Public Domain Day: Copyrighted Works from 1923 Become Public Domain January 1st, 2019


Public domain item images

A large number of books, films and other works will enter the Public Domain tomorrow. Films, books, and artwork dating from 1923 are about to enter the US public domain after a 75 year copyright term. It's the largest collection of copyrighted works to enter the public domain since 1998. 

Copyright is a complex area. A detailed explanation of why these books, poems, music, photographs, paintings and films are becoming available can be found in this Atlantic article. What it means to most of us is that Google books will be able to show the full text of many books instead of snippets, the Internet Archive will be able to add more books, movies and music, and teachers, students and others are free to use previously copyrighted material for research or creative endeavors. Schools can put on plays that were copyrighted. Films can be remade. Poems can be quoted without violating copyright laws.

The most comprehensive list of works becoming available I've found is at Lifehacker. They include links to image resources and books that are already in the Public Domain. The Internet Archive has added 11,000+ previously copyrighted books to its collection. Hopefully more lists will surface.

(h/t Open Culture)

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The Sonny Bono Act fixed a period of 95 years for anything placed under copyright from 1923 to 1977, after which the measure isn’t fixed, but based on when an author perishes.