From the title, you might have figured out I’m gonna talk about a royalty, but as far as I know, everyone should be aware of who “the king of rock’n’roll” is.. It’s all about the great and loved Elvis Presley.
All the king’s albums and recordings are currently owned by Sony BMG. What not anyone might know, unless you are a huge fan of Elvis, is that some of his songs have served as storylines for musicals, in which he starred of course. However, there is one musical in particular that could have entered the public domain on January 1, 2014, and this is Jailhouse Rock.
On the one hand, according to the 1976 Copyright Act, the United States copyright law, the copyright term ends after 56 years. At first the content is being kept under copyright restrictions for 28 years which can then be renewed for another 28 years, and that means anything published in 1957 could have been free to use on January 1, 2014.
But on the other hand, in accordance with the new Copyright law of the United States, an author or an artist has the right to use their work in any way, but based on a time limit, which usually comes to an end after 70 years after the author’s death. This now means that anything published in 1957 will enter the public domain in 2053, including Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock.
The Creative Commons licence allows a piece of work to be distributed for free, so people can share it, use it and build upon it if and how they wish. So what would happen to the Jailhouse Rock musical if it was open to public use? Not much. My personal opinion is that not many will use it to make profit or change anything in it. So why not keep it copyrighted and this way we can respect and protect this valuable singer’s legacy.
So what do you think? Can anyone use Jailhouse Rock for making any type of profit? Is it still worth investing money in it if it enters the public domain? Should it remain copyrighted just to protect the king’s inheritance?