Sherlock Holmes enters the public domain in 2023

Sherlock Holmes is finally free to the American public in 2023.

A long-running contentious copyright dispute over Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories – which even got Enola Holmes into trouble – will finally come to an end as the 1927 copyright, which expires on January 1, includes Conan Doyle’s last Sherlock Holmes work.

In addition to the short story collection “The Case of Sherlock Holmes”, there are Virginia Woolf’s “To the Lighthouse”, Ernest Hemingway’s “A Man Without a Woman”, William Faulkner’s ” Mosquitoes” and Agatha Christie’s “The Big Four” – the mystery of Hercule Poirot – will become public domain as the calendar turns to 2023.

Once a work is in the public domain, it can be legally shared, performed, reused, repurposed, or sampled without permission or cost. Works in 1927 were supposed to be in copyright for 75 years, but the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 extended their openness by 20 years.

While many of the standout works on the list have used the extra two decades to earn handsome profits for copyright holders, a Duke University expert says copyright protection also applies to “all works whose commercial viability has long since faded.” .

“For the vast majority of works from 1927 onwards (probably 99%), no copyright owner has any financial benefit from continued copyright. Yet they remain unrestricted for no reason,” Duke University’s Center for Public Domain Studies Director Jennifer Jenkins said, wrote in a blog post Heralds “Public Domain Day 2023”.

The long duration of copyright in the United States means that many works that are available today have long since been lost because it is not profitable for the legal owners to maintain them, but not available to others. On Duke’s list are such “lost” films as Victor Fleming’s “The Way of All Life” and Tod Browning’s “London After Midnight.”

The 1927 release of the first “talking film” heralded the end of the silent film era – a film with dialogue. That would be “The Jazz Singer,” the first feature-length film with simultaneous dialogue in history, also notorious for Al Jolson’s blackface performance.

In addition to the films directed by Alan Crossland, other films such as William A. Wellman’s inaugural “Outstanding Production” Oscar winner “Wings,” and Fritz Lang ( Fritz Lang’s seminal sci-fi classic “Metropolis” public area.

Musical compositions—music and lyrics on sheet music, not recordings—are on the list including hits from Broadway musicals like “Funny Face” and jazz standards from legends like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, and “Puttin’ on the Ritz” and “(I Scream You Scream, We All Scream for) Ice Cream” by Howard Johnson, Billy Moll and Robert A. King in Irving Berlin.

Duke Public Domain Center Highlights notable books, films and music that have entered the public domain – just a few of the thousands to come in 2023.


— Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury (original version)

— Death of the Archbishop by Willa Cather

—The Four, Agatha Christie

— “Tower Treasure,” the first Hardy Boys mystery novel by Franklin W. Dixon

—The Sherlock Holmes Casebook, by Arthur Conan Doyle

—Copper Sun, Countee Cullen

—The Mosquito, William Faulkner

– Ernest Hemingway, “A Man Without a Woman”

— Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (in German)

—America by Franz Kafka (German)

— “We’re Six Now,” by AA Milne, illustrated by EH Shepard

— “Le Temps retrouvé” by Marcel Proust (French)

—The Twilight Saga, by Edith Wharton

— Thornton Wilder’s St. Louis Rey Bridge

—Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


— Seventh Heaven, directed by Frank Borzach

– “Fight of the Century,” a Laurel and Hardy film directed by Clyde Bruckman

— Little Brother, directed by Ted Wilde

— The Jazz Singer, directed by Alan Crossland

—The Tenant: A Tale of the London Fog, directed by Alfred Hitchcock

—Metropolis, directed by Fritz Lang

—Sunrise, director FW Murnau

— “Upstream,” directed by John Ford

—Wings, directed by William A. Wellman

musical work

— “Back Water Blues,” “Preaching the Blues” and “Foolish Man Blues” (Bessie Smith)

— “The Best Things in Life Are Free” from “Good News” the Musical (George Gard “Buddy” De Sylva, Lew Brown, Ray Henderson)

— “Billy Goat Stomp,” “Hyena Stomp” and “Jungle Blues” (Ferdinand Joseph Morton)

— “Black and Tan Fantasy” and “East St. Louis Toodle-O” (Bub Miley, Duke Ellington)

— “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” and “Ol’ Man River” from “Show Boat” the Musical (Oscar Hammerstein II, Jerome Kern)

— Diane (Erno Rapi, Lou Pollack)

— “Funny Face” and “‘S Wonderful” from “Funny Face” the Musical (Ira and George Gershwin)

– “(I scream you scream, we all scream) Ice Cream” (Howard Johnson, Billy More, Robert King)

— Mississippi Mud (Harry Barris, James Cavanaugh)

— “My Blue Heaven” (George Whiting, Walter Donaldson)

— “Potato Head Blues” and Gully Low Blues” (Louis Armstrong)

— “Puttin’ on the Ritz” (Irving Berlin)

— “Rusty Pail Blues,” “Sloppy Water Blues” and “Soothin’ Syrup Stomp” (Thomas Waller)