When will Conan the Barbarian enter the public domain? (2023)

When will Conan the Barbarian enter the public domain? (1)

Today is January 1, 2020.

The creator of Conan the BarbarianRoberto E HowardHe died on June 11, 1936.

FirstConan the barbarianThe story appeared in Weird Tales in 1932. At the time of writing, the copyright term for works that met all the requirements was quite long, and therefore could be copyrighted for 95 years. before entering the public domain. It will then enter the public domain on January 1, 2028.

However, this topic is controversial. Depending on who you talk to, what copyright you are citing, and what country you are in, the public domain of Robert E. Howard's work varies widely.

For example:

"In the UK, as in many other countries, works written by an author enter the public domain 70 years after their death. Since Robert E. Howard died in 1937, all of his original works, including those featuring Conan the Barbarian, will be in the public domain as of January 1, 2007."

Those - de.m.wikisource.org/wiki/Author_talk:Robert_Ervin_Howard

Note that the above source couldn't even pin down the year of his death/suicide. He was left to die in 1937 when he actually died in June 1936.

It also follows UK law, which in turn follows the date of the author's death. However, since the character first appeared in Weird Tales in 1932 and was published in the US, why should British law matter? Copyright must comply with the laws of the country in which it was first published.

Also, the companies that now own the rights to Conan the Barbarian (and other Robert E. Howard works) want to protect their copyrights. Namely, sue anyone who tries to publish new Conan works.

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When will Conan the Barbarian enter the public domain? (2)

However, there are copyright breaches...

For example, if a work is published in Europe, they can ignore US copyright laws, but they can't sell anything they make in the United States.

That means if someone wants to post something on Amazon Kindle or similar places, companies that own American copyrights can sue anyone who infringes their copyrights.

That is until January 1, 2028.

So a countdown is running. You can expect that on January 1, 2028 there will be many authors publishing new Conan books and short stories. Exactly 8 years from today.

However, there are other ways to write barbaric stories about Conan-like or nearly identical characters.

#1. Just don't use Conan's name.

I myself have several Conan-like characters, but each have their own name and personality and exist in a fictional world of my creation. So I own all copyrights to them.

(Video) “Civilization” Crushes Public Domain Conan Comics
  1. Wrathgar, son of Wulfric
  2. wulfric the wanderer

Of these two characters, the one who most resembles Conan the Barbarianwulfric the wanderer, which appears in the following book: "Black monoliths of Al-Kazar', but also in other booksWulfric the Wandering series🇧🇷 As his name suggests, he is a wanderer similar to the Man with No Name, who wanders from town to town correcting mistakes and adventuring while traveling as a wanderer. However, Wulfric is also a time traveler, and as such, he also travels to different time periods using time portals that allow him to travel to different points in history.

When will Conan the Barbarian enter the public domain? (3)

Wrathgar, son of WulfricMeanwhile, he is more of a character focused on archery and jungle. His stories focus more on the realistic use of lumberjack skills, hunting, tracking, and the stories that follow the barbarian's skills, which sometimes involve solving murder mysteries. Wrathgar is currently featured in several novels on Amazon, both paperback and eBook, and new Wrathgar books are released each year as part of theThe Adventures of Wrathgar book series.

So that's what I did to create unique and interesting characters (and other characters that don't fit into the Sword and Sorcery subgenre). But what else can people do?

#two. Change the name only slightly. for instance. "konan"

Personally, I think it's a lame idea, so I never went in that direction.

(Video) The Hyborian Age - an essay by Robert E. Howard on the Conan the Barbarian setting

Just calling the character Konan to me is a stupid idea. Or Conan. Or cones. Or whatever spelling you want to use.

It seems wrong to change his name like that.

Presumably, the writers would also have to change the world it's set in, since Conan the Barbarian's world is also copyrighted.

#3. Use the name Conan but your story is a parody

For example, Conan the Librarian. Parody.

Any time a character is used in a parody, copyright is disregarded as it makes fun of the original character. Since this is a parody, the character also changes a bit and becomes weird.

#4. Use the Conan name, but don't sell them for profit.

If the books or stories are free, people can read, share, etc. for free. For example, if someone writes a series of free books on the Internet, people can access the books for free. Theoretically, they could even have a Patreon account for donations from patrons that help the author write more stories but don't directly lead to the sale of the copyrighted character.

I thought about doing a Patreon and writing a web series, but I would do it with the characters I created myself. I wouldn't do this for Conan or any character about to go into the public domain. (I have a feeling there will be a flood of new Conan books in 2028. The market is likely to be flooded with Conan books published by a variety of authors.)

