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Public Domain Day 2021

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PostPosted: 01/01/21 10:27 pm    ::: Public Domain Day 2021 Reply Reply with quote

On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller.

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Joined: 25 Jul 2005
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PostPosted: 01/04/21 6:41 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

On the subject of public domain, a New York Times article from 2018...

In anticipation of a flood of new editions of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” when the copyright expires in 2021, the Fitzgerald estate and his publisher, Scribner, released a new edition of the novel in April, hoping to position it as the definitive version of the text. The novel has sold around 30 million copies worldwide, and continues to sell more than 500,000 copies a year in the United States alone. But in two years, anyone with a laptop will be able to publish an e-book of the text, or sell fan fiction based on the story.

Blake Hazard, Fitzgerald’s great-granddaughter and a trustee of his estate, said she hoped some interesting new interpretations of the story would emerge. But she also worries about what would happen to the novel’s legacy when the inevitable homages and retellings land, which will probably include unauthorized Gatsby sequels or novels told from Daisy Buchanan’s perspective.

"I hope people maybe will be energized to do something original with the work, but of course the fear is that there will be some degradation of the text," Ms. Hazard said.

Once books become part of the public domain, anyone can sell a digital, audio or print edition on Amazon. Fans can publish and sell their own sequels and spinoffs, or release irreverent monster mash-ups like the 2009 best-seller “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”


"The more I see of the moneyed classes, the more I understand the guillotine." -- George Bernard Shaw
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