Public Domain Day 2019

From the U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8: “The Congress shall have Power…to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” [emphasis mine]

January 1, 2019 will mark the first time in 20 years that items enter the public domain in the United States (the Copyright Extension Act of 1998 added 20 years onto the copyright term of items published in the U.S). January 1st of any given year is the date that items typically fall into the public domain. This happens 70 years after the death of the author, 95 years from the date of publication, or 120 years from the date of creation – whichever comes first (see this Cornell chart for more details). That means that items published in 1923 will finally enter the public domain on January 1st, 2019.

In celebration of the release of copyrighted works into the public domain, I wanted to share a not-at-all-comprehensive list of items that will be in the public domain on January 1st. If you are a faculty member, take a look at the list and see if any of this content would be useful in the courses you teach. Public domain means access to content should be free or relatively cheap (great news for your students), and fair game for remixing and reusing (great news for you).

Film

  • Salome, Dir. Charles Bryant
  • The Pilgrim, Dir. Charlie Chaplin
  • A Woman of Paris, Dir. Charlie Chaplin
  • Circus Days, Dir. Eddie Cline
  • The Covered Wagon, Dir. James Cruze
  • The Ten Commandments, Dir. Cecil B. DeMille
  • Adam’s Rib, Dir. Cecil B. DeMille
  • Cameo Kirby, Dir. John Ford
  • The Ne’er-Do-Well, Dir. Alfred E. Green
  • Daddy, Dir. E. Mason Hopper
  • Homeward Bound, Dir. Ralph Ince
  • Scaramouche, Dir. Rex Ingram
  • The Little Napoleon, Dir. Georg Jacoby (Marlene Dietrich’s film debut)
  • Our Hospitality, Dir. Buster Keaton
  • The Balloonatic, Dir. Buster Keaton
  • The Love Nest, Dir. Buster Keaton
  • The White Sister, Dir. Henry King
  • Felix in Hollywood, Felix the Cat cartoon, Dir. Otto Messmer
  • Safety Last!, Dir. Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
  • Why Worry?, Dir. Fred Newmeyer and Sam Taylor
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dir. Wallace Worsley

Music – includes only the music and not specific recordings

  • “I Cried for You” by Gus Arnheim, Abe Lyman, and Arthur Freed
  • “I’m Sitting Pretty In A Pretty Little City” by Abel Baer and Lou Davis
  • “Oh Gee Oh Gosh Oh Golly I’m In Love” by Ernest Breuer, Ole Olsen, and Chick Johnson
  • “When It’s Night-Time In Italy, It’s Wednesday Over Here” by Lew Brown and James Kendis
  • “Dizzy Fingers” by Zez Confrey
  • “That Old Gang of Mine” by Ray Henderson, Billy Rose, and Mort Dixon
  • “Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up” by Walter Hirsch and Bert Kaplan
  • “I’ve Got The Yes! We Have No Bananas Blues” by Robert King and James F. Hanley
  • “Back To Croa-Jingo-Long” by Alice Lind and Pat Dunlop
  • “The Charleston” lyrics by Cecil Mack and music by James P. Johnson
  • “Kansas City Stomp” by Jelly Roll Morton
  • “Tin Roof Blues” by the New Orleans Rhythm Kings
  • “Yes! We Have No Bananas” by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn
  • “Who’s Sorry Now?” by Ted Snyder, Bert Kalmar, and Harry Ruby
  • “Octet for Wind Instruments” by Igor Stravinsky
  • “Old King Tut” by Harry Von Tilzer

