Is the Copyright Public Domain Irrevocable?: An Introduction to Golan v. Holder

25 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 31 Jul 2014

See all articles by Tyler Trent Ochoa

Tyler Trent Ochoa

Santa Clara University School of Law

Date Written: 2011

Abstract

The public domain may be defined as that body of literary and artistic works (or other information) that is not subject to any copyright (or other intellectual property right), and which therefore may be freely used by any member of the general public. This concept is implicit in the Patent and Copyright Clause of the Constitution, which stipulates that patents and copyrights may only be granted “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts,” and only “for limited Times.” The “limited Times” restriction implies that patents and copyrights must expire at some point, and the “Progress” limitation implies that patents and copyright can only be granted for new works, not for pre-existing ones. Thus, once a previously granted copyright on a work has expired, the general public has a “federal right to copy and to use” the work without attribution.

Suggested Citation

Ochoa, Tyler Trent, Is the Copyright Public Domain Irrevocable?: An Introduction to Golan v. Holder (2011). 64 Vand. L. Rev. En Banc 123 (2011), Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-14, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473353

Tyler Trent Ochoa (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
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United States
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