Public Domain Day, 2021

Happy New Year! Since we’re somewhat affected by it, we suppose we might want to begin celebrating the fact that New Year’s Day is also Public Domain Day, which in the U.S. means that, as of today, any copyrights from works released or otherwise published in 1925 have expired and said works are now in the public domain.

Montage via the Center for the Study of the Public Domain

While we can and will continue to find works from the 19th century and earlier to use (adapting “Prince Prigio” last year was a lot of fun), we have a keen interest in adapting “new” old works. Bear in mind that we generally go for stories that have a certain amount of adventure (“Adventure Awaits!” is our slogan after all) and we lean rather heavily into the speculative fiction realms of science fiction and fantasy.

For that reason, we’re not likely to do an adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but as Ian Carlos Campbell argues over on The Verge, the Muppets should totally do a version of that quintessential novel of the Jazz Age.

Jennifer Jenkins, Director of Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, not surprisingly has a nice rundown of many noteworthy works available sans copyright — and also explains why it’s great to have many non-noteworthy works available as well.

Since we have an international audience, we should also note that Public Domain in the U.S. is a bit different than worldwide rights, which vary widely. But it’s certainly worth exploring. What books or films do you want to see new adaptations of?

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