What Is Public Domain Software ?
In accordance to the Berne Convention signed by 117 countries, the original producer of any intellectual property automatically attains selective rights or exclusive privilege over his or her work under the protection of copyright law.
Software also constitutes the term intellectual property.Software that is not registered for protection under the copyrights law is said to be public domain software. Software falls into public domain either after the expiry of copyrights or when the owner himself or herself abandons claim over the specific work. Any individual without any monetary or legal limitations can use such software. It can be duplicated or altered as per the desire of the individual utilizing it.
There are two other terminologies linked with public domain software, namely freeware and shareware. Freeware symbolizes software that may or may not be protected by copyright law and is available for use free of charge. On the other hand, shareware denotes software that is definitely safeguarded by copyright law and a minimal cost of usage is attached to it. These two categories of software may not always be in public domain and replicating or altering such work without verification could result in legal repercussions. The GNU/Linux software is an example of public domain software.
Although there are endless number of software available that can be used free of charge, mostly these are freeware and not public domain software. Installing such software on one’s computer signifies that one has attained the license for the same and has accepted the terms and conditions pertaining to the usage of the software. Regulations bound with freeware restrict the selling or transforming of the concerned software. Examples of such freeware software would include Adobe Reader, Netscape and Internet Explorer. Each time one downloads or installs this software, the individual expected to abide by certain rules.
In comparison to freeware, public domain software has no strings attached. They can be utilized in anyway the user wants, without any restrictions whatsoever. It personifies no ownership rights. Public domain software is available in abundance in the UCLA library and at the Free Software Foundation (FSF). The FSF is a very handy module in the sense that it helps to clearly identify the freeware and public domain software.
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