1/12/17 What does ‘public domain’ mean?
A work in the public domain is one for which no person or group of persons or entities owns any exclusive rights. A public domain work can be freely published, copied, adapted, or otherwise used by anyone. Public domain material may stand by itself, such as the Bible, a set of tax instructions prepared by the IRS, a work that was published more than ninety-five years ago, or one for which the copyright was lost and cannot be restored. Public domain material may also lurk within an otherwise protected work. A facsimile illustration of a Form 1040 within a tax treatise for accountants, a quotation from William Shakespeare, objective facts, and an idea or concept all remain in the public domain, even when included in a work under copyright protection.