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Public Domain

Works in the public domain are those whose intellectual property rights have expired, have been forfeited, or are inapplicable. For example, the works of Shakespeare and Beethoven, most of the early silent films, the formulae of Newtonian physics, the Serpent encryption algorithm and powered flight are all now in the public domain.

The term is not normally applied to situations where the creator of a work retains residual rights, in which case use of the work is referred to as "under license" or "with permission".

As rights are country-based and vary, a work may be subject to rights in one country and be in the public domain in another. Some rights depend on registrations on a country-by-country basis, and the absence of registration in a particular country, if required, creates public domain status for a work in that country.

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review

The Public Domain Review is an online journal, a project of the Open Knowledge Foundation, showcasing works which have entered the public domain. It was co-founded by Jonathan Gray and Adam Green. It was launched on January 1, 2011 to coincide with Public Domain Day.

The Review aims to raise awareness of the public domain by promoting public domain works from across the web, including from Europeana, the Internet Archive, and Wikimedia Commons. As well as curated collections of public domain images, texts, and films, it features longer essays from contemporary writers, scholars, and public intellectuals.

The Guardian reviewed it as "magnificent ... a model of digital curation", an interview in Vice labelled it "beautifully curated", and The A.V. Club described it as "endlessly and deeply absorbing".

It regularly contributes collections to The New Inquiry, and collections are frequently highlighted by diverse publications including The Huffington Post, The Paris Review, and The New York Times. Contributors of articles have included Julian Barnes, Frank Delaney, Jack Zipes, Richard Hamblyn, Philipp Blom, and Arika Okrent. In addition to the thematic essays, a monthly "Curator's Choice" series highlights professional curators' essays about material from their cultural institutions.

The Review published its first print anthology in late 2014, a collection of 34 essays published online during 2011-13. It was reviewed as "an incredible collection of esoterica" by The Paris Review, and featured as one of Wired's best science books of 2014. A second volume in The Public Domain: Selected Essays print series was published in 2015.

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