This year we are welcoming works from 1927 into the public domain in the United States, including books, periodicals, sheet music, and movies.
Big events of 1927 include the first transatlantic phone call from New York to London, the formation of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the first successful long distance demonstration of television, the release of the first popular “talkie,” The Jazz Singer, and the first nonstop transatlantic solo airplane flight, from New York to Paris, by Charles Lindbergh.
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Publication date 1927 Publisher doubleday & company, inc. Collection internet archive books Digitizing sponsor Kahle/Austin Foundation Contributor Internet Archive Language English Volume 2
Editor’s Note: Now free of copyright, multiple versions available for download. See also Volume 1
The complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle Publication date 1927 Collection internetarchivebooks Digitizing sponsor Kahle/Austin Foundation Contributor Internet Archive Language English Volume 1
Editor’s Note: Now free of copyright, multiple versions available for download. See also Volume 2.
Watching the copyrights on art expire still feels like a novelty. After all, the US public domain was frozen in time for 20 years, thawing only in 2019. But this weekend’s Public Domain Day will give our cultural commons a few particularly notable new works.
As outlined by Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the start of 2023 will mark the end of US copyrights on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s final Sherlock Holmes stories — along with the seminal science fiction movie Metropolis, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and the first full-length “talkie” film The Jazz Singer.
The public domain lets anyone republish, remix, or remake works without the permission of the rights holder — typically long after the original author is dead. In previous years, it’s created booms around new interpretations of works like The Great Gatsby, which entered the public domain in 2021.
More generally, you can thank it for Dracula Daily, a newsletter that creatively recontextualized the classic vampire novel, or its spiritual successor Whale Weekly about Moby Dick. And as the Duke summary points out, the public domain frees archivists to preserve and redistribute works that might otherwise be lost, like a wealth of silent films (including Metropolis) whose copyright is definitively expiring this year.
The motion for summary judgment, filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Durie Tangri LLP, explains that our Controlled Digital Lending (CDL) program is a lawful fair use that preserves traditional library lending in the digital world.
The brief explains how the Internet Archive is advancing the purposes of copyright law by furthering public access to knowledge and facilitating the creation of new creative and scholarly works.
The Internet Archive’s digital lending hasn’t cost the publishers one penny in revenues; in fact, concrete evidence shows that the Archive’s digital lending does not and will not harm the market for books.