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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), )
public domain
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(PD) The total absence of copyright protection. If
something is "in the public domain" then anyone can copy it or
use it in any way they wish. The author has none of the
exclusive rights which apply to a copyright work.
The phrase "public domain" is often used incorrectly to refer
to freeware or shareware (software which is copyrighted
but is distributed without (advance) payment). Public domain
means no copyright -- no exclusive rights. In fact the phrase
"public domain" has no legal status at all in the UK.