Alexandra Gianopoulou, Voluntary Public Domain

The public domain is generally defined as encompassing all intellectual elements that are not protected by copyright or whose term of protection has lapsed, due to the expirationof the duration for protection. It is thus set outside of the scope of intellectual property laws, including its Greek equivalent (N.2121/1993). The works that fall under this category are not copyrighted and can therefore be used without restrictions. However, the public domain lacks a positive legal definition and is not regulated by applicable copyright law. In recent years, interest in the voluntary placement of works in the public domain grows under the realm of a general dissatisfaction over intellectual property laws. The negative approach of the law with regard to the public domain creates ambiguity as to the validity of a waiver of rights from authors and the creation of so-called voluntary public domain. This situation is often characterized as a “legal limbo” and provokes a lot of questions as it can often end up being deceiving both for the authors themselves and the users.