Center News

Public Domain Day 2024

Public Domain Day 2024!

On January 1, 2024, works from 1928 enter the U.S. public domain. They include Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence and The Threepenny Opera by Bertolt Brecht, Buster Keaton’s The Cameraman and of course, 2024 marks the long-awaited arrival of Steamboat Willie – featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse – into the public domain. See what will be open to all on our annual site!

CSPD Director Jennifer Jenkins joins Lee Cowan on CBS Sunday Morning to discuss how the public domain inspires new creativity. Watch "The public domain, where art lives after copyright."

The Center launches the Public Domain Newsletter, featuring public domain updates and previews. Read the April 2024 edition of the newsletter here.

Public Domain Day 2024 attracted unparalleled interest.

The CSPD’s work was featured in over 2500 media stories, including CBS news, NPR’s Morning Edition, stories in the Associated PressVarietyThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Marketplace, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC, WBUR’s Here & Now, and WNYC’s All of It.

Cover of Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society -- Cases and Materials, Fifth Edition, and link to purchase at Amazon.comIntellectual Property: Law & the Information Society—Cases and Materials (5th Edition 2021)
The Center announces the publication of the fifth edition of an Open Coursebook, Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society—Cases and Materials. The book is an introduction to U.S. intellectual property law written and edited by the Center's Faculty Co-Director James Boyle and the Center's Director Jennifer Jenkins and is available for free download or in a low cost print edition. » Read more

Public Domain Day 2021

Public Domain Day 2021!

On January 1, 2021, works from 1925 (finally) enter the U.S. public domain. They include F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, silent films featuring Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton, and music including the jazz standard Sweet Georgia Brown and songs by Gertrude “Ma” Rainey. See what will be open to all on our annual site!

Find out more in this video about the Public Domain!

What COULD have been entering the US public domain in 2021? Under the law that existed until 1978, we’d be getting works from 1964. Read more about it here.

Loophole art for NPR Planet Money (credit: Siena Mae for NPR)Planet Money Buys a Superhero: Loophole
Planet Money travels into the public domain to find their very own superhero, with the help of CSPD Director Jennifer Jenkins! Listen to the podcast here.

Public Domain Day 2021 Was a Hit!
Read or listen to stories about Public Domain Day as covered by Morning Edition, Smithsonian Magazine, and NPR Arts & Life.

Public Domain Day celebration!
On December 17, 2020, the Center joined the Internet Archive, Wikimedia Foundation, Creative Commons, and SPARC to throw a Public Domain Day party.

Furt: o istorie a muzicii [Theft!: A History of Music]
The Center for the Study of the Public Domain is pleased to share the Romanian version of Theft! A History of Music. Just released, „Furt: o istorie a muzicii” is a translation made by George Hari Popescu under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Mr. Popescu commented that some of the greatest challenges were in translating the puns, song lyrics, and graphics from English to Romanian; but that the end result is well-received in Romania. Read more about it at [in Romanian] or download the book—for free—at


Public Domain Day 2020Public Domain Day 2020
On January 1, 2020, works from 1924 (finally) enter the public domain. They include George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” silent films by Buster Keaton and Harold Lloyd, and Thomas Mann’s “The Magic Mountain,” E. M. Forster’s “A Passage to India,” and A. A. Milne’s “When We Were Very Young.” These works were supposed to go into the US public domain in 2000, after being copyrighted for 75 years. But before this could happen, Congress hit a 20-year pause button and extended their copyright term to 95 years. See what will be open to all on our annual site.

But…what COULD have been entering the US public domain in 2020? Under the law that existed until 1978, we’d be getting works from 1963. Read more about it here.

Duke Law and Technology ReviewThe Past and Future of the Internet: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow
CSPD Faculty Co-Director James Boyle serves as Special Editor for this just-released issue of the Duke Law & Technology Review (18 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 1 (2019)). The symposium includes works by Prof. Boyle, John Perry Barlow, Cory Doctorow, Cindy Cohn, Yochai Benkler, Julie E. Cohen, Benjamin Edelman, Pamela Samuelson & Kathryn Hashimoto, Jessica Litman, Jonathan L. Zittrain, Anupam Chander & Madhavi Sunder, Peter Jaszi, and Charles R. Nesson. » Read the Symposium

Public Domain Day 2019Public Domain Day 2019
On January 1, 2019, works from 1923 will (finally) enter the US public domain! This is the first time in over twenty years that published works have entered our public domain. See what will be freely available in 2019. logoA Trove of Works Enters the Public Domain
CSPD Director Jennifer Jenkins comments to the Smithsonian magazine on the upcoming release of works to the public domain in the United States. » Read more

