Welcoming works from 1925 into the public domain

Jan 12, 2021 · Abbey Elder

On January 1, 2021, works published in 1925 (books, movies, music, and more) entered the public domain in the United States. This process by which works “fall out” of copyright allows creative works to be reused, adapted, and shared freely without the permission of the original author or their estate. The public domain is the reason why adaptations like Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Steven Spielberg’s Hook exist, and we are excited to see what lovely adaptations will come from this year’s new additions.  

This year, the group of works entering the public domain includes works created in 1925, with books like The Trial by Franz Kafka and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as well as a few jazz favorites, like “Sweet Georgia Brown.”  

To celebrate these works’ induction into the public domain, the University Library has created a Library Guide with links to books published in 1925, popular films and cartoons released that year, and links websites that share more information about the public domain. You can access our guide here: A Guide to Public Domain Newcomers: 2021   

Explore the resources linked on our guide and share your favorite newcomers to the public domain via social media with the hashtag #PublicDomainDay! It may be past January 1 now, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop celebrating!