Each year on January 1, a collection of copyrighted work loses its protected status and enters the public domain. This is marked with the celebration of Public Domain Day. We celebrated the day last year when works like The Jazz Singer and the first three books in The Hardy Boys landed in the public domain.

According to the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, “The goal of copyright is to promote creativity, and the public domain plays a central role in doing so. Copyright law gives authors important rights that encourage creativity and distribution. But it also ensures that those rights last for a ‘limited time,’ so that when they expire, works can go into the public domain, where future authors can legally build upon their inspirations…Anyone can use these works as raw material for their own creations, without fear of a lawsuit. What kinds of things will people do with public domain works?”

Now that it is 2024, many works are entering the public domain for the first time. In the United States, books, films, and other media published in 1928 enter the public domain in 2024. Many are obscure, but we’ve highlighted some of the big names below, including a certain magical rodent. We hope their new legal status inspires you to go out and create something of your own!

On January 9th, join us for the first happy hour event of the year at Get Lit: Public Domain Party. We’ll be celebrating these new additions to the public domain with a live Road-A-Thon, which we’ll share live on on our Instagram. Plus, you can create your own works at our Remix Stations or add a note to our time capsule. We hope you’ll join us!

Here are just a few selections of works to enter the public domain in 2024:


Millions of Cats book cover
The children’s picture book “Millions of Cats,” written and illustrated by Wanda Gág entered the public domain in 2024.
  • Millions of Cats by Wanda Gág
  • Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization by Margaret Mead
  • The Missing Chums (The Hardy Boys, #4) by Franklin W. Dixon
  • Hunting for Hidden Gold (The Hardy Boys, #5) by Franklin W. Dixon
  • The Shore Road Mystery (The Hardy Boys, #6) by Franklin W. Dixon
  • The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
  • West-Running Brook by Robert Frost


Steamboat Willie
2024 marks an amazing year, as the 1928 short animated film “Steamboat Willie,” featuring both Mickey and Minnie Mouse, entered the public domain.

That’s right! For the first time, Mickey Mouse, along with Minnie, will enter the public domain… sort of. Copyright is complicated, so we always recommend consulting a copyright attorney before using previously copyrighted work. Click here to learn more.

  • Steamboat Willie by Walt Disney & Ub Iwerks
  • Plane Crazy (silent version) by Walt Disney & Ub Iwerks
  • The Gallopin’ Gaucho by Walt Disney
  • Abie’s Irish Rose by Jules Furthman
  • In Old Arizona by Tom Barry
  • Noah’s Ark by Anthony Codleway from a story by Darryl F. Zanuck
  • Speedy by Al Boasberg
  • Lights of New York by Murray Roth and Hugh Herbet
  • The Man Who Laughs by J. Grubb Alexander, Walter Anthony, Mary McLean, and Charles E. Whittaker

Musical Compositions

“I’ve Got the Yes! We Have No Banana Blues” by James F Hanley and Robert King, performed by Eddie Candor
“I’ve Got the Yes! We Have No Banana Blues” by James F. Hanley and Robert King, performed by Eddie Candor is now in the public domain.
  • “Makin’ Whoopee” by Walter Donaldson, lyrics by Gus Kahn
  • “The Big Rock Candy Mountains” by Harry McClintock
  • “There’s a Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder” by Al Jolson, Billy Rose, and Dave Dreyer
  • “I Wanna Be Loved by You” by Herbert Stothart and Harry Ruby, lyrics by Bert Kalmar
  • “Sweet Sue, Just You” by Victor Young, lyrics by Will J Harris
  • “Sonny Boy” by Ray Henderson, Buddy De Sylva, and Lew Brown

Sound Recordings

Click on the links below to hear the public domain sound recordings from our friends at the Library of Congress.

International Works

While our goal here at the American Writers Museum is to celebrate the writing of American authors, we also want to highlight some international works entering the public domain here in the United States.

Illustration from The House at Pooh Corner (1928)
Illustration from “The House at Pooh Corner.” This year, Tigger enters the public domain, joining Winnie the Pooh and his friends from last year. The Disney versions of these characters remain protected by copyright.
  • The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
  • The Circus screenplay by Charlie Chaplin
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (German version) by Erich Maria Remarque
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  • Orlando: A Biography by Virginia Woolf
  • The Passion of Joan of Arc screenplay by Joseph Delteil and Carl Theodor Dreyer
  • The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall
  • The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie
  • The Threepenny Opera by Berlot Brecht
  • “Mack the Knife” (German version) by Kurt Weill, lyrics by Bertolt Brecht