public domain

See more synonyms for public domain on
noun Law.
  1. the status of a literary work or an invention whose copyright or patent has expired or that never had such protection.
  2. land owned by the government.

Origin of public domain

An Americanism dating back to 1825–35
Related formspub·lic-do·main, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for public domain

public domain

  1. US lands owned by a state or by the federal government
  2. 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
  3. 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