What exactly does “Public Domain” mean?

By Scott Carpenter

As you know, the audiobooks and ebooks that you can find on LoyalBooks.com fall under public domain and they are free for bookworms like you. Many people may think that public domain automatically means “free” but that isn’t quite all there is to it. Yes, you can use these audiobooks and ebooks for free because they are under public domain, but what exactly does that mean?

To put it simply, public domain means that no single person owns the work, but the public owns it. That means that nobody can copyright the single work on its own and so anybody can use it. Most of the books on this site are under public domain because their copyrights have expired. As you will notice, many of the books on this site are well-known classics that were published long ago. That is because all works published prior to 1923 now fall under the public domain. Other works may have fallen into public domain because their creators failed to renew their copyright. The current law for copyrighting a book is that the copyright is in place for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years after the author’s death and so many of the popular books that have come out in recent decades likely will not fall into public domain anytime soon. However, it is possible that new works can fall into public domain if the author chooses to dedicate the work to the public domain and in doing so, forfeit his or her intellectual property to the public. As you can imagine this doesn’t happen often, so the majority of public domain works are the older works with expired copyrights.

And so what public domain boils down to is that you can continue to enjoy multitudes of great works for free thanks to either the generosity of the author or the expiration of their copyrights! Regardless of how the works fall under public domain, I think it is safe to say that we are all grateful that we can use them for free! Have fun perusing the selection of free public domain audiobooks and ebooks that we have compiled for your use!

For a more in-depth discussion of what constitutes public domain and copyright law, visit:

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