El public domain in intellectual property

From the standpoint of international law, the public domain is that? Set of works? Talent and other skills (works of art, music, science, inventions, etc..) On which no person or organization has a proprietary interest (typically a government-granted monopoly as the right of? copyright or patent). Such works and inventions are considered part of? Public cultural heritage, and anyone can use or modify without restriction (not taking into account laws concerning safety, export, etc…)

While the right of? Author was created to defend? Financial incentive to those who have a creative work, and as a means to encourage more creative work, work in the public domain exist as such, and the public has the right to use and re-creative work of others without having to pay a social or economic.

In the absence of some kind of guarantee of the right of monopoly, the so-called? Intellectual property?, All the works belong to the public domain. Where the rights? S copyrights or other protections come to an end, l? Work becomes public domain.

Absence of legal protection

The works? Talent are in the public domain when there is no law establishing property rights, or when? Object in question is specifically excluded from these rights by law. For example, most of the mathematical formulas is not subject to copyright? Copyrights or patents in the large majority of cases (although their application in the form of computer programs can be patented). Similarly, works that were created long before such laws were enacted, are part of the public domain, as the works of William Shakespeare and Ludwig van Beethoven, the inventions of Archimedes or the works of Alessandro Manzoni.



Many of copyright? Copyright and patents have a fixed maturity. When that date arrives, l? Work falls into the public domain. In most nations, the patent expires 20 years after it was deposited. A trademark shall expire immediately after becoming a generic term. The copyright? Author are much more complex, they usually expire in all countries, except Guatemala, Mexico, Samoa and Colombia, when all the following conditions are met:

  • L? Work was created and published for the first time before 1 January 1923, or at least 95 years before 1 January of? Current year, is the most recent date between the two.
  • L? Author ol? Last of the authors, is dead at least 70 years before 1 January of? Current year.
  • None of the signatories of the Berne Convention has passed a right? Perpetual copyright on? Work.
  • Neither the U.S. nor the European Union / l accepted? Term extension of the law? Author since these conditions have been updated. (This must be a condition for the exact numbers in the other conditions depend on the state of the law at any given moment.)

These conditions are based on? Intersection between the laws on copyright? Author of the United States and the European Union /, which are recognized by most of the other signatories of the Berne Convention. Note that the terms of the extension will not restore the American tradition? Work in the public domain (hence the date of 1923), while in the European tradition, this is because? Directive on? Harmonization of terms of protection of the right? Author? is based on the terms in force in Germany, which have already been extended to the life of? author plus 70 years.

Examples of inventions whose patents have expired include the inventions of Thomas Edison. Examples of works whose copyright? Author have expired include the works of Carlo Collodi and most of the works of Mark Twain.

Disclaimer of interest

An author or inventor can expressly disclaims any proprietary interest on? Work, assigning it to the public domain. Because the right of? Author applies automatically to all the works, l? Author must make an explicit declaration. D? The other hand, the details of a post? Invention before applying for the patent may ask the? Invention in the public domain. For example, once a newspaper published a mathematical formula, it can no longer be used as a basis for the claim of infringement of a patent software. Is there any? Exception to this (in the U.S., not in Europe): An inventor can apply for a patent? By up to one year after its publication (though not, of course, if someone else s? Was first published).


The laws make some types of work, or invention, ineligible for monopoly; such works immediately enter the public domain at the time of publication. For example, the U.S. law on the right of? Author releases all works created by the government in the public domain.


Note that there are many jobs that are not part of the public domain, but for which the owner has decided not to make full use of rights? Author, or guarantee of these rights to the public. In the case of software, this is called free software or open source software, such as that issued by the Free Software Foundation fully protected by copyright, but released to the public for most uses under a license of type? Copyleft ?, prohibiting only the proprietary redistribution. See also Wikipedia, which is more or less the same thing with its content under the GNU Free Documentation License. Similarly, there are licenses for other types of content, even in this case called free content or open content. Sometimes these works are wrongly reported as? Public domain? in colloquial language.

The role in society

L? Public access to literature, to? Art, music, movies, etc.. Is essential to preserve and advance our cultural heritage. Many important works have benefited from the creative potential of the public domain. The films of Frank Capra?’s A Wonderful Life? is a classic example of work that did not enjoy popular success until it entered the public domain. Other icons like Snow White, Pinocchio and Santa Claus have developed from figures in the public domain.