On this day of great celebrations worldwide, we also invite to celebrate the impressive wealth of knowledge, information and beauty that today, like every year on this day, becomes freely available to humankind. Every year on New Year's Day, in fact, due to the expiration of copyright protection terms on works produced by authors who died several decades earlier, thousands of works enter the public domain - that is, their content is no longer owned or controlled by anyone, but it rather becomes a common treasure, available for anyone to freely use for any purpose.
Such works can also become a building block for new creations: people can transform a poem into song lyrics, or make a movie based on a public domain novel (check your local movie theaters to see how often that happens!). Literary works can be published on personal website and/or printed for friends or school distribution. Of course, you can also decide, for instance, to professionally print a beautiful hardcover leather-bound edition of a public domain book and sell it for a profit, while the book content will remain available for anyone to use freely. And the same goes for images, art works and other kinds of creative works entering the public domain under the same term expiration rule.
This Public Domain Day (each year's January 1st) website is an initiative of COMMUNIA, the European Thematic Network on the Digital Public Domain, with special support from the Open Knowledge Foundation (UK) and the Center for the Study of Public Domain at Duke University (USA). Our aim is to raise worldwide awareness about the role of the public domain in our societies and to provide resources and information. Please feel free to browse our website and related links and pages - to find greater inspiration and enjoy the creative and entrepreneurial freedom granted to everybody by the public domain.