public domain

noun

1
: land owned directly by the government
2
: the realm embracing property rights that belong to the community at large, are unprotected by copyright or patent, and are subject to appropriation by anyone

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web In March, 2022, after numerous hearings spread over five months, the magistrate issued an eighteen-page opinion, concluding that the story had not been in the public domain. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 31 Oct. 2022 This study, expected to last about nine months, will also be entirely unclassified and within the public domain. Katie Hunt, CNN, 24 Oct. 2022 The public domain, explained:How can Winnie the Pooh be made a killer in 'Blood and Honey'? Edward Segarra, USA TODAY, 16 Oct. 2022 At the same time, the credibility of the office was on the line because the amount of evidence in the public domain about the scale of abuses in Xinjiang is overwhelming. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2022 The public one usually reflects the information our clients want in the public domain. Helen Croydon, Forbes, 6 July 2022 But even if Disney’s copyright for Steamboat Willie expires, only the original design of Mickey Mouse will hit the public domain. Winston Cho, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 However, Farhadi’s attorney argued in his post that the prisoner’s 2012 story was already published in mass media and is in public domain ownership, so no one can claim exclusive ownership. Nardine Saadstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 Apr. 2022 Born in 1979 in Mexico City, Escobedo studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City before completing a master’s degree in art, design and the public domain at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. New York Times, 13 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'public domain.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of public domain was in 1819

Dictionary Entries Near public domain

Cite this Entry

“Public domain.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/public%20domain. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Legal Definition

public domain

noun

public do·​main
-dō-ˈmān
1
: land owned directly by the government
2
: the realm or status of property rights that belong to the community at large, are unprotected by copyright or patent, and are subject to appropriation by anyone

More from Merriam-Webster on public domain

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