public domain

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Related to Public domain software: Open Source Software, Commercial software

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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

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.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
THE DISTURBING ASPECT OF THESE programs is that they can often be obtained through the same methods as public domain software - bulletin boards, data reproduction services, college computer science departments, and other users.
[For that reason], library use of file transfer has been restricted to obtaining copies of JANET guides, software from the Public Domain Software Archive, and the Internet library guide."
* Maintain a large source of licensed software to minimize the need for shareware or public domain software.
Public domain software, also known as shareware or freeware, should not be used unless obtained directly from the author for a fee.
Over the last year or so, a number of articles have been written in this journal about public domain software and shareware-what it is and why it may be of use.
There are three Wilsondiscs (Applied Science and Technology Index (ASTI), Business Periodicals Index (BP), and Library Literature), two Bowker CD-ROMs (Ulrich's Plus (UP) and Books in Print Plus (BIPP)), UMI's Dissertation Abstracts (DA), Cambridge Scientific's Acquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), Grolier's Electronic Encyclopedia, the McGraw-Hill Science and Technology Reference Library (STRL), the Oxford English Dictionary, PC-Sig (a public domain software collection), and LC's own CDMARC Subjects.

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