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No... I prefer to wait and maybe not even bother.

Wait 8 years and if you're still interested you could be publishing Conan stories like many other authors could be doing at the same time.

To be honest, I think it's better to focus on method 1: I write my own characters, set in my own world, and I own all copyrights. I may really like Conan as a character, but going my own way is really the best solution in my opinion.

All of REH's original Conan stories were published between 1932 and 1936. Less than five years. During this period he published 17 short stories, novellas, and short stories, and several more were published after his death.

I could spend the next 8 years and decades writing a multitude of Wulfric the Wanderer stories. If I get bored of the Sword & Sorcery subgenre (although I doubt I ever will), I can always switch to something else.

Hypothetically, I could spend my entire writing career solely writing Wulfric stories, writing and publishing a new work every month of the year. Maybe more. In a 40-year career, that would be 480 stories. Or more, depending on productivity.

I know I won't, but it's hypothetically possible.

And I know I won't because I have other writing projects I'm working on. Some of these are more Wulfric tales, but there are also Wrathgar novels, as well as other novels, novellas, and short stories that currently catch my eye.

As much as I love Conan, I have my plate full. I'm too busy writing all kinds of stories.

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And to my fellow writers who have a similar fondness for Conan, I urge you to do the same. Go your own way. Forge your own characters.


Is Conan the Barbarian in public domain? ›

The character of Conan has been in the public domain since the death of Robert E. Howard in 1936. This means that anyone can use the character in their own works without copyright restrictions.

Who owns the copyright to Conan the Barbarian? ›

Titan Comics has announced it has picked up the comics rights for Conan the Barbarian from its owners, the intellectual property company Heroic Signatures. Titan's Conan comics deal is scheduled to begin in May 2023, just as the five-year deal between Heroic Signatures and Marvel will come to an end.

Is Robert E. Howard in the public domain? ›

"Within the United Kingdom, as in many other countries, the works written by an author fall into the public domain 70 years after their death. Since Robert E. Howard died in 1937, all his original works, including those featuring Conan the Barbarian, will be in the public domain from 1st January 2007."

Can public domain be copyrighted? ›

An important wrinkle to understand about public domain material is that, while each work belongs to the public, collections of public domain works may be protected by copyright.

Is any Disney character public domain? ›

For those who are unaware, Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney's beloved character who started it all, will officially become public domain on January 1, 2024.

Is Conan open domain? ›

Conan the Barbarian first appeared in Weird Tales in 1932. At the time of that publication the copyright duration for works that complied with all of the requirements, could enjoy 95 years of copyright. So he becomes public domain in 2028.

Does Marvel still own Conan? ›

Dark Horse Comics published Conan from 2003 to 2018, when the rights were reacquired by Marvel Comics. Marvel published Conan comics until 2022, and Titan Comics took over the license from Heroic Signatures to begin publishing its own series. Cover to Conan the Savage #6 (Jan. 1996).

Will Mickey Mouse be public domain? ›

Mickey's Copyright Adventure: Early Disney Creation Will Soon Be Public Property. The version of the iconic character from “Steamboat Willie” will enter the public domain in 2024. But those trying to take advantage could end up in a legal mousetrap. As a subscriber, you have 10 gift articles to give each month.

Who owns the Conan rights? ›

Some of its most famous holdings are trademarks and certain rights related to Conan the Barbarian, a character created by pulp author Robert E. Howard and expanded upon by many other authors over the years. Cabinet owns these rights through Conan Properties International, a wholly owned subsidiary.

Does public domain still exist? ›

5 The 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act gave works published from 1923 through 1977 a 95-year term. They enter the public domain on January 1 after the conclusion of the 95th year, so as of 2022, works from 1926 and before are in the public domain.

What famous authors are public domain? ›

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll Free.
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle Free.
  • Romeo and Juliet William Shakespeare Free.
  • First Love Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev Free.
  • The Art of War Sun Tzu Free.
  • Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen Free.

Can copyright get you in jail? ›

For details, see Title 17, United States Code, Sections 504, 505. Willful copyright infringement can also result in criminal penalties, including imprisonment of up to five years and fines of up to $250,000 per offense.

Can you be sued for owning a domain? ›

If you take the domain name registrant to court and win, the court will order the domain name registrant to transfer the domain name to you and may award you money damages as well. A lawsuit is always an option, whether or not you pursue ICANN's dispute resolution process.

