Yes! We Have No Bananas

Unlike most civilized nations the United States does not deem a work to be in the public domain according to who created it (i.e. established by the death date of its creator), but rather when it was published. As you may know, in previous years the Unites States has seen precisely nothing enter the public domain due to copyright expiration (apart from some unpublished works). However, this is now changing. For the first time in more than two decades, as of January 1, 2019, published works will enter the US public domain. This will be all creative works —including books, films, artworks, or musical scores — published in the year 1923. Why this is happening now is complicated, but basically revolves around a series of laws – essentially the fault of the Disney Corp. and Sonny Bono – which saw extensions to previous copyright regulations. Now these extensions are expiring and so each coming year will see the works of 95 years ago added to the US public domain — so on January 1, 2019 the works from 1923, in 2020 those from 1924, in 2021 those from 1925 and so on and so on. Below are some highlights that entered on  January 1,2019.


  • Men Like Gods by H. G. Wells
  • “In the Orchard” ad “”Mrs Dalloway in Bond Street” by Virginia Woolf
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  • The Ego and the Id by Sigmund Freud (original German version)
  • Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier (original French version)
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie
  • The play Saint Joan by George Bernard Shaw
  • “Hypnos”, “What the Moon Brings”, “The Lurking Fear”, and “Memory” by H.P. Lovecraft
  • Duino Elegies by Rainer Maria Rilke (original German version)
  • New Hampshire by Robert Frost
  • Spring and All and also the novel The Great American Novel by William Carlos Williams
  • Harmonium by Wallace Stevens
  • Tulips and Chimneys by E.E. Cummings
  • Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Antic Hay by Aldous Huxley
  • A Son at the Front by Edith Wharton
  • Kangaroo by D. H. Lawrence.


  • The Ten Commandments by Cecil B. DeMille (not his 1956 version, but rather the earlier silent first attempt)
  • Safety Last! and Why Worry? by Harold Lloyd
  • The Pilgrim by Charlie Chaplin
  • Our Hospitality by Buster Keaton
  • The Little Napoleon by Georg Jacoby (which features debut of Marlene Dietrich)
  • The White Rose directed by D.W. Griffith


  • Robert Delaunay – Portrait of Tristan Tzara
  • Marcel Duchamp – The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass)
  • Max Ernst – Pietà or Revolution by Night
  • M. C. Escher – Dolphins
  • George Grosz – Ecce Homo (portfolio of lithographs)
  • Wassily Kandinsky – On White II
  • Henri Matisse – Odalisque with Raised Arms and Window at Tangier
  • Pablo Picasso – The Pipes of Pan and Paulo on a Donkey
  • Man Ray – Object to Be Destroyed (destroyed 1957)
  • Paul Klee – ArchitectureTightrope Walker, and Masks


  • “King Porter Stomp”
  • “Who’s Sorry Now?”
  • “Tin Roof Blues”
  • “That Old Gang of Mine”
  • “Yes! We Have No Bananas”
  • “I Cried for You”
  • “The Charleston”—written to accompany, and a big factor in the popularity of, the Charleston dance
  • Igor Stravinsky’s “Octet for Wind Instruments”

See these Wikipedia pages for more literaturemusicfilm and artworks published in 1923.


This entry was posted in Art, Books, Europe, Film, Freedom of Speech, History, movies, Museums, Music, Photography, Theater, USA, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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