Don’t be surprised if you log onto Google Books and find their library has grown.  Beginning January 1, 2019, famous literary titles, movies, and music released in 1923 such as A Picture of Dorian Gray, The Great American Novel, The New Hampshire poem collection by Robert Frost, works by Agatha Christie, Rudyard Kipling, Charlie Chaplin, and many others entered the public domain.

This means that anyone can freely quote, adapt, perform, show, use, parody, republish, sell the works without the required permission, payment of usage fees, or threat of lawsuit.

Originally, works published before 1978 were copyrighted for a term of 75 years.  But thanks to Disney and Sonny Bono’s urging, the 75-year term was extended another 20 years for a total of 95 years of copyright protection.  (Fun Fact:  This was done in part to protect the first Mickey Mouse cartoon, Steamboat Willie, from falling into the public domain!)

The next few years will bring a fresh crop of works in to the public domain.  Officially, The Great Gatsby copyright expires in January 2021, so start drafting your Great Cat-sby fan fiction now!

Which books, movies, and music are you looking forward to enjoying?  Below you’ll find links to public domain books, as well as a list of books, films, music released.

Duke University – Links to most notable titles

Copyright-free digital library – Project Gutenberg

Digital Library – Find books published in 1923

Among the titles listed above, here are some of the works released in 2019:

  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  • The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
  • Tarzan and the Golden Lion by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The World Crisis by Winston Churchill
  • Peter Rabbit, Jack the Jumper and Little White Rabbit by Linda Stevens Almond
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf

The complete list of literary works can be found here, as provided by Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain

Films released in 2019:

  • Safety Last!, directed by Fred C. Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
  • The Ten Commandments, directed by Cecil B. DeMille
  • The Pilgrim, directed by Charlie Chaplin
  • Our Hospitality, directed by Buster Keaton and John G. Blystone
  • The Covered Wagon, directed by James Cruze
  • Scaramouche, directed by Rex Ingram

Music released in 2019:

  • Yes! We Have No Bananas, &m. Frank Silver & Irving Cohn
  • Charleston, w.&m. Cecil Mack & James P. Johnson
  • London Calling! (musical), by Noel Coward
  • Tin Roof Blues, Leon Roppolo, Paul Mares, George Brunies, Mel Stitzel, & Benny Pollack

Article by Carissa Chow