Copyrighted works from 1928 enter the public domain today, including Steamboat Willie and Joseph Stalin

Firstly, happy new year to you all. I hope 2024 is even more prosperous than 2023. If you’re a creative or a lover of the arts, today’s events might help with that.

1st January is Public Domain Day as I’ve documented in 201920212022, and 2023. This year, that means that certain works of art from 1928 become free of copyright in the US and available to the public to do what they want with it and without permission.

The most notable piece of work to enter the public domain is Disney’s Steamboat Willie (there’ll be links explaining why this is so significant).

Below you will find a list of works from 1928 you might find interesting. As always, check works from any years prior to 1928 to make absolutely sure you follow any licence requirements (if there are any), particularly in other countries or regions (e.g. the EU) where copyrights may have been extended (notably, a lot of the news around public domain properties focus on US works). And happy hunting!

Lists of public domain works from 1928 and more

Notable books

  • D.H Lawrence – Lady Chatterley’s Lover
  • Virginia Woolf – Orlando
  • Erich Maria Remarque – All Quiet on the Western Front
  • W.E.B. Du Bois – Dark Princess
  • A. A. Milne – House at Pooh Corner (and that includes Tigger!)
  • J. M. Barrie – Peter Pan; or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up
  • Evelyn Waugh – Decline and Fall
  • Agatha Christie – The Mystery of the Blue Train
  • André Breton – Nadja
  • Federico García Lorca’s – Gypsy Ballads
  • Abdullah Yusuf Ali – The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary (in Europe; except Belarus and Spain)
  • Anything by Joseph Stalin

Notable films

  • Steamboat Willie
  • Oswald the Lucky Rabbit
  • Flip the Frog
  • October: Ten Days That Shook the World
  • The Cameraman
  • Lights of New York
  • The Circus
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • The Singing Fool (sequel to The Jazz Singer)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (1928)

Notable musical compositions

  • Animal Crackers
  • Mack the Knife
  • Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)
  • Sonny Boy
  • Empty Bed Blues
  • I Wanna Be Loved By You
  • Makin’ Whoopee!
  • Beau Koo Jack
  • Pick Pocket Blues (Bessie Smith)
  • The works of Sergei Prokofiev
  • The works of Hank Williams (in Europe, except for Belarus and Spain)

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