Public Domain Day 2023

Let the flood gates open!  January 1, 2023 is Public Domain Day and this year works from 1927 are entering the US public domain.

Flashback to 1998, there was a 20-year pause in works entering the public domain but that all changed in 2019–the roaring twenties finally got to shine again.

Get ready for more Sherlock Holmes. Even though almost all of works featuring Sherlock Holmes have been in the public domain for years, the Doyle estate has contended that anyone that wants to create a work featuring the character needs to get a license—not anymore. None of the stories in the original canon will be subject to U.S. copyright starting on January 1, 2023.

Notable works entering the public domain in 2023 include:

To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf

  • This novel contains little dialogue and most of it is written as thoughts and observations.

The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle

The Gangs of New York, Herbert Ashbury (the original 1927 publication)

Ernest Hemingway sees a few of his short stories entering the public domain including:

  • Men Without Women, fourteen stories including:
    • The Killers, set during the 1920s in Summit, Illinois during Prohibition
    • In Another Country, about an ambulance corps member
    • Hills Like White Elephants, explores a modern hotly contested topic

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and its sequel But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes, Anita Loos

  • The first book details the adventures of Lorelei Lee, a little girl from Little Rock described as a young blonde gold-digger.
  • The sequel is narrated by Lorelei Lee but describes the life of her friend Dorothy.

The original versions of the first three books of The Hardy Boys, Franklin W. Dixson (pseudonym)

  • Leslie McFarlane wrote 19 of the first 25 books and also wrote for the Nancy Drew Series.
    • The Tower Treasure (The Hardy Boys, #1)
    • The House on the Cliff (The Hardy Boys, #2)
    • The Secret of the Old Mill (The Hardy Boys, #3)

Two works entering the public domain from Agatha Christie include:

  • The Big Four (Hercule Poirot, #4), different from the other Hercule Poirot stories, this one started from 12 short stories that were published separately.
  • The Tuesday Night Club: A Miss Marple Short Story (Miss Marple), was first published in December 1927 in The Royal Magazine in the UK.

The Colour Out of Space, H.P. Lovecraft

  • A science fiction and horror short story that first appeared in Amazing Stories in the September 1927 edition.

What are you most excited about entering the public domain?


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