January 1 is public domain day, where in many parts of the world, some old works become free of copyright restrictions. In the U.S. no works will become so free due to the passing of time until 2019 — assuming the duration of copyright restriction is not again retroactively extended before then.
Fortunately you can add your contemporary works to the public domain right now, using the CC0 Public Domain Dedication. I try to put all of my “creations” into the public domain. See the footer of this post’s original location for a deployment example.
For software, using the Unlicense may be more familiar: copy the unlicense text into a file called COPYING, LICENSE, or UNLICENSE in your source tree — see the site.
One nice thing about well-crafted public domain dedications is that there ought be no interoperability problems among them, so there can be innovation (branding, legal language, community, supporting infrastructure) that would be harmful among more restrictive instruments. That’s not to say public domain instrument proliferation ought be encouraged willy-nilly — the instruments have to be well-crafted and users shouldn’t have to evaluate an infinite variety of them.
None of this is to deny that every single day ought see massive growth of the public domain — it should be the default — nor that copyleft licenses are useful tools for getting there in the long term and mitigating some damage in the short term. Eventually I will speculate on the tradeoffs between using public domain dedications and copyleft licenses for contemporary works, but for now, today is public domain day!
Addendum: I further recommend Lucas Gonze’s recent post Why I put my work into the public domain.
Another: See Arto Bendiken’s The Unlicense: The First Year in Review.