I think the current "death + 70 years" expiration is absurd, and I doubt that by then any work I publish will be culturally relevant, much less marketable.

Suppose I publish a book or blog post today, and I choose the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 International license.

Is there any way I can say "I dedicate this to the public domain in X years"? Furthermore, is it possible to specify X years after I die?

  • Be aware that not all jurisdictions have the concept of "public domain", and if they do it may mean something different. (In England and Wales for example, it means "information which is not secret", not "information which is not copyrighted".) – Martin Bonner supports Monica Jul 26 '16 at 10:20
  • "Dune" didn't sell at all until about five years after it was published. You write a book like that, you die, and your wife and children starve because you thought protecting them was absurd. – gnasher729 Aug 25 '16 at 7:48
  • @gnasher729: His wife and children will only starve if he hasn't made adequate provision for them. Writing a book and hoping it will be a bestseller is not "adequate provision". – Martin Bonner supports Monica Nov 23 '16 at 16:48
  • @MartinBonner: This discussion only makes sense under the assumption that people will want to buy it. – gnasher729 Dec 23 '16 at 13:12

There is generally nothing stopping you having multiple licenses, so you could publish the book with a regular license AND additionally noting that that as from date X the recipients can use an alternative license.

Similarly there is nothing specifying that you can't put it into the public domain X years after you dye, provided, I imagine, that this is less restrictive then the laws in effect at the time.

If you choose Creative Commons By-SA 4.0, I can't see what you would gain - this license already allows you to copy, redistribute and adapt to the content NOW.

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