Happy Public Domain Day To All Who Celebrate

Maybe it’ll take more than a few hours for Mickey Mouse to make a meaningful mark on the public domain. In the mean time, the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University Law School has an extensive list of texts, art, films, music, and recordings that entered the public domain today.

Top on my list, at least, is Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. And it’s interesting that both W.E.B. DuBois’ uplifting international romance Dark Princess and Claude McKay’s gritty street novel Home to Harlem are listed together; DuBois hated McKay’s book.

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc is probably the most significant non-rodent-related film to be freed this year. And for music composition, it’s probably Mack the Knife, originally published as part of Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera (which is also now public domain.)

There are many, many more works in various copyright registries, most unknown, or underknown, and ready for rediscovery. Life starts at 95.

January 1, 2024 is Public Domain Day: Works from 1928 are open to all, as are sound recordings from 1923! [law.duke.edu]
Previously, related: The Greg Gatsby, 2021