The following is a guest post by Creative Commons community member Sebastiaan ter Burg.
In January 2020 there will be events all over the world to celebrate the fact that new works have entered the public domain. The country where a work is published determines when copyright expires. For example, where I’m from in the Netherlands, copyright vested in a work expires on the first day of January—70 years after the death of the work’s author. Meanwhile, works published in Mexico are copyrighted for a full 100 years after their death of their authors. That’s a long time!
This is why we celebrate Public Domain Day, which happens on the first day of each year when new works enter the public domain. It’s a day to celebrate the lives of authors who died many years ago and whose works have finally become available to the world to access and use freely. Do you want to know if a Public Domain Day event is happening in your country? Or are you involved in the organization of an event in your country? Then head over to pdday.org to see where events are being held or to add your own event.
pdday.org is also a larger initiative to stimulate the publishing of works in the public domain. In addition to cataloguing events, the site aims to to collect practical tools and best practices for doing things like determining whether a work is in the public domain. The video below is an example of how cultural institutions in The Netherlands get training in determining public domain material in their collections.
I hope you’ll join us in celebrating Public Domain Day wherever you are in the world by attending an event, creating your own, or taking some time to learn about what the public domain is all about and why it’s important.