public domain

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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.


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 main categories of the material public domain were already well known to Roman law, which catalogued res nullius and res communes among the nonexclusive forms of property.
Hardin's tragedy of the commons only potentially applies here to the material public domain. Immaterial forms of common property cannot be degraded by overuse, and my two other forms of material common property both feature owners who can act to conserve the resource if necessary (as does collective property).
Immaterial Public Domain: Beyond Intellectual Property Rights
Situated public domains engage in partial theorizing, which can avoid the traps of universalizing logics.
A conceptual understanding and theorizing of situated public domains engenders these more socially just ways of policymaking.
This Article promotes a conceptual analytic for examining the public domain. If we are to take seriously the need expressed by James Boyle for a "legal realism of the public domain," then it is crucial to set forth a foundational ethic for studying public domains as situated.
Justice Stevens, dissenting in Eldred, relied on the Supreme Court's decisions in Graham, Sears, and Bonito Boats to underscore the importance of the public domain while arguing that Congress could not extend the copyright term retroactively.
The Eldred majority paid no heed to the statements made in Graham which indicated that Congress could not remove existent knowledge from the public domain or restrict free access to materials already publicly available.
So what are the metes and bounds of the public domain recognized by the Supreme Court?
Six public domains focus on freedoms to use information resources even when works embodying these resources are protected by intellectual property rights.
Their public domains (PD 7 and 8) would, respectively, grant artists a status presumptively entitling them to appropriate from others' works and provide a cultural landscape from which creators would be free to draw whatever inspired them to engage in artistic self-expression.
Several lessons emerge from clustering these public domains. First, although the legal status of information resources and public accessibility are, in a sense, orthogonal dimensions, the most robust public domains are those which are free (or relatively so) of IP encumbrances while at the same time being broadly accessible to members of the public.

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