Thanks to U.S. copyright laws, nothing has entered the public domain in nearly 40 years.

This year's new free public works include Anne Frank's diary, 'The Sound of Music,' and much, much more — unless you live in America.

Every year on Jan. 1, hundreds of copyrights enter the public domain like a New Year's gift to the world, making them free to use for absolutely any reason.

Let's back up a second. Copyrights cover the span of intellectual and creative properties — everything from movies, books, and songs to software, industrial designs, and scientific concepts.

But these protections don't last forever.

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We can learn a lot from the fashion industry. And I don't mean how to do a blind stitch, useful as that may be.

When it comes to ideas, fashion companies do something very different from a lot of other industries that may sound like a bad idea, but it's actually what makes them better at what they do.

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Syl Johnson's voice could melt a frozen stick of butter. After decades of that fact standing in stark contrast with the state of his career, his records started being sampled by a wide array of rappers.

While I'm not sure how I feel about how he's decided to approach that development (with an army of lawyers), I think having this man back in front of a microphone is something we can all celebrate.

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