public domain

noun

Definition of public domain

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

Examples of public domain in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Other opponents of the Academy’s plan argued that the western public domain embraced much fine agricultural land. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Immediately after the law came into force, a digital publisher of public domain works, Eric Eldred, filed a lawsuit challenging the act. Lawrence Lessig, WIRED, "Congress' Latest Move to Extend Copyright Protection Is Misguided," 18 May 2018 Then, the Photo Sleuth cross-references the photos with its own database: 15,000 identified Civil War soldier portraits from the public domain, relying on entities such as the U.S. Military History Institute. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "AI Could Help You Identify Civil War Vets in Your Family Tree," 4 Mar. 2019 Bach died in 1750, so the music is obviously in the public domain. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Sorry, Sony Music, you don’t own the rights to Bach’s music on Facebook," 14 Sep. 2018 The reading material ranges from pieces by ancient Greek poets to longer essays by James Baldwin and other modern writers, which all are part of the public domain and accessed courtesy of Project Gutenberg. Asher Fogle, Good Housekeeping, "This Site Wants to Help You Pick the "Perfect" Potty Reading," 4 Sep. 2015 Ford testified that a very limited of number people had access to her letter, yet that letter found its way into the public domain. Stavros Agorakis, Vox, "Read the full transcript of Sen. Collins’s speech announcing she’ll vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh," 5 Oct. 2018 That will mean effectively shortening the term of protection of older music published between 1923 and 1954—under current law, these songs may not fall into the public domain until 2067. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Senate passes copyright bill to end 140-year protection for old songs," 19 Sep. 2018 But a screw-up that caused the landmark film to enter the public domain has provided some room for other authors to put their own spin on the undead hungering for human flesh. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "AMC's 'Fear the Walking Dead' Is Target of Copyright Lawsuit," 27 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of public domain

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

25 Apr 2019

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The first known use of public domain was in 1819

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More Definitions for public domain

public domain

noun
public do·​main | \ -dō-ˈmān\

Legal Definition of public domain

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with public domain

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about public domain

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