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.

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 ?
I fear that some libraries, especially those without specialists on staff or adequate legal advice, may inhibit their usage of microfilmed public-domain materials based on this article and others like it.
Public-domain works are those that are not protected by copyright or patent laws.
Developed by NIST, f90gl is a public-domain implementation of the FORTRAN 90 bindings for OpenGL, which also were developed by NIST and adopted by the OpenGL Architecture Review Board.

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