Film works from Chaplin, DeMille, Buster Keaton are entering soon the Public Domain

Film works from Chaplin, DeMille, Buster Keaton are entering soon the Public Domain

img. The American actor Buster Keaton is learning billiards by the world champion Willi Hoppe. Photograph. About 1933. © IMAGNO

A large amount of books, films, and other works will become public domain according to the recent reform of U.S. copyright law. Within 28 years from publication, copyright of the work should be registered at the U.S. Copyright Office, and every 28 years copyright should be renewed. Now, missing both a registration and a renewal, anything published between 1923 and 1963 is considered Public Domain. This also means that from 2019 onwards, each year a bulk of vintage creative works, published 95 years earlier, will enter in the Public Domain – as many books, songs, and other printed media were never renewed by the author or publisher due to various reasons (poor sales or lost interest, an author’s death, or a publisher’s shutting down or bankruptcy).

According to a research by the Center for the Study of the Public Domain ay Duke University School of Law, 35 silent films by Charlie Chaplin, Cecil B. DeMille, Buster Keaton, and others published in 1923 enter the Public Domain, including pieces which reached high performance at the box office, such as “The Covered Wagon” directed by James Cruze, “Stephen Steps Out” which saw Douglas Fairbanks Jr.’s film debut; DeMille’s original version of “The Ten Commandments”; Chaplin’ comedy “The Pilgrim” and the drama “A Woman of Paris”, and also “Souls for Sale” directed by Rupert Hughes in which Chaplin also had a cameo.

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