Celebrating Public Domain Day 2020

Edward Hopper: ‘New York Pavements’ (1924), Chrysler Museum of Art, now in the public domain in the U.S.

What is Public Domain Day?

Happy Public Domain Day! On each January 1st, together with Free Content advocates from all over the world, Wikimedians celebrate Public Domain Day. This is because when a work of art (a book, a painting, or a song) is protected by copyright, that protection always has an expiration date after a certain number of years – and for legal reasons, that expiration date always falls on 31 December.

Last year’s Public Domain Day celebrations were a special occasion, because it was the first time that any protected works were released into the Public Domain in the United States since a major change in U.S. copyright law back in 1998. With copyright lapsing for masterpieces such as Charlie Chaplin’s silent film The Pilgrim and Robert Frost’s poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, the event was even covered on the front page of the New York Times.

Continue reading “Celebrating Public Domain Day 2020”