public domain

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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.
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 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.
References in periodicals archive ?
It enables a similar theorizing of egalitarian public domains, which can bring attention to relations of power and inequitable access to (or protection of) public domain materials.
Moving towards more robust egalitarian public domains requires examining gendered social relations in a more complex, intersectional manner.
Scholarship in this area suggests the need for a more robust concept of situated public domains that would embrace each of these values as necessary for understanding particular patent law struggles.
WHY SO MANY PUBLIC DOMAINS AND WHAT DO THEY HAVE IN COMMON?
162) Four is a relatively manageable number of public domains to keep straight.
For instance, Professors Zimmerman and Birnhack aspire to construct a constitutional fence around their public domains that Congress and courts cannot breach.
Where Jessica Litman (12) later wrote directly about the relationship between creativity and the public domain, for example, my own concerns for that relationship I left mainly to others to express, in quoted passages dispersed among a number of other issues I decided to address as part of my strategy for encouraging the wider recognition of the public domain I sought.
Not that I had neglected these questions altogether: the twentieth footnote to Recognizing the Public Domain reveals how quickly I succumbed to an examination of the public domain considerably less sanguine than I initially had in mind.
Essentially this: that an adequate comprehension of the public domain might actually have to begin with a considerably more radical and dramatic reimagining of intellectual property than I professed to see as necessary earlier in the essay, a reimagining that would marry concepts in unfair competition after Sears (17) and Compco (18) with intimate moral fights, so as ultimately to make room for the sanctuary I had initially envisioned.
I will now argue for the recognition of three types of common property: a privately created commons, public property, and the public domain.
The reason why open source software is not simply donated to the public domain by the creators is that it would then be possible for someone else subsequently to take it out of the public domain by claiming intellectual property rights in it.
t]hough journalists frequently and mistakenly claim otherwise, neither "free software," nor most "open-source software" is in the public domain.

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