Parsing the public domain



This article explores the use of the term public domain in the American context and finds that the symbol is subject to multiple meanings. Using historical and content analysis, the analysis explores the various uses of the term and provides a preliminary taxonomy for subsequent analysis and theory building. In conclusion, it suggests that more coherent information policies regarding national and international information access, creativity, governance, and private property rights will require a better understanding and delineation of the use of public domain in legislative and common practice.