Jennifer Jenkins from the Duke Center for the Public Domain writes, “January 1, 2020 is Public Domain Day! Works published in 1924 are entering the US public domain. They include George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ and ‘Fascinating Rhythm,’ silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and Thomas Mann’s ‘The Magic Mountain,’ E. M. Forster’s ‘A Passage to India,’ and A. A. Milne’s ‘When We Were Very Young.’ These works were supposed to go into the public domain in 2000, after being copyrighted for 75 years. But before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years. See what will (finally) be open to all!”
Works from 1924 are finally entering the public domain, after a 95-year copyright term. However, under the laws that were in effect until 1978, thousands of works from 1963 would be entering the public domain this year. They range from the books The Fire Next Time and Where the Wild Things Are, to the film The Birds and the albums and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, and much more. Have a look at some of the others. In fact, since copyright used to come in renewable terms of 28 years, and 85% of authors did not renew, 85% of the works from 1991 might be entering the public domain! Imagine what the great libraries of the world—or just internet hobbyists—could do: digitizing those holdings, making them available for education and research, for pleasure and for creative reuse.
Public Domain Day 2020 [Center for the Study of the Public Domain/Duke University School of Law]
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