I recently started reading the public domain Barsoom novels (I'm on Thuvia, Maid of Mars at the moment) and I'm planning on reading the rest of the novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, but some are in the public domain and some are not. As such, if anyone has any clue as to when each of his books will enter the public domain that would be rather useful information for me (assuming that public domain laws do not change between now and then).

  • 18
    Never. Public domain laws change every time the oldest images of Mickey Mouse are in danger of falling out of copyright.
    – Molag Bal
    Apr 16, 2017 at 15:51
  • "assuming that public domain laws do not change between now and then" was included in the question. With the advent of the internet I think that the people will riot if the government tries to extend public domain laws any further, though that's far outside the scope of this question.
    – Tom Dacre
    Apr 16, 2017 at 15:52
  • 2
    Public domain laws are also different in different countries, although they're trying to harmonize them (usually to the detriment of the public domain). For example, James Bond's early stories are out of copyright in Canada (and an anthology was released of other authors playing with those characters). Still, you might want to specify a particular country. Apr 16, 2017 at 15:54
  • 3
    The most recent extension to support Disney happened in the internet era. Rioters were pretty scarce. Apr 16, 2017 at 16:11
  • 2
    People riot over things that they care about. Copyright policy isn't one of those things.
    – Valorum
    Apr 16, 2017 at 18:07

2 Answers 2


In the US

According to this source, for works published between 1923 and 1963 where the copyright has been renewed, copyright expires 95 years after the publication date. From Wikipedia, "Chessmen of Mars" (1922) should be the last in public domain; the Barsoom books published between 1928 and 1963 will enter public domain between 2023 (Master Mind of Mars, 1928) and 2043 (!!: Llana of Gathol, 1948).

I'm not 100% sure the copyrights have been renewed but I strongly suspect they have because ERB established Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc. to control his intellectual property. (ERB Inc has also been fighting to prevent adaptations and other use of ERB characters and settings that are already in public domain (under trademark law), but that presumably won't affect the ability to reprint/publish the works as is.)

In the UK (?)

(according to this site) copyright is life+70 years = 2020.

In Canada

Again from here copyright (on out-of-print editions) expires in Canada at life+50 years=2000. On the other hand, Burroughs' works do not appear on the Project Gutenberg Canada site.


I notice there are some Barsoom books on Gutenberg in Australia if you are still interested: http://gutenberg.net.au/searchresults.html

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