Public Domain

If a work is released to the public domain, is it FreeAsInBeer?

Not really. You can charge for Public Domain works, although of course you can't stop the purchaser from passing them on for free.

''E.g., Shakespeare is in the public domain. You can print an edition and charge for it. You could add your own additional dialogue and copyright that. Critical commentary on Shakespeare can be copyrighted.

For example: Public domain image. Great site with public domain images. All photos on this site are top quality high resolution public domain images. They are explicitly placed in the public domain. You can use them freely for personal and commercial use, without asking, you can use all these pictures whatever you like, in your commercial or non commercial projects. For example in your school projects, on the internet, in any documents, on television, movie, magazine, news papers, press, for ads, anything at all. All images (largest image archive, several thousand photos in high resolution, nicely organized hierarchically in folders, easy to browse) are public domain images.''

If a work is released to the public domain, is it FreeAsInSpeech?

Yes. You can do what you like with a public domain work, and can distribute your modified version. But you can't stop someone else from modifying their copy of the public domain work, and keeping their modifications secret.

More like FreeAsInFree?: you can do what you like, but you can't force others to do anything.

What is public domain, not copyrighted, no rights reserved work?

The opinion on the OSI license approval discussion list is that it's no longer possible to release your work to the public domain in the USA. Technically speaking, the copyright always stays with you even if you don't claim it anywhere.

Nevertheless, an announcement such as "I hereby donate this work to the public domain, and relinquish any rights I may have in it" seems to work in practice.

In that case, could one's heirs, for example, assert ownership over something that the author has released? In that case, a specific copyright statement or license might be required to assure that a work would never be subject to control. -- RobertField

I've set up a license Primarily Public Domain that I suggest for this Wiki and might work for stuff like the following. Andrius Kulikauskas

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