2020 Public Domain Day

Share on:

In addition to the customary “Happy New Year” we casually wish each other, the first of January also ushers in a new round of creative works entering the public domain around the world. In Canada, it’s works authored by contributors who died in 1969; in the EU it’s works authored by contributors who died in 1949; and in the US it’s works published in 1924.

One of the more prominent works entering the public domain from the US side is George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, first published in 1924 in its version for two pianos.

George Gershwin

What this effectively means is that, as of January first, anyone is able to re-use or adapt Gershwin’s most famous work without the consent (or application of license fee) of the publisher (New World Music). Although 2020 is a big year, the most significant was 2019 as it was the first year since a massive freeze ended in the US.

For exploration of more public domain pieces, Vice has a good article.