, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 178-195

On public domain in copyright law

Abstract

Public domain is a core rule of copyright law, under which various creative materials are available for an author to use without charge or liability for infringement, hence ensuring the effective implementation of copyright law. Public domain is characterized by openness, public ownership, irrevocability and formality. Based on the premise that the author’s work will not be interfered, public domain ultimately aims at the enlargement of its own universe and prosperity of the culture of human society. Its introduction into copyright law satisfies both historical and logical demands. Without its acknowledgement, copyright cannot be justified. In that sense, public domain and copyright can be deemed as twins. Public domain is not only an existing institution, but also an ideological tendency or a methodology. It has evaluative and inspective values towards copyright. It is an important precondition of copy-rights, and what is more, an important measure for controlling the expansion and realizing the purpose of copyright.

摘要

公共领域是版权法的核心, 它是保证作者有效运用各种创作素材从而使版权的其余部分得以良好运转的工具。 公共领域具有开放性、 有主性、 不可撤销性和程序性等特征, 它以保证作者的创作为前提, 却最终以自身的不断扩大和人类社会的文化繁衍为依归。 公共领域在版权法上的生成既是历史的, 更是逻辑的。 没有公共领域的被承认, 也就没有版权的正当性可言, 因此公共领域和版权实际上一同诞生。 公共领域不仅是一种制度存在物, 它更是一种思想倾向和方法论, 公共领域对版权具有评价和检视功能, 它既是版权运行的重要前提, 又是控制版权扩张和实现版权目的的重要手段。

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Translated from Xiandai Faxue 现代法学 (Modern Law Science), 2008, 30(3): 46–55
Huang Hui, Ph.D, is a lecturer of civil law at Southwest University of Political Science and Law. Till now, he has released over 20 research articles in academic journals in China, such as Modern Law Science, Legal Forum, Academic Forum, etc. His magnum opus includes: Legal Philosophy Exposition of Unreasonable Outstretch in Intellectual Property Rights, Interpretation & Transfer: An exposition of de-intelligence of intellectual property rights, research on the protection of works in public domain, etc.