Literature

  • Borges, Jorge Luis: Fervor de Buenos Aires
  • Cather, Willa: A Lost Lady
  • Catt, Carrie Chapman & Nettie Rogers Schuler: Woman Suffrage and Politics: The Inner Story of the Suffrage Movement
  • Chesterton, G.K.:
    • Francis of Assisi
    • Fancies Versus Fads
  • Christie, Agatha: The Murder on the Links
  • Churchill, Winston: The World Crisis
  • Cocteau, Jean:
    • Le Grand Ecart
    • Thomas l’imposteur
  • Conrad, Joseph: The Rover
  • Coward, Noel: London Calling!
  • cummings, e.e.: Tulips & Chimneys
  • Freud, Sigmund: The Ego and the Id
  • Frost, Robert: New Hampshire
  • Gibran, Kahlil: The Prophet
  • Grey, Zane:
    • Wanderer of the Wasteland
    • Tappan’s Burro
  • Hemingway, Ernest: Three Stories and Ten Poems
  • Huxley, Aldous: Antic Hay
  • Kipling, Rudyard: The Irish Guards in the Great War
  • Lawrence, D.H.:
    • The Captain’s Doll
    • The Ladybird
    • The Fox
    • Kangaroo
  • Le Corbusier: Towards a New Architecture
  • Lovecraft, H.P.:
    • Hypnos
    • Memory
    • The Lurking Fear
    • What the Moon Brings
  • Mansfield, Katherine: The Doves’ Nest
  • Moeller van den Bruck, Arthur: Das Dritte Reich
  • Montessori, Maria: Das Kind in der Familie
  • Montgomery, L.M.: Emily of New Moon
  • Neruda, Pablo: Crepusculario
  • O’Flaherty, Liam: Thy Neighbour’s Wife
  • Proust, Marcel: La Prisonnière, volume 5 of In Search of Lost Time (note that English translations have their own copyrights)
  • Ray, Sukumar: Abol Tabol
  • Rice, Elmer: The Adding Machine
  • Ridley, Arnold: The Ghost Train
  • Russell, Bertrand:
    • The Prospects of Industrial Civilization (with Dora Russell)
    • The ABCs of Atoms
  • Sandburg, Carl: Rootabaga Pigeons
  • Sayers, Dorothy L.: Whose Body?, the first Lord Peter Wimsey novel
  • Shaw, George Bernard: Saint Joan
  • Stevens, Wallace: Harmonium
  • Svevo, Italo: La Coscienza di Zeno
  • Tolstoy, Alexei: Aelita
  • Toomer, Jean: Cane
  • Vane, Sutton: Outward Bound
  • Wells, H.G.:
    • Men Like Gods
    • Socialism and the Scientific Motive
  • Wharton, Edith: A Son at the Front
  • Widdemer, Margaret: Graven Image
  • Williams, William Carlos:
    • Great American Novel
    • Go Go
    • Spring and All
  • Wilson, Margaret: The Able McLaughlins
  • Wodehouse, P.G.:
    • The Inimitable Jeeves
    • Leave it to Psmith
  • Woolf, Virginia:
    • Mrs. Dalloway in Bond Street
    • In the Orchard
  • Xun, Lu: Call to Arms (Na han)

Art

  • Brâncusi, Constantin: Bird in Space
  • Duchamp, Marcel: The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)
  • Ernst, Max:
    • Pieta or Revolution by Night
    • Saint Cecilia
    • The Wavering Woman
    • Ubu Imperator
    • Of This Men Shall Know Nothing
  • Escher, M.C.: Dolphins
  • Kandinsky, Wassily:
    • Circles in a Circle
    • On White II
  • Matisse, Henri: Odalisque With Raised Arms
  • Picasso, Pablo:
    • Portrait of woman in d’hermine pass
    • Head of a woman
    • Harlequin with his hands crossed (Jacinto Salvado)
    • Kallan
    • Lovers
    • Paul, the artist’s son, ten years old
    • Olga
    • Pan’s flute
    • Portrait of Paulo, artist’s son
    • Seated woman in a chemise
    • Seated harlequin (Jacinto Salvado)
    • Seated woman with her arms folded (Sarah Murphy)
    • Woman in white
    • Standing female nude
  • Taikan, Yokoyama: Metempsychosis

Many thanks to The Atlantic and lifehacker for providing many of the resources for this list. You can also find great resources about the public domain from the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke.

Disclaimer: I tried to find a couple sources for each item listed, but please use this list with care and do your own research on publication dates.