1927 was a big year for the arts. It brought new fictional works from Virginia Woolf, A. A. Milne, Edith Wharton, Herman Hesse, and Franz Kafka. It gave us audio hits including Irving Berlin’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and the soundtrack to Ira and George Gershwin’s Funny Face. Movie audiences saw (and heard) the first “talkie” film, and Alfred Hitchcock’s first thriller kept viewers on the edge of their seats. And as of January 1, all of these works are now available in the public domain.
When a work enters the public domain, the public no longer needs to seek the artist’s permission to copy or use the work. This opens the door for creative riffs on the classics, and makes public domain materials available free of charge.
Here are some places to check out the newly available creative works from 1927 available in the public domain:
- Hathi Trust Digital Library – These materials from the Google Books Project have been digitized for years, but as of January 1, the full-text is now available to everyone.
- Center for the Study of Public Domain – Duke’s Public Domain Day page has some great selected highlights.
- The Public Domain Review – This journal specializes in mining the public domain.
- The UI Libraries Catalog – Search InfoHawk+ to find digital versions of public domain works.
Interested in finding out more about U.S. copyright law and how to determine a work’s copyright status? The Scholarly Impact Department helps faculty work through complex copyright issues, such as what can be used in the classroom, how to retain your rights as an author, and how to apply Creative Commons licensing. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a consultation. You might also try these excellent copyright resources:
- Cornell University Library Copyright Information Center – This handy reference chart is great for a quick check on copyright status.
- Digital Copyright Slider – This Flash-based slider provides copyright status for works, depending on when they were published and whether copyright was renewed.
- UI Libraries Copyright Guide – This guide provides the basics on copyright issues, such as Fair Use, seeking permissions, author rights, and licensing.