Welcome to the public domain, Zelda


The New Year brings many things. New resolutions, new diets, and new works into the public domain.

In the UK, copyright in original literary and artistic works lasts for the lifetime of the creator plus and additional 70 years. But the quirk is that copyright doesn't expire on the 70th anniversary of their passing, it continues until the end of that calendar year. That means that such works enter the public domain en masse each New Year's Day. 

This year the works of Zelda Fitzgerald (diarist and novelist) and the artist, Arshile Gorky entered the public domain in the UK, since they both died in 1948. 

In case you're wondering, the works of the other Gorky (author, Maxim) and the other Fitzgerald (Zelda's husband, F. Scott) are already in the public domain, as they died earlier than their namesakes. 

This New Year is particularly important for US copyright watchers, because in 1998 the USA extended it's copyright protection by an additional 20 years. 2019 therefore marks the first time in twenty years that a large body of works will fall out of copyright in the USA.  

For the estates of those talented people, it is a time to morn one last loss. 

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