Happy New Year! After enjoying 95 years of copyright protection, the public can now freely access and edit copyrighted materials from 1926 as part of the public domain. Notably, the beloved children’s character ‘Winnie the Pooh’ can now be used without restriction or a license from the original copyright holder. Other notable works released this year include:
- Felix Salten’s Bambi
- Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises
- Langston Hughes’ The Weary Blues
- The Temptress (starring Greta Garbo)
- For Heaven’s Sake (starring Harold Lloyd)
- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Irving Berlin)
New in 2022: Sound Recordings Begin to Enter the Public Domain
Interestingly, sound recordings were not covered under copyright law until 1972 (only compositions were protected.) After that time, a patchwork of legislation was passed to deal with this creative medium. However, in 2018, the “Music Modernization Act” brought all pre-1972 recordings under one federal law and set dates in which they would gradually enter the public domain. The first such date was January 1, 2022. That means at the start of the new year, approximately 400,000 sound recordings became available to remix, reuse, and reinterpret for a new era.
How to find 1926 Works in the Public Domain
There are a variety of places online where these classic works can be accessed for consumption and even creative use, including:
Of course, it’s possible that some works from 1926 might not be accessible online simply because they have not been preserved throughout the years and are now lost. Alternatively, those searching the public domain may find works published later than 1926 that may or may not be available for use. In such cases, it depends if the creator of the work renewed his or her copyright under the less-favorable laws that existed prior to 1978.
Either way, the public domain offers a treasure trove of classic works that are available for art, music, and literary enthusiasts to enjoy and even build upon to create new works for our day and age. From everyone here at the Law Office of Jason H. Rosenblum, PLLC, we wish you a happy new year and happy searching!
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an attorney.