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 ?
Patricia Samuelson, for example, sees Creative Commons Licenses and General Public Licenses as examples of a "Contractually Constructed Information Commons," and categorizes them as belonging within the public domain. (120) She does this even while she acknowledges that these licenses are based upon the private intellectual property rights of the owner who constructs the information commons.
Earlier we saw that Patricia Samuelson wrongly subsumed a privately created commons within the public domain, and similarly others wrongly subsume public property within the public domain.
righted works frequently rely on some form of valuable public domain
input (think of Disney's use of public domain stories and
To take advantage of all that digitization has to offer, whether it is still under copyright or lives in the public domain, it must be combined with the power of global distribution networks that deliver information instantaneously around the world.
That will be the determining factor in assessing whether the character is in the public domain or not." However, she says if the copyright on the initial work has expired and the character appears in a later work expressed in new and different ways, those traits may be subject to protection.
However, we must ensure that the public domain remains open.
Public domain and copyrighted music scores are widely available online, both legally and illegally.
20th Century Fox Film Corp., rejected the studio's claims that a video firm which repackaged a World War II documentary series that had fallen into the public domain violated the Lanham Act--the principal federal statute that spells out what constitutes trademark infringement--even though the video company passed off the project as its own.
Processes for establishing the common law public domain and public processes
Even if the 1994 law were consistent with Congress' copyright power, it violated the First Amendment, Golan argued, by removing works from the public domain. But Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the six-justice majority, rejected both arguments.