The Great Gatsby, Mrs Dalloway and Duke Ellington works hit public domain in 2021

Copyright has expired in the US on works released in 1925 

Clémence Michallon
New York City
@Clemence_Mcl
Friday 01 January 2021 19:31
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A copy of The Great Gatsby is displayed on 6 June 2013 at Sotheby’s in New York ahead of an auction
A copy of The Great Gatsby is displayed on 6 June 2013 at Sotheby’s in New York ahead of an auction

As 2020 drew to a close, a list of heralded cultural works slipped into the public domain.

Each year, copyright runs out on a variety of books, films, musical compositions, and more.

As NPR reports, an act passed by the US Congress in 1998 brought the duration of copyright for works published between 1923 and 1977 to 95 years.

Now that the year 2021 has arrived, works published in 1925 have reached the public domain in the US.

“That means that copyright has expired,” law professor Jennifer Jenkins told NPR. “And all of the works are free for anyone to use, reuse, build upon for anyone – without paying a fee.”

It just so happens that 1925 was a banner year for literature and music. The Great Gatsby, by American writer F Scott Fitzgerald, and Mrs Dalloway, by English author Virginia Woolf, are among the works that came out that year and are now considered part of the US public domain.

Also included are Duke Ellington’s “Jig Walk” and “With You”.

On the film side, the 1925 silent movie “Go West”, directed by and starring Buster Keaton, is also on the list.

Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, Agatha Christie’s The Secret of Chimneys, and Aldous Huxley’s Those Barren Leaves are all included.

Works by Ma Rainey, such as  “Army Camp Harmony Blues” and “Shave ‘Em Dry”, are also now considered public domain in the US, as is George and Ira Gershwin’s “Looking For a Boy”.

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