The public domain is a range of abstract materials – commonly referred to as intellectual property – which are not owned or controlled by anyone. The term indicates that these materials are therefore “public property”, and available for anyone to use for any purpose. The laws of various countries define the scope of the public domain differently, making it necessary to specify which jurisdiction’s public domain is being discussed.
Under modern law, most original works of art, literature, music, etc. are covered by copyright from the time of their creation for a limited period of time (which varies by country).