Public Domain Day

When copyrights expire, works enter the public domain. This legal transition usually happens every year on 1 January based on the individual copyright laws of each country.

The most typical copyright is the life of the author plus a certain number of years after his or her death. In most countries this number is 70. After that period, the works of those authors become fully available so that everyone – without any need for prior authorization – can access and use them for any purpose whatsoever.

The United States has one of the more restrictive copyright laws. In 1998 Congress passed the Copyright Term Extension Act, variously called the Sonny Bono Act and the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, which which increased the U.S. copyright license from 70 to 95 years.

These are a few of the works that will enter the public domain today. You can find a more complete list in bookriot.

  • The Man in the Brown Suit and Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie
  • Call of the Canyon by Zane Grey
  • The Gift of Black Folk by WEB DuBois
  • So Big by Edna Ferber
  • The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  • Gerald Cranston’s Lady by Gilbert Frankau—this was made into a silent film the same year.
  • The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann
  • Something Childish and Other Stories by Katherine Mansfield
  • Billy Budd by Herman Melvill
  • Precious Bane by Mary Webb
  • The Dream and The Story of a Great Schoolmaster by H.G. Wells
  • Desire Under The Elms by Eugene O’Neill
  • Edith Wharton’s The Old Maid
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
  • We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Many public domain books are available for free download at the Project Gutenburg and many free audio versions of public domain books are available at LibriVox.

This is the logo for the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Duke Law.
This is the logo for the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, Duke Law.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of writing. I make no guarantee as to its accuracy. Its purpose is to inform, educate, amuse, and raise awareness about causes and opportunities around the globe. I also encourage civil debate in the comments.


2 comments

  1. Thank you Mona that was useful . John Curtis

    On Fri, Jan 1, 2021 at 6:10 AM 365 Holidays a Year wrote:

    > 365holidaysayear posted: ” When copyrights expire, works enter the public > domain. This legal transition usually happens every year on 1 January based > on the individual copyright laws of each country. The most typical > copyright is the life of the author plus a certain number of ” >

    Like

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