Science magazine headlineThe 50th Anniversary of Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons."
Writing in The Economist, Faculty Co-Director James Boyle discusses the various influences of Garrett Hardin's seminal article, "The Tragedy of the Commons," which first appeared in Science magazine's December 13, 1968, issue. » Read more

Theft! A History of Music coverBoyle and Jenkins Discuss Music Comic
The Center for the Study of the Public Domain's Faculty Co-Director James Boyle and Director Jennifer Jenkins discuss their graphic novel, Theft! A History of Music, at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. » Watch the video

The AtlanticA Landslide of Classic Art Is About to Enter the Public Domain
Center Director Jennifer Jenkins discusses the resumption of works entering the public domain in 2019 and research that the Center is working on about some of those works. » The Atlantic

Professor James BoyleAcademic Knowledge for All
Faculty Co-Director James Boyle discusses open access academic publishing and the potential for free access to change how people create and share ideas. » Listen to WUNC's The State of Things

Public Domain Day: January 1, 2018
The Center marks Public Domain Day—when thousands of works enter the public domain around the world—with a celebration of what won’t be entering the public domain in the US.

Theft: A History of Music The Center for the Study of the Public Domain is proud to announce the publication of Theft! A History of Music.
The book is a graphic novel (aka "comic book")  laying out a 2000 year history of musical borrowing from Plato to rap. The comic, by James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins and the late Keith Aoki is available as a handsome 8.5 x 11″ paperback, and for free download under a Creative Commons license.

Listen to co-author James Boyle discuss the comic on NPR’s The State of Things.

Read what people are saying about the book: boing boing, DukeToday, Indy Weekly, Chronicle.

Von Gesetzes Wegen?German translation of Bound By Law? now available
The Center is pleased to announce a new translation of its educational comic, created by Wolfgang Flechsenhaar, LL.M. Von Gesetzes Wegen? is the sixth translation of the work that we know of. » Lesen Sie das Comic-Buch [Read the comic]

Prof. Jennifer Jenkins Reversing the Erosion of the Public Domain?
Center Director Jennifer Jenkins reveals the promise and the limits of various attempts to reverse the erosion of the public domain in In Ambiguous Battle: The Promise (and Pathos) of Public Domain Day.

Prof. Jennifer JenkinsIs We Shall Overcome in the public domain?
Center Director Jennifer Jenkins talks about copyright term and orphan works in a USA Today column discussing the suit to establish that We Shall Overcome is in the public domain, and highlighting the Center's websites about what could have been in the public domain. » USA Today UPDATE—court holds that key parts of We Shall Overcome are in the public domain.

ConsumeristFair use education
Professor Jennifer Jenkins, Center Director, discusses the need for balance in educational programs on copyright and fair use for Consumerist. » Read more

Quartz ("Films are literally rotting in their cans"
Professor Jennifer Jenkins, Center Director, comments on American copyright law and Public Domain Day for Quartz. » Read more

Arti RaiAriosa Diagnostics v. Sequenom
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai discusses the possible effects of the Federal Circuit's ruling in this patent case. A three-judge panel invalidated Sequenom's patent in June and the court recently denied the company's petition for reconsideration en banc review. » Read more

The New York Times' The UpshotBiologics and barriers to entry for new manufacturers
A forthcoming article by Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai and co-author W. Nicholson Price is quoted in The New York Times's The Upshot article on drug pricing. » Read more

Modern HealthcareRai comments on proposed trade deal
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai discusses the recently announced Trans-Pacific Partnership and its potential effects on pharmaceutical patents and access to medicine. » Read more

Fast CompanyNo copyright in lyrics to ‘Happy Birthday’
Center Director Jennifer Jenkins comments on Marya v. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., 2015 WL 5568497 (2015), and Judge George H. King's decision (available here via the Internet Archive) that Warner/Chappell Music did not hold a valid copyright in the lyrics to the song. » FastCompany

ThinkProgress.comRai comments on how new rules will have little impact on curbing patent trolling
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai discusses recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office rules affecting patent eligibility standards. » Read more

U.S. Capitol dome and flagSenators propose patent reform
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai discusses the recently introduced Protecting American Talent and Entrepreneurship Act (PATENT Act) with Scott Drake of Legal Broadcast Network.

Science (AAAS magazine) logo"Universities are more often on the giving end . . . of the legal threats"
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai comments for ScienceInsider on the Innovation Act (H.R. 9) introduced in the House of Representatives this year and the legislation's potential effects on universities.” » more

bio-similars illustrationAre trade secrets delaying biosimilars?
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai and Prof. W. Nicholson Price II co-author an article examining the effect of trade secrets on the cost of cutting-edge medications in Science.

