Welcome to the public domain, 1923!

1923 calendar

On January 1, 2019, thousands of creative works published in 1923 were released into the public domain. This is the first time in 20 years that new material entered the public domain, including literary works, periodicals, dramatic works, movies, musical works, artistic works, and choreography. Now, every year on January 1st, a new batch of material will be released – next year it will be works published in 1924, and so on. Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain explains why, and also includes a list of creative works now available to the public.

1923 montage of released work
Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0

What implications could the release of these materials into the public domain have for scholars and teachers? All public domain materials can be remixed, revised, translated, and explored in in new ways. For example, the literary works listed in this document can now be scanned (if they are not already available in Hathi Trust) and shared. Students can engage with the online texts in new collaborative ways – asking questions, discussing passages, and adding annotation to enhance understanding. Scholars can more easily perform new analysis of the texts using data mining and data analysis techniques, not to mention include rights-free images in scholarly publications. Artists and musicians can draw on previous works, remix and adapt them, creating new works that respond to the present. Literature can be translated into new languages, making them available to audiences for the first time. Books and short stories can be transformed into screenplays for the stage and film. In short, works in the public domain foster creativity and innovation by building on our cultural heritage.

Read more about Public Domain Day 2019:

What will you do with the newly released works?! Contact us with your ideas!


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