On January 1, 2022, thousands of creative works published in 1926 entered the public domain following the expiration of the 95-year period of protections established by U.S. copyright law. They are now available for all Americans to freely reuse, adapt, display, perform, or screen without paying royalties or seeking permission from the rights-holder(s). Written works joining the public domain this year include A. A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh, The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, Zora Neale Hurston’s Color Struck and The Land by Vita Sackville-West, as well as many others—1,926 more of which are now available for full-text viewing and download from HathiTrust. Classic silent films like The General starring Buster Keaton and Faust directed by F. W. Murnau have likewise become available.
Additionally, due to the passage of the Music Modernization Act in 2018, copyright protections will expire for an estimated 400,000 sound recordings published prior to 1923. 60,000 of these have been digitally reformatted by the University of California, Santa Barbara Library and are now available for download via the Discography of American Historical Recordings database; an additional 10,000 items have joined the Library of Congress’ National Jukebox.
Unfortunately, much of humanity’s cultural heritage does not survive to see the public domain. During the 95-100 years when a work’s distribution is controlled by copyright law in the United States, print copies dwindle, digital licensing agreements expire, and many works are consigned to obscurity. For never-published materials, the period is even longer and the likelihood of loss much higher.
To ensure that the scholarly and creative works of Illinois State University affiliates continue to circulate and exert influence in their disciplines online, Milner Library recommends that creators engage in personal digital archiving and/or submit their works to an institutional repository such as ISU ReD. The repository will perform digital preservation activities to safeguard digital files far into the future, while providing long-term storage and access to contributors’ digital assets in a user-friendly system designed to make their materials easily discoverable by search engines such as Google. Scholarly Communications Librarian Anne Shelley is happy to assist members of the ISU community with depositing their publications, research data, and other digital assets in ISU ReD. Those wishing to do so should email ISUReD@IllinoisState.edu or consult the ISU ReD FAQ for more information.
More from the Scholarly Communication Team at Milner Library
- Open and affordable resources around the library
- Milner Library recognizes Open Access Week, October 25-31
- Welcome back from Milner’s Scholarly Communication Team
- Milner deal supports opportunities for open access publishing
- Google Dataset Search: Using open access tools during the research process
- Summer Open Access activities
- Open Access documents from the Government Publishing Office
- Streaming in ISU ReD: beyond an article
- Search scholarly works preserved by the Internet Archive
- Discovering affordable materials for your class and research
- ISU ReD marks its 10,000th item
- Recent developments in Open Access
- Integrating Wikipedia with Scholarly Communication
- Happy Domain Day 2021!
- Big Deals and the MIT Framework for Publisher Contracts
- Deceptive publishers begone: Cabell’s Predatory Report is here
- “Create your own” through the public domain
- University Research Symposium hosted in ISU ReD
- A look at the Open Library of Humanities
- Finding Open Access journals and books
- Smithsonian open access
- Reusing others’ work with Creative Commons licenses
- Digitization of historical WGLT program guides informs broadcast history research
- Open Access Digital Theological Library
- Keeping it 100! Celebrating Milner’s contributions to ISU ReD
- How do you make a book free for everyone? Unglue.It
- Open Access publishing options
- Find free scholarly articles using the Unpaywall browser extension
- Historic ISNU enrollment ledgers now online
- Why submit to ISU ReD?
- Explore resources in the public domain
- Lever Press: an open access monograph publisher
- Oh, the places your thesis will go
- Educating Illinois on ISU ReD
- Finding open access resources using OAIster
- Illinois Shakespeare Festival programs now online
- UC library system says “no deal” to Elsevier