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January 1, 2019 marked the first time in more than twenty years that any works had entered the US public domain due to copyright expiration. As part of our spotlight on new public domain content, we featured this collection of films from the silent era made available by the Internet Archive. In addition to streaming online, many of these classic films can also be downloaded.

Readers wondering where they might find some of the films that recently entered the public domain under US copyright law should take a look at the Internet Archive's movie collection. At the link above, visitors can watch and download several dozen full-length feature films from 1923, the publication year that most recently became public domain in the US. This collection includes such films as Cecil B. DeMille's lesser-known silent version of The Ten Commandments, the classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney and directed by Wallace Worsley, and Alla Nazimova's avant-garde adaptation of Oscar Wilde's play Salome, as well as several of Otto Messmer's early Felix the Cat cartoons. Although films from this time had no audible dialogue, some in this collection include music. Visitors may use the search bar and filters on the left to further explore the Internet Archive's movie collections, and the entire site is bursting with other content to explore as well.
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Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication 2019-05-31
Archived Scout Publication URL https://scout.wisc.edu/report/2019/0531

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