Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years).  Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010.

This includes:

  • Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
  • C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair (the fourth book in The Chronicles of Narnia)
  • Walt Disney’s Peter Pan
  • H.G. Well’s The War of the Worlds
  • From Here to Eternity (starring Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Deborah Kerr, Frank Sinatra, and Donna Reed)

Click here for a full discussion and additional works.

Source: Center for the Study of the Public Domain