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Ring in the new year and ring in the public domain! Click here

After a twenty year hiatus, tomorrow will finally see the 95 year long copyrights of works released in 1923 expire. These 1923 films, books and songs will effectively be the first to enter the public domain in the US since 1998, and Duke University notes that it will include such classics as Charlie Chaplin’s The PilgrimJacob’s Room by Viginia Woolf, and the song Charleston (based on the popular dance of the same name).

Welcoming classic works to the public domain was an annual New Year’s Day tradition. Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 directorial debut, The Kid, became public on January 1st, 1997, and was joined by the 1922 German horror classic Nosferatu a year later. But in 1998, Congress extended the length of copyright from 75 years to 95, or from 50 to 70 years after the author’s death. The result of the legislation was to effectively prevent any new works from entering the public domain.

For resources, try Duke University and The Public Domain Review lists, with the latter containing a collection of online resources that publish public domain works



Joel B. Rothman represents clients in intellectual property infringement litigation involving patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, defamation, trade libel, unfair competition, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and commercial matters. Joel’s litigation practice also includes significant focus on electronic discovery issues such as e-discovery management and motion practice relating to e-discovery.