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Materials protected by copyright may only be used by their creators or rightsholders; anyone else wishing to use them must get permission.

Materials in the public domain are available for free use for everyone.

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12y ago
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15y ago

* Copywriting, the process of writing the words that promote a person, business, opinion, or idea * Copywrite, an underground hip-hop artist from Columbus, Ohio * CopyWrite, a program for backup of copy protected software by Quaid Software * CopyWrite, a software application by Bartas Technologies * Copywrite, a popular intellectual property law blog (blawg), consisting mainly of writings on copyright law and policy, and located at copywrite.org Copyright- the exclusive right to make copies, license, and otherwise exploit a literary, musical, or artistic work, whether printed, audio, video, etc.: works granted such right by law on or after January 1, 1978, are protected for the lifetime of the author or creator and for a period of 50 years after his or her death.

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13y ago

If something is in the public domain, that means copyright protection was not available (e.g., it was a work of the US Government), the term of protection has expired (e.g., it was published before 1923), or the rightsholder has assigned the work to the public domain. Works in the public domain are not protected by copyright.

Software can be protected by copyright law and patent law. Protected materials cannot be copied, altered, or distributed without permission of the copyright holder.

Some software is protected by what is colloquially known as "copyleft". In this case, the author claims copyright on the work, and then explicitly grants the right to copy, alter, and distribute the work under certain conditions. Legally this is distinct from simply releasing the work into the public domain because the copyright holder does retain the right to prevent the work from being distributed when the specified conditions are not met.

Legally-inclined geeks have had flame wars about exactly how specific "copyleft" licenses differ from each other and from public domain and about which particular version is the "right" one to use in any given case. If you want details about how a particular variant differs from public domain, you'll need to be more specific about what license you're talking about (or just search the archives of, say, the debian-legal mailing list, where you'll get more opinions than you probably want).

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13y ago

They are extremely different: Creative Commons is much more similar to a license you might receive from a copyright holder than it is to copyright law itself.

Basically, copyright law gives the creator of a work the exclusive right to copy, alter, distribute, or perform/display the work, or authorize others to do so.

A Creative Commons license is that authorization. Rather than answering a thousand requests for "can I use this photo you've posted on Flickr for my PowerPoint presentation," "can I use this photo you've posted on Flickr in a YouTube slideshow with my original music," "can I use this photo you've posted on Flickr in a calendar we're selling to raise money for a literacy program" and so on, the creator says up front, "hey, everybody, you can use this photo I've posted on Flickr under these circumstances: you say it's mine, and you don't charge for it. Anything else, you need to ask me first."

Creative Commons piggybacks on copyright law; it couldn't exist without it.

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11y ago

Public domain means there IS no copyright. This only occurs in one of four ways:

1. The work had a copyright that expired and cannot be renewed.

2. The work was never properly copyrighted when it was published prior to 1989 in the USA by a US author.

3. It was created by the US government.

4. It is not copyrightable material (e.g., lists of facts, discoveries, ideas).

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12y ago

The copyright date is when the work was fixed in a tangible medium. The publication date is when it was made available to the public.

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Q: How is public domain different from copyright?
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Related questions

What is an item out of copyright called?

Works no longer protected by copyright are said to be in the public domain.


How do you enter private domain to public domain?

Pubic domain occurs naturally when a copyright expires. In theory, a copyright owner can intentionally disclaim any power to enforce a copyright, making it as if it were "public domain".


Who copyright the copyright mark?

Nobody. It's public domain.


Where do copyrights go after they expire public domain?

When a copyright expires, the work enters the public domain. In the public domain, the work is no longer protected by copyright law, and anyone is free to use, reproduce, or modify it without permission or payment.


Is francis Scott key's the star spangled banner public domain or copyright?

It is Public Domain.


Is sword in the stone public domain?

Regarding the 1938 novel by T.H. White: If copyright was renewed, it will enter the public domain in 2033. If copyright was not renewed, it is currently in the public domain. Regarding the 1963 Disney film: No.


If material is in the public domain do you need permission from the copyright owner to use it?

No. Public domain means that the material is available for use by anyone, without copyright restriction.


Is Disney's 'Finding Nemo' public domain or copyright?

It would have a copyright. The story and cartoon is new and wouldn't be in the public domain yet.


Is ride of the valkyries copyrighted or public domain?

This music in in the public domain. Nothing from 1876 is still in copyright.


How does public domain apply to copyrights?

Public domain means not covered by a valid copyright, anyone can use such material anyway they want. If a copyright expires or becomes invalid for some reason the work enters the public domain.


Is the song Silver Bells public domain?

No it is not. It was copyrighted 1951. Any song with a copyright after 1922 is not in the public domain.


What is the status of an item out of copyright?

After copyright term has expired, materials enter the public domain.