On January 1, 2021, copyrighted works from 1925 will enter the US public domain,1 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.

Source: Public Domain Day 2021 | Duke University School of Law

At the start of every year, new works enter the public domain. Once a work is public domain, it is available for anyone to do anything with it as they wish. You can create your own version of the work. However, you have to be careful.

A big example is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The book has entered the public domain, which means that you can do whatever you want with the book. But, you can’t incorporate any elements from the movie The Wizard of Oz which differ from the book, such as the ruby slippers. In the book they are silver.

If you are interested in public domain books that are available as ebooks, check out Project Gutenberg and my favorite, Standard Ebooks.

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