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Public Domain Day is the day we celebrate those works that have entered the public domain. The Public Domain Day Project at The Ohio State University began in 2019 in celebration of a special event; January 1, 2019 marked the first time in many years that works first registered or published in the U.S. entered the public domain in the U.S. due to expiration of their copyright term. For 20 years, the works remained protected by copyright due to a retroactive extension of copyright under the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act. But now, as public domain works, these creative materials are now free of copyright protection in the U.S.

In 2019, The Ohio State University Libraries and School of Music celebrated this legal landmark by spotlighting musical compositions that entered the public domain in that year. For Public Domain Day 2019, the project focused on musical compositions first registered or published in the United States in 1923.

With published works once again entering the public domain on a rolling basis, new works will enter the public domain in the U.S. every year on January 1st. On this project website you will find digital scores of these public domain compositions in the Music & Audio section. In addition, new recordings from select compositions will be made available throughout the term of the project. Unless otherwise noted, these recordings will be dedicated to the public domain under the terms of Creative Common (CC0) 1.0 Universal.

Live events will be offered throughout the year. You can find more information on upcoming events, as well as an archive of past events, in the Events section.