In a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that works in the public domain “do not necessarily have to remain there”, and can have their copyrights put back into effect by Congressional authority. This ruling means that the thousands of movies, songs and books in the public domain can now be removed, limiting the knowledge freely available to the population.

As a student of history, public domain works have been invaluable to me in the production of reports and the study of my discipline; without them, I would have had to spend hundreds of dollars on the rights to more recent works.

Surprisingly, George W. Bush’s own Samuel Alito provided the best dissenting opinion, stating that this ruling “does not encourage anyone to produce a single new work”.