Hungarian copyright office releases 2020 royalty-free list

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Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind, is now featured on the 2020 royalty-free list of Hungarian artistic rights agency Artisjus, according to daily Magyar Hírlap.

Hungarian law says that any artistic creation becomes royalty-free the year following 70 years since the author’s death.

Margaret Mitchell died on Aug. 16, 1949, thus her works will become public domain on January 1, 2020. So will those of German romantic composer Richard Strauss (including the very popular operas Salomé and The Knight of the Rose), who died on Sep. 8, 1949.

In the case of joint creations, a work will only become public domain the year following the 70th anniversary of the death of the author who died last, author’s rights specialist Adrienn Hartay told Magyar Hírlap.

Starting January 2020, this is pertinent because several works of world-famous Hungarian composer Béla Bartók will only enter the public domain then. Béla Bartók died in 1945 in New York, but his librettist Béla Balázs survived him by four years, so his only opera, Bluebeard’s Castle, will only be part of the public domain next January.

The same stands for one of the most popular Hungarian operettas, János Vitéz, whose composer rights have expired, but those of the librettist Jenő Heltai are still in effect. Since he lived a respectable 86 years, his works will only become free in 2028.

Title image: Gone with the Wind movie poster

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