Got an idea for a holiday? Send it to us

Submit Now

International Public Domain Day – January 1, 2025

International Public Domain Day is celebrated on January 1 every year to shed some light on the copyright laws in the U.S., and what happens when they end. The answer is that copyrighted items become part of the public domain. This means that the works of numerous artists, including writers, photographers, and musicians, can then be used or rewritten for numerous information sites, and yes, the permission of the artist is no longer needed! Observe the day by finding out what will become a part of the public domain this year.

History of International Public Domain Day

Copyright protection terms trademark the work of an individual. However, according to the law, if a copyright is not renewed, or if the author of the creation has been dead for a certain number of years, the work becomes part of the public domain. While the duration of the law is 70 years in the U.S., each country may have its own set of rules. Hence, 70 years after the death of an author, his work becomes public domain, fully accessible to everyone. It is to celebrate this free access that International Public Domain Day is celebrated each year.

The origin of the day is unclear, however, Wallace McLean was one of the first to mention the holiday in the year 2004. He is a Canadian public domain activist. Public domain availability is such a big deal that several websites research and provide a list of the works that will be available yearly.

To celebrate Public Domain Day 2011, the Open Knowledge Foundation launched “The Public Domain Review,” a website that reviews various works which have entered the public domain. Due to the U.S. copyright laws, Americans have so far received access to some great literary works such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” Ernest Hemingway’s “In Our Time,” Franz Kafka’s “The Trial,” and the jazz standard “Sweet Georgia Brown.”

International Public Domain Day timeline

The First Step

The Copyright Act of 1790 is formed.

An Update

The Copyright Act is revised and extended to 28 years.

Going Digital

Congress amends the Copyright Act to prohibit commercial lending of computer software.

Fun For All

All works first published or released before January 1, 1926, lose their copyright protection.

International Public Domain Day FAQs

Is Tarzan public domain?

The first ten books in Edgar’s “Tarzan” series are currently in the global public domain. The remaining 14 books in the series which he published between 1912 and 1966, are still under copyright in the United States.

How long until songs are in the public domain?

Songs enter the public domain 50 to 75 years after the death of the last surviving creator (writer, composer, etc.). Different countries have different copyright protection tenures.

Is Doris Day public domain?

A popular publicity photo of American singer and actress Doris Day is in the public domain. The film still from the “Love Me or Leave Me” trailer, whose photographer remains unknown, was published in the U.S. in 1957.

How to Observe International Public Domain Day

  1. Do some research

    There are so many books, research, movies, etc., that will be in the public domain this year. Find out which ones and enjoy the new knowledge.

  2. Spread the knowledge

    Copyrights and the public domain are areas that may be confusing for some. Use this day to spread knowledge about their laws.

  3. Write an article

    Write a fun blog post about the movies, songs, and shows, that will be in the public domain in the next few years. Share your article on LinkedIn, or Medium, or submit it to print and digital newspapers.

5 Fun Facts About Public Domains

  1. Dr. Seuss’s work in the public domain

    Since he died in 1990, his works will enter the public domain in 2085.

  2. Works by agencies or certain governments

    Such content is in the public domain from the time of its creation.

  3. Plays and infringement

    The use of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” is a copyright infringement. 

  4. Happy Birthday to You and copyright laws

    The song entered the public domain only recently even though the melody was composed in 1893 and the words were written in 1912. 

  5. Video games entering the public domain

    The first commercial non-arcade video games will enter the U.S. public domain in 2073.

Why International Public Domain Day is Important

  1. It makes important work public

    It celebrates the important works of art and literature that have been made public over time. The holiday reminds us to look forward to the ones to come.

  2. Annual introductions to the public domain

    We are made aware of all the books and movies that will soon be part of the public domain. This gives us the knowledge we need to access materials we love for free.

  3. It celebrates the spread of knowledge

    The day celebrates the spread of knowledge and information. It represents another means by which knowledge is made accessible to a much wider population.

International Public Domain Day dates

2025January 1Wednesday
2026January 1Thursday
2027January 1Friday
2028January 1Saturday
2029January 1Monday
Celebration of Life Week
Celebration of Life Week
Diet Resolution Week
Diet Resolution Week
National Time Consciousness Week
New Year’s Resolutions Week
Silent Record Week
World Series of Beer Pong
Apple Gifting Day
Apple Gifting Day
Commitment Day
Commitment Day
Copyright Law Day
Ellis Island Day
Ellis Island Day
Euro Day
Euro Day
National First-Foot Day
First-Foot Day
Global Family Day
Haitian Independence Day
International Public Domain Day
Mummer's Parade
National Bloody Mary Day
National Hangover Day
National Shepherd Day
New Year's Day
New Year’s Dishonor List Day
New Year’s Dishonor List Day
Polar Bear Plunge Day
Public Domain Day
Ring a Bell Day
Rose Bowl Game
Solemnity of Mary
Sudan Independence Day
Tournament of Roses Parade
Triumph of the Revolution
Triumph of the Revolution
Universal Hour of Peace
Universal Hour of Peace
World Day of Peace
Z Day
Z Day
Adopt a Rescued Bird Month
Apple and Apricot Month
Artichoke and Asparagus Month
Be Kind To Food Servers Month
Bread Machine Baking Month
Bread Machine Baking Month
California Dried Plum Digestive Month
California Dried Plum Digestive Month
California Restaurant Month
California Restaurant Month
Celebration Of Life Month
Celebration Of Life Month
Cervical Health Awareness Month
Cervical Health Awareness Month
Children Impacted by Parent's Cancer Month
Clap 4 Health Month
Dry January
Family Fit Lifestyle Month
Financial Wellness Month
Financial Wellness Month
Get A Balanced Life Month
Get A Balanced Life Month
Get Ireland Active
Get Organized Month
Get Organized Month
International Brain Teaser Month
International Change Your Stars Month
International Child-Centered Divorce Month
International Creativity Month
International Creativity Month
International Quality of Life Month
International Wayfinding Month
International Wealth Mentality Month
Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month
Little Things Mental Health Campaign
March of Dimes Birth Defects Prevention Month
National Bath Safety Month
National Be On-Purpose Month
National Birth Defects Prevention Month
National Black Diamond Month
National Blood Donor Month
National Book Blitz Month
National Braille Literacy Month
National CBD Month
National Clean Up Your Computer Month
National Codependency Awareness Month
National Codependency Awareness Month
National Conscience Month
National Eye Care Month
National Eye Care Month
National Fiber Focus Month
National Glaucoma Awareness Month
National Hobby Month
National Hot Tea Month
National Mail Order Gardening Month
National Mail Order Gardening Month
National Meat Month
National Mentoring Month
National Menudo Month
National Oatmeal Month
National Personal Trainer Awareness Month
National Polka Month
National Pre-Pregnancy Awareness Month
National Radon Action Month
National Skating Month
National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month
National Slow Cooking Month
National Soup Month
National Staying Healthy Month
National Sunday Supper Month
National Thank You Month
National Train Your Dog Month
National Volunteer Blood Donor Month
National Wheat Bread Month
Poverty Awareness Month
Poverty in America Awareness Month
Prune Breakfast Month
Receding Gums Awareness Month
Retail Bakers Month
Rising Star Month
Self-Love Month
Shape Up US Month
Stalking Awareness Month
START Child Health campaign
Teen Driving Awareness Month
Teen Driving Awareness Month
Thyroid Awareness Month
Tubers and Dried Fruit Month
Unchain a Dog Month
Walk Your Dog Month

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.