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What does public domain mean?

'Public domain' means either that the copyright period of "life-plus-50" has expired (e.g. Shakespeare's plays, Mozart's written music), or that the copyright owner has purposely made the work publicly available (e.g. Canadian federal statutes).

Web documents are not necessarily public domain, even though they are easily accessible.

Even if there is no copyright symbol © on a document or image, does not mean that it is not protected by copyright, or that it is public domain.

Generally, notices to the effect that users may use a work in some way without further ado will appear directly on the work itself, as a 'legal notice' on a website, or by way of a Creative Commons licence.