How long until Mickey Mouse is public domain? ›

Mickey Mouse Copyright Expires at the End of 2023. Mickey Mouse's copyright is set to expire at the end of 2023—nearly 95 years after his first iteration, named “Steamboat Willie,” was created on October 1, 1928. This means that he will enter the public domain.

Will Batman enter public domain? ›

Mickey Mouse will enter the public domain in 2024, Superman in 2034, and Batman in 2034.

Are Smurfs public domain? ›

These works or works by this artist may not be in the public domain, because the artist is still living or has not been dead for at least 70 years.
Belgian comic and television franchise
Upload media
Publication date23 October 1958
Different fromSmerfy
Said to be the same assmurf
11 more rows
Jun 12, 2022

Why is Disney losing Mickey Mouse? ›

The reason is the US copyright law, as per which the rights to a character expire after 95 years after publication for works published or registered before 1978. Thus, Disney, which is also called the House of Mouse due to the character, may lose the licence to Mickey Mouse in 2024.

What goes into public domain 2023? ›

Alongside the short-story collection The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes, books such as Virginia Woolf's To The Lighthouse, Ernest Hemingway's Men Without Women, William Faulkner's Mosquitoes and Agatha Christie's The Big Four — an Hercule Poirot mystery — will become public domain as the calendar turns to 2023.

What books became public domain in 2022? ›

Unlocked Classics: 2022 and the Public Domain
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, the Original Classic.
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway.
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie.
  • The Castle by Franz Kafka.
Jan 26, 2022

What entered the public domain in 2022? ›

Sound recordings published prior to 1923

Thanks to the Music Modernization Act of 2018, all sound recordings published before 1923 will enter the US public domain on January 1, 2022 (and each year between 2023 and 2046, recordings older than 100 years will continue to be added).

Why is Conan so strong? ›

Abilities. Wilderness Instinct: Having been raised as a barbarian, Conan had time from birth to nurture a survival instinct lost to most other humans. This very instinct had saved his life on many occasions, making him an even more formidable warrior.

Who is Conan in Avengers? ›

First Savage Avengers
CharacterReal NameJoined in
ElektraElektra NatchiosSavage Avengers Vol. 1 #1 (May 2019)
Conan the BarbarianConan
Doctor VoodooJericho Drumm
VenomEdward "Eddie" Brock
2 more rows

Is China banning Marvel? ›

Fortune reports that among the current list of banned superhero movies in China are "Spider-Man: No Way Home," "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," and "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings."

Is Tom and Jerry public domain? ›

Today, animation historians refer to the original Tom and Jerry characters as Van Beuren's Tom and Jerry. Today, all of these cartoons are in the public domain.

Is Popeye in the public domain? ›

On January 1, 2009, 70 years since the death of his creator, Segar's comic strips (though not the various films, TV shows, theme music and other media based on them) became public domain in most countries, but remain under copyright in the US.

Are any cartoons public domain? ›

You may have heard that A.A. Milne's book Winnie-the-Pooh entered the public domain in the U.S. on January 1, 2022, but Pooh is just the tip of the iceberg for cartoon fans. Animated films from 1926 are now available for anyone to post, sample, or remix as they see fit.

Why is Conan not on Marvel Unlimited? ›

It was confirmed with ComicBook.com that Marvel Comics no longer had the rights to Conan the Barbarian. For those worried Conan's comic book adventures are coming to an end, rights-holder Heroic Signatures stated they will continue publishing the hero next year, just not under Marvel.

Why did NBC remove Conan? ›

O'Brien does agree with NBC's comments that it was a business decision motivated by money and he acknowledges that Leno had the more expensive contract and would have been even harder to let go. "Some people have reported that NBC would have had to pay him $150 million," Kroft remarked. "Uh huh, yeah," O'Brien said.

How much did Conan get from NBC settlement? ›

Mr. O'Brien's settlement with NBC will pay him $32.5 million, essentially a buyout of the remaining two and a half years of his guaranteed contract.

Is public domain 100 years? ›

Generally, if something was published before 1923, it is in the public domain. If it was an unpublished work and the author died over 70 years ago, it is in the public domain. If was written by an anonymous author over 120 years ago, it is in the public domain.

What will become public domain in 2025? ›

Under the Copyright Term Extension Act, books published in 1929, films released in 1929, and other works published in 1929, will enter the public domain in 2025. Sound recordings that were published in 1924 will enter the public domain. Unpublished works whose authors died in 1954 will enter the public domain.

Why is Peter Pan not public domain? ›

Peter Pan in the United States

However, the play was not published until 1928 and thus remains under copyright today, creating a situation akin to Sherlock Holmes, where some of the stories about a character are public domain and some are copyright protected.

