The Class of 2014 — as the Public Domain Review puts it and even includes the above adorable class photo — includes those artists, authors, composers, and other creators who died in 1943. However, this is only in countries that have a “life plus 70 years” copyright rule, which includes most of South America and Europe, Russia, Brazil, Israel, Nigeria, Turkey, and Australia. As you may notice this does not include the United States where copyright laws are more stringent. (Here’s a rundown of the world by its copyright restrictions on the Public Domain Day site.)
There is an exception as the dearly departed makers of 1943 are joined by Sherlock Holmes, whose creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s work published prior to January 1, 1923 was ruled in the public domain of the United States last month. Here are a few notable members of the Class of 2014 who are joining the London sleuth:
French artist Chaïm Soutine’s richly-painted scenes of early abstraction — and, infamously for his neighbors at least, a rotting beef carcass — are perhaps the most prominent visual art in the Class of 2014.
While a little less well-known than Soutine, Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp was also an influential artist in abstraction that was more firmly geometric before she died in 1943. She was also a sculptor and a dancer, and even made Dada theatre puppets, and she is the only woman to have the honor of her face on a Swiss franc.
Prepare your fingers as the Russian-born composer of the famously challenging “Piano Concerto No. 3” is included in the 2014 public domain inductees. Reportedly Sergei Rachmaninoff was able to play such compositions due to his abnormally large hands, but likely now in the public domain many others of less formidable appendages will give them a go.
Also in the music realm, jazz legend Fats Waller’s “Aint’ Misbehavin,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” and other songs also enter the public domain. Although like Rachmaninoff, it will be hard for anyone to quite give them the spark he had.
Peter Rabbit and the sinister Mr. McGregor enter the public domain through Beatrix Potter’s work, best known in her The Tale of Peter Rabbit and other anthropomorized tales.
Want to try your hand at besting Edison with alternating current? The work of Serbian American electrical inventor Nikola Telsa is another to join the public domain.
Also entering the public domain is the work of Robert Antoine Pinchon, Oskar Schlemmer, George Washington-Carver, and Frida Uhl. You can find them and many more on the Public Domain Review.
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