Public domain

The unofficial icon to represent things that are in the public domain.

Public domain is a phrase that describes something that belongs to all people in general: the public. The opposite of "public domain" is copyrighted material, which is owned either by the creator of the work or his estate. The term public domain is only used to describe things such as photographs, drawings, written articles, books or plays, or similar works of art. As a general rule, all intellectual works, after enough time has gone by, will become part of public domain. Actual examples include the works of Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare and Beethoven, the King James Bible, and the books of Isaac Newton.

A work can enter the public domain in many ways.

  • The copyright expires, many years after its creator dies.
  • The work's creator may legally give up all claims to the material.
  • The creator forgets to renew the work's copyright.
  • The work may have been created by agencies of certain governments, in which case it was in the public domain from the time of its creation.

In some cases, if a work enters the public domain after copyright expiration, anyone using the work may still be required to note who created the work. Even if some works are in the public domain due to not being copyrighted, there may be still non-copyright usage restrictions. For examples, even though the design of national currencies may be ineligible, or be unsuitable, for copyright, counterfeiting them for fraud is widely a very serious crime.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Publieke domein
Alemannisch: Gemeinfreiheit
العربية: ملكية عامة
asturianu: Dominiu públicu
azərbaycanca: İctimai mülkiyyət
беларуская: Грамадскі набытак
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Грамадзкі набытак
Boarisch: Gmoafreiheit
čeština: Volné dílo
Ελληνικά: Κοινό κτήμα
English: Public domain
Esperanto: Publika havaĵo
føroyskt: Almenn ogn
ગુજરાતી: પબ્લિક ડોમેન
Bahasa Indonesia: Domain publik
interlingua: Dominio public
Basa Jawa: Domain umum
Lëtzebuergesch: Domaine public
Limburgs: Publiek domein
magyar: Közkincs
македонски: Јавна сопственост
മലയാളം: പൊതുസഞ്ചയം
Bahasa Melayu: Domain awam
Nederlands: Publiek domein
Nedersaksies: Pebliek domein
norsk nynorsk: Offentleg eigedom
português: Domínio público
română: Domeniul public
slovenčina: Public domain
slovenščina: Javna last
српски / srpski: Јавно власништво
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Javno vlasništvo
svenska: Public domain
తెలుగు: Public domain
Türkçe: Kamu malı
удмурт: Мер ваньбур
Tiếng Việt: Phạm vi công cộng
Yorùbá: Ohun ìgboro
粵語: 公家領域
Zazaki: Malê şari
中文: 公有领域