The Great Gatsby Performed By NPR's Planet Money : Planet Money All of it. Read by the staff of Planet Money.

The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

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The Planet Money team reads The Great Gatsby. Franziska Barczyk for NPR hide caption

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Franziska Barczyk for NPR

The Planet Money team reads The Great Gatsby.

Franziska Barczyk for NPR

Today on the show, the staff of Planet Money reads F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel, The Great Gatsby. All of it. And we can do that, because of copyright law.

Copyright law is a balancing act. You want to encourage and reward people who create things, by protecting their creations and letting them earn money from the things they create. But you also eventually want copyright to expire, for a work to enter what's known as the public domain, so those creations can reach a wider audience, and so other creators can build off them, tweak them and — hopefully — make even more creative stuff.

Over the years, U.S. copyright law has been revised multiple times. But in the 20th century, the trend consistently veered towards longer and longer copyrights, which meant less and less stuff entering the public domain over the years.

This year, after 95 years, a beloved staple of American literature finally entered the public domain: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

As much as anything, The Great Gatsby is about money. It's a book about why people want money, what they do with it when they get it — and what money does to them. The Great Gatsby is the perfect novel for Planet Money.

Music: "Hot Lips" and "Narcissus."

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