We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.



April is Copyright Awareness Month! Celebrate by registering your own brilliant invention (Swiffer socks, anyone?), then appreciate others’ at the Library of Congress’ “By Securing Authors: Copyright, Commerce, and Creativity in America.” The original 1790 copyright law ensured that authors were credited for their original writings and received the “fruit of the labors expanded in its production.” (See Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 copyright application for Gone With the Wind, whose book sales provided her with over $1 million.) As American ingenuity broadened, so did the law; hence, J.S. Pemberton’s 1887 recipe for Coca-Cola is copyrighted, as are Martin Luther King Jr.’s landmark “I Have a Dream” speech and Jim Henson’s beloved Bert and Ernie. If you hit on something good, be sure to hold on tight to your copyright to avoid the fate of Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, creators of Superman. National Periodical Publications purchased Siegel and Shuster’s copyright and profited tremendously from Superman movies and radio and TV programs. Truth and justice come into question, but such is the American Way. The ongoing exhibition is on view from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Library of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE. Free. (202) 707-4604. (Hetty Lipscomb)