public domain

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Related to Res communis: Res nullius

Public Domain

Land that is owned by the United States. In Copyright law, literary or creative works over which the creator no longer has an exclusive right to restrict, or receive a royalty for, their reproduction or use but which can be freely copied by the public.

Cross-references

Public Lands.

public domain

n. 1) in copyright law, the right of anyone to use literature, music or other previously copyrighted materials, after the copyright period has expired. Although the copyright laws have changed several times, a rule of thumb would be that the last possible date for copyright protection would be 50 years after the death of the author. Thus, the works of William Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Jack London, and other classic writers are in the public domain and may be published by anyone without payment of a royalty. 2) all lands and waters owned by federal, state and local governments. (See: copyright)

public domain

noun available for use by the public, creative work freely usable, dominion to use, free to all, freely used by the community, invention freely usable, logo freely usable, not private, open for the community, permitted, publicly accessible, publicly obtainable, publicly usable, unreserved, unrestricted, within the province of the public
Associated concepts: patents, promietary rights

public domain

1 (US) land owned by the government.
2 property rights not attached by anyone. In the UK so far as heritable or real property is concerned, almost anything that is not owned by someone is owned by the Crown or inherited by the Crown. The main practical use of the phrase in contemporary.