2023 public domain debuts include last Sherlock Holmes work

Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, the first talkie The Jazz Singer, the songs “Ol Man River” from Showboat and “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” and the novels To the Lighthouse (Virginia Woolf) and The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Thornton Wilder) and the first Hardy Boys novel will (finally) enter the common domain in 2023.

I chose my dissertation time period of 1920-1950 because I expected the works I studied would fall out of copyright one by one during my academic career, and I had visions of leisurely preparing annotated hypertext versions of those works and publishing them online. But then in 1998, just as I was finishing up my dissertation, the Copyright Term Extension Act extended the copyright term for another 20 years, scuttling those plans.

The long-running contested copyright dispute over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of a whipsmart detective — which has even ensnared Enola Holmes — will finally come to an end as the 1927 copyrights expiring Jan. 1 include Conan Doyle’s last Sherlock Holmes work.

Alongside the short-story collection “The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes,” books such as Virginia Woolf’s “To The Lighthouse,” Ernest Hemingway’s “Men Without Women,” William Faulkner’s “Mosquitoes” and Agatha Christie’s “The Big Four” — an Hercule Poirot mystery — will become public domain as the calendar turns to 2023. —Associated Press

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