Public Domain Day
Public Domain Day is an observance of when copyrights expire and works enter into the public domain. This legal transition of copyright works into the public domain usually happens every year on 1 January based on the individual copyright laws of each country.
|Public Domain Day|
A logo of the 2019 Public Domain Day
|Official name||International Public Domain Day|
|Next time||1 January 2020|
The observance of a "Public Domain Day" was initially informal; the earliest known mention was in 2004 by Wallace McLean (a Canadian public domain activist), with support for the idea echoed by Lawrence Lessig. Several websites list the authors whose works are entering the public domain each January 1. There are activities in countries around the world by various organizations all under the banner Public Domain Day.
Copyright protection terms are typically described as the life of the author plus a certain number of years after his or her death (or pma: post mortem auctoris). In many jurisdictions, this usually means that 70 years have passed since the day of author's death. After that period, the works of those authors become fully available so that everyone - without any need for prior authorization - can access and use them for any purpose whatsoever. Legally, this happens on New Year's Day (January 1). That means that in those countries, the works of authors who died, anywhere in the world, throughout the year of 1949, passed into public domain on 1 January 2019.
Since public domain rights vary based on jurisdiction, the passage of a work into the public domain is not worldwide. The most noticeable exception is the United States, where no additional published works entered the public domain automatically from 1999 to 2018. Australia's copyright scheme is even more restrictive, with no Public Domain Day possible until 2026. Most of Europe will witness various works passing into the public domain, as will Canada and New Zealand. Many more works would be entering the public domain if not for the copyright extension that has occurred several times in the past several decades.
Public Domain Day in 2010 celebrated the entry to the public domain in many countries of the works of authors such as Sigmund Freud, William Butler Yeats, Ford Madox Ford and Arthur Rackham. In 2011 it celebrated the public domain status of Isaac Babel, Walter Benjamin, John Buchan, Mikhail Bulgakov, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Emma Goldman, Paul Klee, Selma Lagerlof, Leon Trotsky, Vito Volterra, Nathanael West, and others.
It is not clear when Public Domain Day started to be observed (it was mentioned by Lawrence Lessig in 2004) but in recent years it has been mentioned by Project Gutenberg and has been promoted by Creative Commons. Public Domain Day events have been hosted on various dates in Poland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Israel.
In January 2012, a celebration was announced in Warsaw, Poland and for the first time in Krakow), where for several years on that day various activities have been organized by free culture NGOs (such as Koalicja Otwartej Edukacji and Open Society Institute) and other supporters. Other 2012 events announced worldwide:
- Switzerland: Public Domain Jam, Zurich
- Israel: PD Day Celebration at Haifa University, Haifa
- Macedonia: Events and promotional activities on the Public Domain
- France: Journée du domaine public, Paris
In later years, Public Domain Day events have been organized by Communia, which also maintained the (now defunct) publicdomainday.org website.
Public Domain Day in 2019 was significant in the United States as it was the first to have any meaningful copyright expirations there since the holiday's establishment; a 20-year freeze had been imposed in 1998 with the passage of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act.
- Richmond, Shane (2010-01-01). "Happy Public Domain Day! Here's to many more – Telegraph Blogs". Blogs.telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- Happy Public Domain Day!, Wallace J.McLean, Jan 1, 2004.
- Lessig, Lawrence (2004-01-01). "public domain day - in Canada (Lessig Blog)". Lessig.org. Archived from the original on 2007-07-01. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "About | Public Domain Day - 1 January 2012". Public Domain Day. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
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- "PD Day Celebration at Haifa University". Haifa Center for Law and Technology, Haifa University. May 1, 2011. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-01-27.
- "Launch of the Public Domain Review to celebrate Public Domain Day 2011", Open Knowledge Foundation blog, Jan 1, 2011.
- The Public Domain Review
- Jak świętowaliśmy Dzień Domeny Publicznej 2012 | Domena Publiczna
- Obchody Dnia Domeny Publicznej w Krakowie | Domena Publiczna
- "Report from Public Domain Day 2011 in Poland | Dzień Domeny Publicznej 2012" (in Polish). Domenapubliczna.org. 2010-12-31. Retrieved 2011-12-26.
- "Dzień Domeny Publicznej 2012 | uwalniamy artefakty kultury!" (in Polish). Domenapubliczna.org. Retrieved 2011-12-24.
- "P.D. Day 2012 Celebrations". COMMUNIA. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- Holmes, Helen (31 December 2018). "2019 Will Gift Us With a Huge Release of Copyrighted Works Entering the Public Domain". Observer. Retrieved 3 January 2019.