Why Isn’t Batman in the public domain?

Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space cover

After being in print for twenty years, the Chronological Encyclopedia of Discoveries in Space, covering everything that was learned on every single space mission in the 20th century, has finally gone out of print.

I presently have my last four hardback copies available for sale. The book sold new for about $90. To get your own autographed copy of this now rare collector's item, please send a $120 check (which includes shipping) payable to Robert Zimmerman to

Behind The Black, c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

"Useful to space buffs and generalists, comprehensive but readable, Bob Zimmerman's Encyclopedia belongs front and center on everyone's bookshelf." -- Mike Collins, Apollo 11 astronaut


"The Chronological Encylopedia of Discoveries in Space is no passionless compendium of information. Robert Zimmerman's fact-filled reports, which cover virtually every spacecraft or probe to have ventured into the heavens, relate the scientific and technical adventure of space exploration enthusiastically and with authority." -- American Scientist

Link here. As a writer who makes my living partly on the royalties I earn, I have still opposed every change to the copyright laws since 1978, as each change has extended the length of copyright far longer than was necessary to protect my rights. The result has been a concentration of power, in this case among a few corporations, something that should always be avoided.

Instead, the Congresses we have had in the past forty years have willingly corrupted the law in the worst possible way.



  • mpthompson

    Bob, I apologize for the offtopic comment. There is something strange about your blog in that whenever I visit it, it’s only updated in my browser to how it was display when I last visited. I have to explicitly reload the site to see the newer postings. Yours is the only site I have this problem with.

    This happens to me in Chrome on both Windows and Android. I wonder if others are having the same problem and not understanding they will site your newer postings after they hit the reload button in their browser.

    At a technical level, this is probably an issue with the Expires and/or Last-Modified fields of the HTTP headers in the pages associated with your blog. There may be a setting in your blog software or web server to properly control these values.

    BTW, on your past recommendation I purchased your book “Leaving Earth” on Amazon and I’m about half-way through it. Very good stuff.

  • Matt in AZ

    I have the very same problem on one PC, but not at all on another. Both use Windows 7 and Chrome.

  • Andy Hill

    I don’t see anything wrong with extending copyright for individuals so that they can leave their descendants an income. you wouldn’t repossess somebody’s house after they died or demand their jewellery. Works of literature are just heir looms handed down like many other things. People leave land to their children to provide them with a future income so what is the difference?

    I think things change a bit if the original author sells the rights to a big corporation. Since they had no input to the creation I think they should be allowed a reasonable time to profit on it , say 50 years from the date of the original purchase, before it reverts to the public domain.

    I think that allowing others to use somebody else’s characters or plots to create new works is not a good enough argument against copyright. If they lack the imagination to generate something new themselves I think it unlikely that what is produced will improve on the original. This is more likely to produce pale imitations that have more to do with earning money than creating literary masterpieces.

  • I have forwarded you comment to my web guy to see if there is something we can do about this.

  • Cotour

    I have the same situation, I lost two weeks stuck on one story before I posted something and realized what was going on. Now every time I sign on and while signed in I now always remember to click reload. I think it started just after the new format was revealed.

  • Max

    I also must empty the cache and turn off my mobile device and reboot to get the current version and postings of the website.

  • D.K. Williams

    I’m not a big fan of the public domain, unless I choose to place my work there.

  • My software guy Shane has adjusted some settings. He says give it a few weeks and the site should no longer require this kind of fiddling.

  • Max

    I read a sci-fi book concerning this topic where computers in the future filed billions of patents on musical note combinations, color variations, speech phrases and quotes. Everything that could be patented including genetic variations was under indefinite patent rights. You can’t imagine the future, the entire world was controlled.
    Everything was recorded and you paid royalties on everything you said, every process you used, including teaching your own children. no new paintings or music could be created unless you come up with a novel way that hasn’t been patent before.
    Dupont got an extension on its chlorofluorocarbon patent extending it another 20 years which ended in the 80s resulting and cheap refrigerant for everyone.
    With the help of the Sierra Club, Dupont was successful and lobbying to get its own product banned from the market with a $10,000 fine for anyone caught using it just so they could sell a replacement product at 10 times the price. All in the name of saving the ozone layer from a product that is many times heavier than air. (keep in mind, free chlorine is everywhere. It’s in the drinking water, it’s in the swimming pools, it’s poured into the washing machine, it is released by the ocean when salt breaks down, but being released in small quantities in a stable molecule became a crime against nature)
    Dupont made billions more dollars over a fraudulent claim that is still being perpetuated today. New kinds of refrigerant have been created but none are as stable and cheap or reliable or as efficient and healthy as the old stuff.
    I hear China is buying old patents and is charging a fortune. Especially for antibiotics that still work. My brother used to help sorting computer code pattens purchased from Ma Bell. They are the root source code for many programs today.

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