The public domain
This whole issue comes about only because the volume of material being published each year overwhelms any attempt at administering it, or rather administering the laws governing it.
Passing new laws to regulate this area within the current framework of "intellectual property rights" is futile. The public domain is managed with public money, which is in rather short supply at the moment (or at any moment for that matter). Private ownership is driven by the profit motive and will almost always win out in the "land grab" for creative output.
If there is a solution to all of this, it lies in rethinking the whole idea of monetising culture and what the true value of the Public Domain is. (No, I'm not a socialist/pinko/leftie multinational hater. Monetising may make perfect sense and the profit motive is as valid a driver as any as long as it is subject to the norms of civilised behaviour. It's just that I believe we have to change the whole model of how we as a society pay for our culture.)
By the way, thank you all for your thoughtful and informative input on this subject which I believe is part of one of the most important issues of our times: the plundering of the Public Domain.