
However, Fitzgerald's works prior to 1923 are already included in This Side of Paradise (1920) and The Beautiful and the Damned (1922) public domain.
Gizmodo argues that these copyright restrictions on older books are detrimental to literary history. "Between too long copyright regulations and the uncertainty of the status as public domain, it has become difficult and dangerous to create new works that depend on the common good," they note. "A diminished public domain robs us not only of past works, but also of future works that could be based on an extended public domain."
A study on books put up for sale at Amazon found that books published after 1923 said, "The good news is we can look forward to The Great Gatsby if Congress does not decide to Extend Copyright Law will soon be available to the public.