The public domain consists of all the creative work to which no exclusive intellectual property rights apply. Those rights may have expired, been forfeited, expressly waived, or may be inapplicable.
Public Domain Day is an observance of when copyrights expire and works enter into the public domain. This legal transition of copyright works into the public domain usually happens every year on 1st January based on the individual copyright laws of each country. This means that the work is free to use by anyone.
The observance of a “Public Domain Day” was initially informal; the earliest known mention was in 2004 by Wallace McLean (a Canadian public domain activist), with support for the idea echoed by Lawrence Lessig. There are activities in countries around the world by various organizations all under the banner Public Domain Day.
In 2022, Free Knowledge Africa celebrated the public domain day in Nigeria by hosting a webinar on raising awareness about the Public Domain in Nigeria and how to identify works that are entering into the public domain. The webinar had speakers from various parts of the world who are subject matter experts in the field of public domain, copyright, cultural heritage and law.
The video recording of the webinar can be accessed here.