Universities have long dealt with the vagaries of plagiarism.
Corporate contracts claim ownership of ideas/work done on their premises.
Even in the science world, publishers often retain copyrights.
Copyright laws are meant to protect the originator of a work. However, copyright law has extended well beyond the life-span of a creator. Here’s a little video – a bit jouncy but remarkably clear – that explains the whole deal.
I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV (sorry, Peter Bergman, and yes, you were the victim of writers), so I’ll say only two more things on this subject: public domain and Anthony Verna (an attorney specializing in copyright law), whose informative and helpful seminar I attended a few years ago.
©2012 all rights reserved