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Daily Bread for 12.31.18

Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of thirty-six.  Sunrise is 7:25 AM and sunset 4:31 PM, for 9h 05m 45s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 27.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Today is the seven hundred eighty-second day.

On this day in 1879, Thomas Edison conducts a public demonstration of his incandescent bulb:

Other people had been working on the making of light bulbs in the past, but none of the earlier bulbs was ever able to work for more than a few minutes. Finally, on October 21, 1879, Edison’s light bulb burned for a continuous thirteen and a half hours. The following bulbs lasted for 40 hours and Edison and his team worked hard to light the laboratory and his home with several of the new light bulbs for Christmas. On New Year’s Eve of the same year, Christie Street became the world’s first street to be lit by incandescent light bulbs with the help of a power system designed by Edison. By the summer of 1880, Edison had perfected the incandescent bulb enough to be able to produce and sell it in large quantities.

Recommended for reading in full:

  Alexandra Alter reports New Life for Old Classics, as Their Copyrights Run Out:

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.

But it will also be a boon for readers, who will have more editions to choose from, and for writers and other artists who can create new works based on classic stories without getting hit with an intellectual property lawsuit.

“Books are going to be available in a much wider variety now, and they’re going to be cheaper,” said Imke Reimers, an assistant professor of economics at Northeastern University who has studied the impact of copyright. “Consumers and readers are definitely going to benefit from this.”

The sudden deluge of available works traces back to legislation Congress passed in 1998, which extended copyright protections by 20 years. The law reset the copyright term for works published from 1923 to 1977 — lengthening it from 75 years to 95 years after publication — essentially freezing their protected status. (The law is often referred to by skeptics as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” since it has kept “Steamboat Willie,” the first Disney film featuring Mickey, under copyright until 2024.)

Now that the term extension has run out, the spigot has been turned back on. Each January will bring a fresh crop of novels, plays, music and movies into the public domain. Over the next few years, the impact will be particularly dramatic, in part because the 1920s were such a fertile and experimental period for Western literature, with the rise of masters like F. Scott Fitzgerald, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

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