Blurred LinesThe “Blurred Lines” of the Law
CSPD Director Jennifer Jenkins discusses the recent jury verdict in the copyright infringement case involving the song “Blurred Lines.” » more

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.I Have a Copyright: The Problem with MLK's Speech
Professor Jennifer Jenkins, Center Director, comments on the copyright status of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech in Mother Jones magazine. Prof. Jenkins also comments for USA Today on the recently decided case involving the sale of some of Dr. King's papers by his former assistant.

Huffington Post(EM)I Has a Dream
CSPD Faculty Co-Director James Boyle discusses the copyright issues surrounding Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1963 "I Have a Dream" speech and other vital cultural events in a column for Huffington Post. He also discusses his column and the issues with HuffPost Live TV.

Seal of the Administrative Conference of the United StatesAdministrative Conference Appoints New Members
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai has been appointed to the Administrative Conference of the United States. » Read more

Six Duke Law journals move to digitial-only formatSix Duke Law journals move to digital-only format
Richard Danner, Senior Associate Dean for Information Services at Duke Law School, calls the move to digital-only publication a natural next-step in the university's long-standing commitment to open access for scholarly works. » Read more

The New York TimesRai comments on "patent troll" lawsuits
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai comments on Obama administration plans to crack down on 'patent trolls' in an article in The New York Times.

The New York TimesCourt Ruling Takes a Stand on Essential High-Tech Patents
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai comments on the U.S. District Court's ruling in Microsoft v. Motorola for The New York Times.

The EconomistReselling media content: Seconds to go
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai comments on the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons for The Economist.

American Law Institute logoRai elected to ALI
Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai is one of three Duke Law School faculty recently elected to the American Law Institute. » Read more

The EconomistWho owns Sherlock Holmes?
CSPD Director Jennifer Jenkins comments on Leslie Klinger's lawsuit against the heirs of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who are trying to collect license fees for Mr. Klinger's series of new Sherlock Holmes-inspired stories. » The Economist

Keith AokiIn Memoriam: Professor Keith Aoki
It is with great sadness that we note the death of Keith Aoki, Professor of Law at UC Davis Law School, and long-time collaborator with the Center. Prof. Aoki combined many different talents: scholar, artist, musician, mentor, father, husband, gentleness, humor, and so much more. Describing Prof. Aoki's contributions to the Center is difficult to do in a small space, but Prof. James Boyle, Faculty Co-Director, shares a marvelous tribute to Prof. Aoki and Prof. Jennifer Jenkins, Director, offers her own personal remembrance.

Brookings Institution ReportEndowed by Their Creator?: The Future of Constitutional Personhood
Faculty Co-Director James Boyle examines how constitutional law should meet the challenges posed by artificially created entities. » Brookings Institution

Indigendous/Traditional Knowledge & Intellectual Property PDFIndigenous/Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property
The Center is pleased to announce the release of a new policy guide on indigenous and traditional knowledge, prepared by scholar Dr. Jane Anderson. This paper offers an analysis of the wide range of proposals for protecting indigenous knowledge, along with illustrative examples, in order to assist policymakers and citizens navigating this complex field. » Read the paper

The Public Domain The Public Domain: Enclosing the Commons of the Mind
Faculty Co-Director James Boyle's book, recently named American Society for Information Science and Technology Book of the Year for 2009, explores the importance of the public domain to music, culture, science, and economic welfare and explains what we must do to protect it. Prof. Boyle discusses the book on BBC's In Business, NPR, North Carolina Public Radio, Connecticut Public Radio, and BBC's Thinking Allowed. In addition to the ASIST honor, The Public Domain received the 2008 McGannon Award from Fordham University's Donald McGannon Communication Research Center. Visit the book's web site to read the book online, check the reviews, and more; or buy the book.

Multilingual Educational Resources about Intellectual Property Multilingual Educational Resources about Intellectual Property and the Public Domain
Find Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish translations of educational resources created for the Center to promote greater awareness and understanding about IP and the public domain. Visit the site.

IP and Synthetic Biology IP and Synthetic Biology
Read Faculty Co-Director Arti Rai's seminal articles about intellectual property and "synthetic biology" - the attempt to construct new biological functions and systems, starting at the genetic level: Synthetic Biology: The Intellectual Property Puzzle (with Sapna Kumar) and Synthetic Biology: Caught Between Property Rights, the Public Domain, and the Commons (with James Boyle). Here Professor Rai's recent lecture on The Paradigm Shift of Synthetic Biology: Tensions Between Innovation and Security given at the University of Minnesota [ more information ].

 7 Ways To Ruin A Technological Revolution
If you wanted to undermine the technological revolution of the last 30 years, using the law, how would you do it? Faculty Co-Director James Boyle provides answers at a Google Tech Talk. View the webcast

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Faculty Scholarship

James Boyle

David Lange

Arti Rai

Jerome H. Reichman