The public domain comprises the body of community resources, including knowledge and innovation, in which no person or other legal entity can establish or maintain permanent proprietary interests. This body of community resources includes creative works, such as writing, art, music, software, and other inventions, that are granted temporary proprietary interests or otherwise lapse into the public domain. The public domain also includes the physical domain, including land, oceans, and the atmosphere. This entry first examines the idea of the commons and how it applies to creative works and knowledge. The second half of this entry focuses specifically on public domain concerns on the Internet.

The Environmental Commons

One important element of the public domain is the idea of the “commons.” Specifically, there is an ideological tension ...

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