public domain

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Related to Res communis: Res nullius

Public Domain

The arena of any work that may not be owned by any individual. Any person may distribute or profit from a work in the public domain. For example, because William Shakespeare has been dead for several centuries, anyone may publish and sell copies of his plays without permission from anyone. How long it takes for a work to enter the public domain depends on the laws in force in the jurisdiction where the work originated.

public domain

(1) Land belonging to the government and not reserved for a specific use. (2) Things belonging to all persons to share, use, and enjoy, such as music and literature for which the copyrights have expired or ideas that are freely exchanged in the public domain.