December 22, 2017

Here's a List of Free Stuff You Can Put in Your Movie in 2018

If you live in one of these countries, a whole host of new content is becoming public domain on January 1st. 

At the dawn of each new year, a whole new crop of art, writing, music and more becomes public domain, meaning you can do whatever you want with it, including putting it in your movie. According to Quartzy, "Most of the world has a copyright policy that works like this: Once a new year starts, the works by people who died a certain number of years earlier (usually 50 or 70) enter the public domain."

For people living in Canada, most of Asia, and much of Africa, 2018 will bring unrestricted use of works by creators who died in 1967, including Che Guevara, poet Langston Hughes, and artist René Magritte, along with musicians Woody Guthrie, Otis Redding and John Coltrane, and writers Alice B. Toklas and Dorothy Parker. That means that you can quote their writings, display their paintings, and add their music to your soundtracks, all without asking permission.

Unfortunately for those in the U.S., this New Year's won't bring many new works, due to the country's byzantine copyright laws. Our advice? Write your local Congressperson! 

Map of World Copyright Law via QuartzyCredit: Quartzy

A full list of writers, artists, and musicians whose work will be is available here, and check out this map, from Quartzy, that gives an overview of global public domain periods.      

Your Comment

44 Comments

The copyright laws are localized but the marketplace is global…see a problem with this picture?

As a Canadian filmmaker the above list is great news but I can’t see myself using these works as long as they are still protected under U.S. copyright law.

December 22, 2017 at 5:06PM

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Darren Video
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December 27, 2017 at 3:34AM

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manuela aumick
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August 3, 2018 at 12:14PM, Edited August 3, 12:14PM

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Interesting you mentioned Woodie Guthrie. For many of his songs published after a certain time, legend has it that the copyright notices went something like this:
"This song is Copyrighted in U.S., under Seal of Copyright # 154085, for a period of 28 years, and anybody caught singin it without our permission, will be mighty good friends of ourn, cause we don't give a dern. Publish it. Write it. Sing it. Swing to it. Yodel it. We wrote it, that's all we wanted to do."

I wouldn't count on something like this if I was using his stuff but, damn, that guy was extremely cool.

January 27, 2018 at 7:05AM

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August 4, 2018 at 10:27AM

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