Public Domain refers to works that are either not copyrighted ineligible for copyright protection or with expired copyrights. Public domain refers to the total absence of copyright protection for work. The public domain is a range of abstract materials commonly referred to as intellectual property which are not owned or controlled by anyone. The term indicates that these materials are therefore "public property", and available for anyone to use for any purpose.
No permission whatsoever is needed to copy or use public domain works. Public domain material is available for anyone to use for any purpose, private and commercial. Public domain works can serve as the foundation for new creative works. Public domain works can also be copied and distributed without any permission or paying royalties.
(information from Public Domain )
Easy Public Domain
Anything created before 1923.
Anything created by the US federal government.
Anything a creator has placed in the public domain - giving up all rights to the work.
Trickier Public Domain
Published from 1923 - 1963 : 28 years from date of creation + could be renewed for 47 years, now extended by 20 years for a total renewal of 67 years. If not so renewed, now in public domain
Published from 1964 - 1977 : 28 years from creation for first term; now automatic extension of 67 years for second term
Created 1/1/78 or after : Life of creator + 70 years (or if work of corporate authorship (ie Pixar, Disney), the shorter of 95 years from publication, or 120 years from creation
Created before 1/1/78 but published between then and 12-31-2002 : Life + 70 years or 12/31/2047 whichever is longer.
However, any variation on any public domain work becomes the property of the person making the variation, and it receives an automatic copyright, just as do completely original works.
(information from Public Domain )
Useful links to determine public domain
Public Domain Slider - answer the questions and see if it is Public Domain
Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States 1 January 2011.Clearly outlines what is in the public domain and what is not globally. Published by Cornell University.
Copyright and Fair Use : Public Domain
Easy to understand explanations of possibilities.
Examples of public domain
* The Bible, Mozart scores: created before copyright laws
* Moby Dick, Pride & Prejudice : copyright protection has expired
* A work published before 1989 that did not carry a copyright notice - protection was lost
* Ideas, facts, and common property / knowledge - calendars, phone books
* Federal laws and court decisions
* Words, names, slogans and phrases
* Most blank forms
* Recipes, discoveries, procedures, and systems (but not the words that describe them.)
* Titles of books or movies
Information from Online Library Learning Centre
There are no sound recordings in the public domain in the USA.
Public Domain Resources
Explore 53,091,991 artworks, artefacts, books, videos and sounds from across Europe.
Project Gutenberg - PD books due to expiration of copyright.
Public Domain torrents - Movies PD due to expiration of copyright
Public Domain Photos - copyright relinquished
National education network - UK, collaborative project
Pandia Search Engine news : 10 ways to find free images
Libri Vox Audio recordings of books that have expired copyright, relinquish of rights by
Public Domain4U Music recordings - copyright expired or relinquished
Free PD music
Public Domain Sherpa - recordings, sounds, books, music.
Books to support your learning
The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More By Stephen Fishman J.D