An aspect ratio is a mathematical expression for the shape of an image. Standard televisions have an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 (sometimes expressed as 4 x 3), meaning a TV image is one and one-third times as wide as it is high. Most theater screen images are wider than those of television screens, with the two most common theatrical ratios being 1.85:1 and 2.35:1. Other ratios sometimes used are 1.66:1 (standard European format), 1.75:1, 2:1, 2.20:1, 2.55:1 and 2.75:1. Prior to the introduction of widescreen presentations (circa 1953), the theatrical ratio used was 1.33:1, the same as standard TV.
Why care about the public domain? How does it matter to you? Below are only a few examples of activities enabled by a robust public domain. In Europe you will be able to engage in these kinds of projects, and more, with the wealth of material entering the public domain on January 1, 2012. In the US, under the law in effect until 1978, you could do all of this with works published in 1955 (and, because their copyrights would not have been renewed, with an estimated 85% of the works published in 1983). But now everything published from 1923 onward is presumptively copyrighted and off limits, even though the vast majority of these works are no longer commercially valuable and no one is benefiting from continued copyright protection. And the public domain is shrinking just as digital technology puts the tools to do the things below at all of our fingertips, empowering the millions who could collect, restore, [...]