public domain

(redirected from Res communis)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Legal, Financial.
Related to Res communis: Res nullius

public domain,

in law, legal availability for public use, free of charge, of materials, processes, devices, skills, and plans that are not protected by copyright or patent, including those on which copyright or patent has lapsed. Historically in the United States, the term has been important in reference to public landpublic land,
in U.S. history, land owned by the federal government but not reserved for any special purpose, e.g., for a park or a military reservation. Public land is also called land in the public domain.
..... Click the link for more information.
 under the administration of national or local authorities.

public domain

(PD) The total absence of copyright protection. If something is "in the public domain" then anyone can copy it or use it in any way they wish. The author has none of the exclusive rights which apply to a copyright work.

The phrase "public domain" is often used incorrectly to refer to freeware or shareware (software which is copyrighted but is distributed without (advance) payment). Public domain means no copyright -- no exclusive rights. In fact the phrase "public domain" has no legal status at all in the UK.

See also archive site, careware, charityware, copyleft, crippleware, guiltware, postcardware and -ware. Compare payware.

public domain

The jurisdiction of the general public. It refers to intellectual property that has either been voluntarily placed in the public domain by its author or that has passed its copyright, trademark or patent expiration date. However, rights in one country do not necessarily apply to another. International property rights is a complicated subject, as each country has its own statutes.

Certain property is automatically in the public domain, such as non-classified publications of the U.S government. This is not the case in Canada and other countries, although certain material is made publicly available. See public domain software, copyright and trademarks.