public domain


noun Law.

the status of a literary work or an invention whose copyright or patent has expired or that never had such protection.
land owned by the government.

Origin of public domain

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35
Related formspub·lic-do·main, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for public domain

public domain


noun

US lands owned by a state or by the federal government
the status of a published work or invention upon which the copyright or patent has expired or which has not been patented or subject to copyright. It may thus be freely used by the public
in the public domain able to be discussed and examined freely by the general public
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012