An initiative of the COMMUNIA association originally developed during the COMMUNA Project
with the special support of and of
To celebrate the role of the public domain in our societies

Important note - please read carefully:
The information presented on this website about works entering the public domain are based on a rough "life plus seventy years" computation. This is certainly wrong for some jurisdictions and/or for some types of work (see, for instance, this list.) Moreover, the fact that the works of a given author are in the public domain in a jurisdiction does NOT mean (unfortunately) that those works are also public domain in other jurisdictions. Viceversa, the works of a given author might ALREADY be in the public domain!

Moreover, we are talking of original works: TRANSLATIONS are derived works, whose copyright status generally depends on the year in which the translator - not the author! - has died.

If you need to be sure about the status of a given work, check your national copyright law and, if needed, a lawyer.

For 2011, just as an example of how fiendishly complex copyright laws can be, we are told that Isaac Babel, the great Russian author who died in 1940, will NOT enter the public domain in Russia, his home country. In Russia, in fact, the terms of protection of oppressed authors begin with the date of rehabilitation, which for Babel was 1954. Another feature of the Russian copyright law is that the terms of protection of posthumous works start with the date of publication, which means that Bulgakov's masterpiece, "Master and Margarita", first published in 1966 (26 years after Bulgakov's death) in Russia will be under copyright until 2037. More info here .

As we have said, if you want to be certain about legal uses of a certain work in a given jurisdiction, consult with a lawyer!

This website does not in any way offer legal advice or services.

Authors listed on this site have been collected from the following sources: