The public domain encompasses the intellectual heritage that is free from all exclusivity in its access and use. [ 1 ] It includes elements that have no restrictions on copyright established and works literary , artistic or scientific (including applications ) in which expired the term of protection of the copyright. Each national legislation contemplates a term of years counted from the death of the author, so that these rights expire. As they are excluded from copyright protection, elements such as ideas, procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts are part of the public domain. The software in the public domain is one that does not have copyright.
Under the Berne Convention , which most countries have signed, all intellectual works remain under the domain of copyright, including computer programs. Works subject to copyright pass into the public domain 50 years after the author's death. The deadline for the entry of works into the public domain is calculated from January 1 of the year following the death of the author, [ 2 ] which has led to the Public Domain Day being celebrated on that date . [ 3 ]The Berne Convention recognizes the right of the signatory countries to extend the term of protection. For this reason, several countries have established longer terms, which reach 70, 80 or 100 years from the death of the author. [ 4 ]
In Spain, for example, with the approval of the current law of 1987, after 70 years after the author's death, his works pass into the public domain, [ 5 ] while in the case of authors who died before December 7, 1987, are governed by the previous law that protected copyright for up to 80 years after death. [ 6 ] In the United States on January 1, 2019, after more than 20 years of waiting, a large batch of works first published in 1923 entered the public domain (the last batch release into the public domain in 1923). country occurred in 1998, when Google did not exist). [ 7 ]
The signatory countries of the Agreement on Aspects of Intellectual Property applied to Trade (TRIPS or TRIPS, for its acronym in English), one of the agreements of the World Trade Organization , commit to a minimum of 50 years after the death of the author. The copyright owner can always apply to his work the type of license he decides without losing the recognition of authorship or paternity. There are restrictive and permissive licenses (like GNU GPL ).
Public domain, in this case, implies that the works can be exploited by anyone, but always respecting the moral rights of their authors (basically paternity), since what actually expires are the copyright of a patrimonial nature, and often abbreviated as PD (of the English , public domain ).
A work in the public domain allows the free use of its contents, it can be copied and distributed without violating any right, that is, what is released is the work and not the edition, that is, its full accessibility.
Distinction between free use and access
It is considered that the use of public domain material is free of any exclusivity, no one can control or prevent its reproduction, its free use is guaranteed, with the possibility of intellectual enjoyment of the content of works, depending on some factors.
One of the factors is the limited access to the works, its scope is imposed by the intellectual property law, which enables and regulates the distribution of the copies that are in circulation, that is, works in the public domain are not always exempt. of payment, what is expected is a low cost in the market to encourage public access.
Another factor is the efficiency of access to the works, it occurs when they are not disclosed, in some cases they are not original enough, they are anonymous and the public, not having access, can be forgotten.
For this, the public domain must promote the initiative to access, guarantee the free and collective use of cultural and artistic resources in libraries and other organizations, to enhance access to content. [ 8 ]
There are works whose authors or heirs are unknown or cannot be located. Therefore, there is no way to contact the owners to request the permission of use. Such works, for which the copyright status cannot be determined, are called " orphan works " . In countries where there are protocols for the declaration of orphan works, this declaration usually includes the requirement of an exhaustive search, and, once a work is declared orphan, its use becomes permitted. [ 9 ]
Books in the public domain
Public domain literature is all written work that has been published since the beginning of the first written works or proto-writing , which were freely written and include all recent works published under the public domain.
Music in the public domain
Although music did not have records like the ones we know today more than four millennia ago, two thousand five hundred years ago, during the rule of the Zhou Dynasty , numerous instruments were created, in addition to continuing to use the Bianzhong . Instruments of the time with instructions on tunings, scales and transpositions were found in the tomb of Marquis Yi de Zeng . It is the first known musical notation system that allowed not only to be able to interpret music at the moment but also to be written and faithfully reinterpreted thanks to these written notations. From that date until the beginning of the 20th century, music is considered to be in the public domain.
1500 years ago, Guqin notations began to be used, in which tablature and finger positions are detailed to play the instrument. Later the notations Gongche and Jianpu are created. In the 11th century d. C., Guido de Arezzo introduced the music theory and Latin musical notation. All of this laid the foundation for the preservation of music on a global level, which has been in the public domain from the beginning of musical history to the present day.
The Musopen project has been dedicated to recording this music whose records are in the public domain using musical instruments and sound capture equipment. In this way, not only are musical writings available to the general public but can also be viewed in their audible form, both in low-quality and lossy formats - such as ".ogg" files (which were very useful during the beginnings of internet and the first players of digital music ) - and formats without loss , as the Flac -. The archive.org contains the entire collection of classical music recorded by the Museopen project.
Movies in the public domain
Movies in the public domain are all those that have always belonged to the public domain or those in which their copyright has expired. Today there are thousands of movies in the public domain representing more than 60,000 hours of cinematography.
These include hundreds of classic or cult films that can be viewed online or freely downloaded from sites like the Internet Archive . [ 10 ] They can also be downloaded or shared from sites like Public Domain Torrents . [ 11 ] Here are some of them:
Public domain software
In some cases, the authors of a software decide to publish it as in the public domain. This means that anyone can get the fonts, modify it, and even publish their modifications under a different license. Such is the case of the relational database manager SQLite , widely used especially on mobile devices. [ 12 ]
Free software should not be confused with public domain software , since free software is subject to a license that, although it may grant the user a right of free use, its use is limited to what is established in the license, which may restrict its use. use or distribution to certain requirements, while in the case of software in the public domain, anyone has the right to copy, distribute or use the software as they want without being subject to any license.
Access to works under public domain
In 1971 Michael Hart launched Project Gutenberg to digitize and preserve all books that belong to the public domain. Initially it worked on Arpanet and later on the internet . In 1996 Brewster Kahle launched the Internet Archive to preserve books, music and movies, and even websites. In 2001 Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger launched Wikipedia and in 2003 they launched Wikisource . In 2005 Hugh McGuire started the LibriVox project , a site for creating and sharing audiobooks.
There are many countries and even continents that have taken steps to allow access to science and culture. One of them is the European Union , which in 2008 launched the Europeana online library , which has millions of books, photographs, audios, songs and films.
- Dusollier, Séverine (2010). Exploratory study on copyright and related rights, and the public domain . WIPO . Retrieved September 20, 2016 .
- Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP. "Berne Convention Basics" . Retrieved January 7, 2018 .
- "Public Domain Day 2015 - Public Domain" . domainpublico.uy . Retrieved January 7, 2018 .
- "Public domain" . Retrieved August 16, 2014 .
- "The public domain and the limits of copyright." . Retrieved August 16, 2014 .
- «Notes on the public domain in Spain» . March 18, 2015.
- Fleishman, Glenn (December 19, 2018). ["For the First Time in More Than 20 Years, Copyrighted Works Will Enter the Public Domain"] incorrect ( help ) (html) . Smithsonian Institution (in English) . Archived from the original on December 19, 2018 . Accessed December 19, 2018
|url=. «We can blame Mickey Mouse for the long wait. In 1998, Disney was one of the loudest in a choir of corporate voices advocating for longer copyright protections. At the time, all works published before January 1, 1978, were entitled to copyright protection for 75 years; all author’s works published on or after that date were under copyright for the lifetime of the creator, plus 50 years. Steamboat Willie, featuring Mickey Mouse’s first appearance on screen, in 1928, was set to enter the public domain in 2004. At the urging of Disney and others, Congress passed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, named for the late singer, songwriter and California representative, adding 20 years to the copyright term. Mickey would be protected until 2024—and no copyrighted work would enter the public domain again until 2019, creating a bizarre 20-year hiatus between the release of works from 1922 and those from 1923.»
- «Exploratory study on copyright and related rights and the public domain» .
- "Public domain and orphan works" . Retrieved August 16, 2014 .
- SQLite Copyright Accessed October 16, 2015.