Is Harry Potter in the public domain? ›

Works that are not in the public domain are copyrighted works and are unfortunately not free for all to copy, share and build upon. For example, J. K. Rowling sold the film rights of some of her Harry Potter books to Warner Bros, who now owns the copyright in the Harry Potter films.

Is Great Gatsby public domain? ›

The Great Gatsby is Copyright Free.

What will be public domain soon? ›

Newly entering the public domain in 2022 will be: works by people who died in 1951, for countries with a copyright term of “life plus 70 years” (e.g. UK, Russia, most of EU and South America); works by people who died in 1971, for countries with a term of “life plus 50 years” (e.g. Canada, New Zealand, and most of ...

Which Conan stories are public domain? ›

Public Domain Appearances
  • The Phoenix on the Sword (1932)
  • The Pool of the Black One (1933)
  • Black Colossus (1933)
  • The Scarlet Citadel (1933)
  • The Tower of the Elephant (1933)
  • The Slithering Shadow (1933)
  • Rogues in the House (1934)
  • The Devil in Iron (1934)

Is Kurt Vonnegut public domain? ›

If a work is produced after 1978, it is subject to a “creator life+70 years” rule. The works of Kurt Vonnegut, who died in 2007, will come into the public domain in 2077.

Who has the comic rights to Conan? ›

Dark Horse Comics published Conan from 2003 to 2018, when the rights were reacquired by Marvel Comics. Marvel published Conan comics until 2022, and Titan Comics took over the license from Heroic Signatures to begin publishing its own series. Cover to Conan the Savage #6 (Jan.

Is Flash Gordon public domain? ›

Film serials

The first Flash Gordon serial remains copyrighted, but the compilation made of the second serial, and the third serial itself are in the public domain.

Are any books public domain? ›

Any book published prior to 1923 is available, as these works are automatically considered within the public domain. Further, about 90% of books published between 1923-1964 are also public domain because the copyright holders failed to extend their copyrights.

What race is Conan? ›

Conan is a Cimmerian. The writings of Robert E. Howard (particularly his essay "The Hyborian Age") suggests that his Cimmerians are based on the Celts or perhaps the historic Cimmerians. Conan was born on a battlefield and is the son of a village blacksmith.

What enters the public domain 2022? ›

In 2022, the public domain will welcome a lot of “firsts”: the first Winnie-the-Pooh book from A. A. Milne, the first published novels from Ernest Hemingway and William Faulkner, the first books of poems from Langston Hughes and Dorothy Parker.

How long until a patent becomes public domain? ›

A patent becomes public domain (free for use by the public) upon its expiration, which is defined as 20 years from the patent's earliest non-provisional filing date. MPEP §201.04. The 20-year patent term applies to utility and plant patents. MPEP § 2504.

Does Vonnegut believe in God? ›

Answer and Explanation: Kurt Vonnegut was a life-long atheist. Vonnegut's great-grandfather, Clemens Vonnegut, was a freethinker and a founder of the Freethinkers Society in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Does Vonnegut believe in free will? ›

Over and over again, Vonnegut proclaims that there is no such thing as free will. Humankind is the slave of predestination, meaning that all human actions are prescribed before they occur. A person who chooses to do something is not really choosing at all — the choice is already made.

Is George Orwell public domain? ›

George Orwell died of tuberculosis in London, on 21 January 1950, aged just 46. This month marks the 71st anniversary of Orwell's death. This anniversary is particularly noteworthy as it also marks the entry of Orwell's works (published pre- 1950) into the public domain.

Who is the god in Conan? ›

Crom is worshipped by the bulk of the Cimmerian people. Crom is a grim and gloomy god, ever watching from atop his mountain in dark clouds and obscuring mists, ready to pass a disapproving judgment on any and all, but he is said to approve of courage and tenacity, even if the human is too frail to succeed.

Is Conan an avenger? ›

Conan the Barbarian

Current member of the Savage Avengers.


1. All Gods in Conan Lore Part 1 Introduction and The Popular Gods
(Grim Dark (Half Off))
2. Dragons in Conan Lore (Study and Theory Crafting)
(Grim Dark (Half Off))
3. Conan The Barbarian | Canadians First Time Watching | Movie Reaction | Movie Commentary
(CineBinge React)
4. REH's Hyborian Age Essay
5. Conan the Barbarian: Battle of Shamla Pass - Fantasy Lore DOCUMENTARY
(Wizards and Warriors)
6. Conan: “Rogues in the House” by Robert E. Howard (audio novella)
(PulpHero Audio)


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