For years, genealogists learned that anything published in 1923 or later might still enjoy copyright protection. Well, that changed 2 years ago, again last year, and is about to change again.
We’re rapidly approaching another Public Domain Day, the day at the start of the year when a year’s worth of creative work joins the public domain.
On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain where they will be free for all to use and build upon. These works include books such as F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time, and Franz Kafka’s The Trial (in the original German), silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music ranging from the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown to songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, W.C. Handy, and Fats Waller. Even Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf becomes public domain in 2021.
Of course, many less-popular genealogy books published in 1925 will also become public domain.
You can read more in an article by Jennifer Jenkins in the Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain web site at: https://web.law.duke.edu/cspd/publicdomainday/2021/.