If the pre-1978 U.S. Copyright Act was still in effect, copyright-protected works from 1953 would have entered the public domain on January 1, 2010. Current U.S. law protects works for 70 years from the date of the author’s death, but prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for an additional 28 years). Copyright-protected works from 1953 include Casino Royale, Marilyn Monroe’s Playboy cover, The Adventures of Augie March, the Golden Age of Science Fiction, Crick & Watson’s Nature article decoding the double helix, Disney’s Peter Pan, and The Crucible. See: www.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/pre1976.
The leading copyright convention, the Berne Convention (www.wipo.org) requires a minimum copyright protection of life-plus-50 — the duration that currently exists in the Canadian Copyright Act.