The Public Domain
Work falls in the public domain when it is not protected by intellectual property laws. There are different types of laws used to protect property. For instance, work can be protected using copyright. Copyright is a set of rights that are given to an author of an original work. The rights include right to copy their work and also right to distribute his or her work. Another right given to the author is the right to adapt the work. Copyright does not protect someone ideas, but it protects the expression of the ideas and their fixation. This gives the author permission to protect his or her work from exploitation.
In addition, one can protect property using trademark and patent laws. A trademark is a unique sign used by businesses, people to identify their products and services. Trademark helps people distinguish their work from other peoples work. A patent is a set of rights given to an inventor by a state for a given time. This allows the inventor to disclose his or her work publicly. Work that is not protected by the laws above is considered to be in the public domain as people can use it freely. People can use books, songs and other work that is not protected by the laws (Fairuse.stanford.edu, 2007.
Most works entered the public domain because they were published before 1923 and others were published in 1964, but the copyright was not renewed. Others were published without any copyright. Some authors have given their work without any copyright restrictions. The work in the public domain is free and any one can use it without permission. People are only allowed to use limited parts of work without getting any permission. For example, one can copy someone’s work to use in a play or news. One can adapt someone’s work to play music and write a book (Fairuse.stanford.edu, 2007).
Fairuse.stanford.edu.(2007).CHAPTER 8. The Public Domain. Retrieved from http://fairuse.stanford.edu/Copyright_and_Fair_Use_Overview/chapter8/index.html On 6/09/2010.