Tag Archives: Public Domain

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Public Domain Day, 2023 Addendum

I have a new source to look for regarding Public Domain Day every January… that is assuming Steve Shives returns for more merriment next year. I’ve already enjoyed his Star Trek commentaries and now I learn how much of a classic film buff he is — and he doesn’t mind singing. Truly, he contains multitudes.

His phrasing is occasionally delightfully NSFW at moments, so be warned for when you watch.

Public Domain Day, 2023

I plan to do posts on public domain every year and I really should have last January for this clip alone, but the year got away from me early.

Really gotta appreciate the Winnie the Pooh/Hemingway mash-up.

Now that was last year, and most of you already know about the Winnie the Pooh horror movie soon to be out in the world?

So what’s in store for 2023 and all the goodies from 1927 now in the public domain in the U.S.?

As always, Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain provides a good overview of the year in question, penned by Jennifer Jenkins, the director or said center.

Over at Polygon, David Grossman notes some of the highlights that are agreed upon by most of the links here, including Fritz Lang’s film Metropolis and the last collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories.

Author Cory Doctorow has many thoughts on the Arthur Conan Doyle estate no longer having rights to Sherlock Holmes (though noting some legalistic clinging may yet occur) and his piece is a good reminder of how we all benefit from works entering the public domain.

The efforts of estates and entertainment conglomerates to hold onto intellectual property for as long as possible is also explored in an article by Aaron Moss that will likely interest many of you.

Also, it’s worth noting the the U.S. copyright law is different from other countries, but they have works that go into the public domain on January 1st as well… and the appropriately named Public Domain Review has a rundown of some of those works.

Finally, I would expect any site with a name like Book Riot to be very into Public Domain Day and Annika Barranti Klein’s article validates that expectation.

So there it is: a whole new year’s worth of goodies that may fuel your own creativity. If you do something with any of the 1927 works, leave a note about it down in the comments. We’ll see you next year when a certain 1928 cartoon is sure to be the headline for many a public domain post.

What will the House of Mouse do when the Mouse isn’t entirely in the House?

I will occasionally post about topics involving intellectual property and the public domain, most notably with new works coming into the public domain in the United States every January 1st.

That means, in relatively short order, Mickey Mouse will come into the public domain, since his first appearance was in 1928’s “Steamboat Willie.”

Still from “Steamboat Willie”

But whenever Disney and lawyers are involved, you know that no simple answer will suffice.

Enter Quincy Stanford over at the Disney Food Blog, who does a deep dive into the various ramifications “Steamboat Willie” coming into the public domain may have for Disney the company.

And lest you wonder how much a site called the Disney Food Blog has to say about Disney’s intellectual property rights, I would submit it’s as much or potentially more than a site named for some guy with a Scandinavian name.

Public Domain Day, 2021

Since I’ve written about it before, I suppose I should make a habit of celebrating the fact that New Year’s Day is also Public Domain Day, which in the U.S. means that, as of today, any copyrights from works released or otherwise published in 1925 have expired and said works are now in the public domain.

Montage via the Center for the Study of the Public Domain

I should mention that I’m not an entirely disinterested party in these matters. As the head of Jabberwocky Audio Theater, I have a keen interest in stories that might make good adaptations for audio fiction. I mean, we can and will continue to find works from the 19th century and earlier to use (adapting “Prince Prigio” last year was a lot of fun). But “new” old stuff would be fun to do as well.

We’re not likely to do an adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but as Ian Carlos Campbell argues over on The Verge, the Muppets should totally do a version of that quintessential novel of the Jazz Age.

Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, not surprisingly has a nice rundown of many noteworthy works available sans copyright — and also explains why it’s great to have many non-noteworthy works available as well.

I should also note that Public Domain in the U.S. is a bit different than worldwide rights, which vary widely. But it’s certainly worth exploring. What books or films do you want to see new adaptations of?

New Year, New Works in the Public Domain

From Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr.”

Public Domain is a topic I periodically cover here on the blog and what with works beginning to enter said domain once again in the United States as of last year, I suppose this might become a January tradition.

Thousands of works from 1924 are now yours for the re-imagining as detailed here in Smithsonian Magazine, Vice news, and art news site Hyperallergic.

I expect a heavy metal version of “Rhapsody in Blue,” stat. Get creative, people!

80% of Books written before 1964 in Public Domain?!?

I’m always interested in the state of works in the public domain, especially as works in the U.S. have started entering said domain this year. So I was surprised, bordering on elated, to learn that the majority of books published in the U.S. before 1964 may actually be in the public domain: we don’t need to wait another 1-40 years!

So, so many books… Where to begin?

Here’s a link to the change covered by Boing Boing as well as the actual posting they reference. I’ll update this post as I get more information.

After a 21-year Pause, More Art Enters Public Domain

2019 will bring many things, both planned and unplanned… but one of the planned events is one I had forgotten until people started circulating an article from the Smithsonian magazine by Glenn Fleishman: a mass of copyrights is expiring putting books, poems, music, films, and other art into the public domain.

This is very exciting, and not just because Jabberwocky Audio Theater will happily adapt 1920s sci-fi and adventure material as it did from H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds, long in public domain. No, this means a lot of works which haven’t been distributed and shared widely can and will be, allowing countless people the opportunity to experience the art anew. As the one article says, it’ll be like a yearly time capsule.

In addition, NPR did a brief piece about the coming mass expiration and Lifehacker has a list of some of the more prominent works that will be in the public domain. I suppose “expiration” has a bit too negative connotation, so let’s call it an artistic explosion.

Now I have another reason to be excited for January 1st every year.

When Mickey’s Ears Perk Up

Copyright is always a topic of interest to writers and public domain in the United States is of added interest what with Congress’ tendency to extend copyright.

As it happens, a whole host of published works (films and books) are set to enter the public domain next year. Timothy Lee notes in an article for Ars Technica that, strangely, that might happen. (He also links to his excellent 2013 article on the same subject).