Creative works from 1927 entered into public domain status on January 1, 2023.
As we did last year we turn to Duke Law for the big hits:
On January 1, 2023, copyrighted works from 1927 will enter the US public domain.?1? They will be free for all to copy, share, and build upon. These include Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse and the final Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, the German science-fiction film Metropolis and Alfred Hitchcock’s first thriller, compositions by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller, and a novelty song about ice cream. Please note that this site is only about US law; the copyright terms in other countries are different.
Among authors the last of Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is now p.d.
The Guardian tells of the the sadness of the Conan Doyle Estate:
[T]oday the US copyright on the last two Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle – from The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes – expires. This must be depressing news for the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd, which has been almost as assiduous an enforcer of intellectual property rights as was James Joyce’s grandson, Stephen Joyce, in the years when Ulysses was in copyright.
Or Disney Corp (Mickey’s first appearance goes p.d. in one year).
For comics fans the last of Zenas Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland joins the last of Doyle’s Holmes. All of the original Little Nemo and Holmes are no longer copyright protected.
Before I became a fan of the Sherlock Holmes books I was big into other detectives.
As a preteener I asked for Hardy Boys books for birthday and Christmas presents.
Copyrightlately.com begins their 2023 public domain article with Frank and Joe:
Last month, Hulu announced that the upcoming third season of its Hardy Boys reboot would be the series’ last. While it’s certainly not unusual for streamers to cancel shows after only a few seasons, it also just so happens that the first three novels introducing the teenage sleuths are about to enter the public domain.
As for new comic strips in 1927 there doesn’t seem to be any Big Names.
Good Time Guy only lasted a few years, ending in 1930.
But by 1927 there was a trend developing. Little Orphan Annie, begun in 1924, was out on her own, Chester Gump was traveling far from The Gump’s homestead, and, while Captain Easy hadn’t yet been introduced, Roy Crane was taking Wash Tubbs away from the gag-a-days to more action oriented stuff.
In 1925 Edwin Alger and George Storm created what some say was the earliest strip created as an adventure comic. It only lasted a year. But George Storm returned in 1927 with Bobby Thatcher. Ron Goulart called it “a pioneering daily adventure strip.”
Storm continued to mix [a] sort of movie excitement with the Alger story line throughout the strop’s run, alternating babies left in wicker baskets on doorsteps with surly rumrunners blasting away with tommy guns. Bobby’s picaresque wanderings through the 1920s and 1930s exposed him to almost of adventure format. Including aviation, detective, cowboy, seafaring and more.
The first nine months of this early adventure comic are now public domain.
(There’s a very good chance that the copyright was never renewed
and it was public domain before this new year confirmed it.)
Of course all the comic strips that had been running for the thirty years before 1927 has their strips from that year join the earlier strips as p.d. Including some of their 1927 book collections.
Last year Winnie the Pooh entered public domain, this year another Milne and Shepard book does.