What entered the public domain in the US in 2013? It’s not a long answer, because the answer is …. nothing.
Now here’s a question that yields a longer answer. What books would have entered the public domain if we were still operating under reasonable, pre-1978 copyright laws? Here’s a little list that comes from Duke University’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain:
- Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
- Philip K. Dick, Minority Report
- Ian Fleming, Diamonds are Forever (a James Bond novel)
- Fred Gibson, Old Yeller
- Billie Holiday, Lady Sings the Blues
- Alan Lerner, My Fair Lady
- Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey into Night
- John Osborne, Look Back in Anger
- Dodie Smith, 101 Dalmatians
You can also add films to the list, like:
- Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much
- The Searchers (directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne)
- Note: We have catalogued 21 Free John Wayne films on the web here.
- The Ten Commandments (1956 version by Cecil B. DeMille, who also directed a similar film in 1923)
- Around the World in 80 Days
- Godzilla, King of the Monsters!
- The Best Things in Life are Free
And we shouldn’t fail to mention that we could have had the first issue of MAD magazine, with Alfred E. Neuman gracing the cover.
In the meantime, if you’re wondering what will hit the public domain in 2014, the answer is “nothing.” And you can keep repeating that answer until 2019! That’s the next time something new will enter America’s creative commons. Yet one more reason Congress’ approval rating deserves to sit at 15%.