International Domain Day | January 1
(Last Updated On: November 10, 2022)


On January 1st, International Public Domain Day celebrates the lives of authors who died many years ago and their available works in the public domain. Also, on this day, people observe the expiration of copyrights and celebrate new works that enter the public domain.

A copyright protects original works. The copyright belongs to the person that produced it. The purpose of a copyright is to protect the work from being stolen by others. A copyright also prevents an unauthorized person from using the work. Examples of works that have a copyright include literary, graphic, architectural, dramatic, and audiovisual. Sound recordings are also protected by copyright.

These copyrights eventually expire. Copyright protection for works created after January 1, 1978, lasts for the author’s life, plus an additional 70 years. Different countries have different laws regarding copyright protection. In the United States, as of January 1, 2021, the copyright for works published in 1925 or earlier will expire. Some of these works include “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Always” by Irving Berlin.

When is World Book and Copyright Day?

When copyright protection expires, the work enters the public domain. This means that musicians, authors, and other artists can use works in the public domain to help create new ones. For example, a songwriter might use words to a hymn written many years ago in a new song they are writing. It’s truly a celebration when some of the great works of the past are revived and brought to life again! The public domain also makes education more affordable and helps to preserve the past for future generations.

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HOW TO OBSERVE #InternationalPublicDomainDay

Many countries throughout the world hold special events on this day. Several websites celebrate the day by listing authors whose works are entering the public domain. To participate:

  • Learn about works that are now available in the public domain.
  • Please educate yourself on copyright laws and when they expire.
  • Create your own work based on one in the public domain.

Help spread the word for this day on social media with #InternationalPublicDomainDay or #IPDD


Wallace McLean, a public domain activist from Canada, first mentioned a Public Domain Day in 2004. Lawrence Lessig, a political activist and American academic, supported the idea.

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