Stories and Characters That Have Had Their Copyright Expire

Here is a small sample of some public domain works. The original stories and characters from the books and novels listed below have had their copyright expire in the United States. Please be aware that only the original has expired; derivative stories or characters may have been copyrighted or trademarked later by others. For example, the original Peter Pan from the first edition by Barrie is copyright free; the Disney version is not, nor is the version that graces peanut butter jars. While copyrights expire, trademarked characters can be protected in perpetuity, affecting how you can legally use them.  Some of the characters listed below may be trademarked.  It is advisable to consult an attorney regarding intellectual property issues. For more information on trademarks and the four layers of ownership present in images, see How to Use Images Legally.

Images and Text Are Available

For many of these stories, copyright free illustrations of the characters, or a copy of the text can be purchased. To find out many methods to acquire these stories or images by doing the work yourself see How to Find Free & Low-Cost Images on Almost Any Subject.

A Brief List

  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Heidi by Johanna Spry
  • Kidnaped by Robert Louis Stevensen
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevensen (Long John Silver the Pirate)
  • Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (Gulliver, the little people)
  • The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum (Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, The Wizard)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Twenty-Thousand Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne (Capt. Nemo, The Squid)
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggins
  • Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving
  • King Arthur by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (Mowgli, the Wolves)
  • Little Women by Alcott
  • Fables by Aesop (Tortoise, Hare)
  • Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson (Little Match Girl, Hansel and Gretel)
  • Peter Pan by Barrie (Wendy, Tinker Bell, Peter Pan)
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol (The Red Queen, The March Hare, The Mad Hatter)
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel DaFoe
  • Fairy Tales by Grimm (Little Red Riding Hood, Puss in Boots)
  • Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates by Dodge
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (Scrooge, Tiny Tim)
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London (Buck the Sled Dog)
  • Black Beauty by Sewell
  • The Adventures of Don Quixote by Cerevantes
  • Pinocchio by Collodi
  • Two Years before the Mast by Dana
  • The Three Musketeers by Dumas
  • Uncle Remus: His Songs and Sayings by Harris (Braer Fox, Braer Rabbit)
  • The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Lofting
  • Moby Dick by Melville (The Whale)
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Potter (Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail)
  • Cinderella
  • Robin Hood (Friar Tuck, Little John, Sherif, King)
  • Arabian Nights
  • The Bible
  • Twas The Night Before Christmas
  • Snow White
  • The Frog Prince
  • Greek Myths