Quoting Niall Walsh (niallwalsh at users.berlios.de):
> Quoting Karl O'Dwyer <me at karlodwyer.net>:
>> >A tricky one, if the manufacturer does not expressly state the
> >licencing and offers them freely on the Internet then they may be
> >considered to be in the public domain.
>> Everything which can be copyrighted is by default protected by
> copyright and not public domain.
Correct. Note that almost all countries have, by now, ratified the
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works
(last revision, 1979), which provides for that to be the case.
One reason copyright law tends to be quite similar in most respects from
country to country is the effect of the Berne Convention.
> The copyright owner must actively put something into the public
> domain or else you will have to wait for the copyright to expire (if
> it ever will).
Um, no. In countries of my acquaintance, there's no clear way to
contribute a creative work directly to the public domain (which, as a
reminder, would entail causing its capacity for being owned by anyone to
cease to exist, i.e., for it to become unownable), and the legal
effect of purporting to do so is indeterminate.
 In particular, "I am putting my work into the public domain" does
_not_ mean merely "I disclaim ownership"; it also means "I decree that my
heirs cannnot inherit this property or invoke title-reversion rights
even though the inheritance laws say otherwise, my creditors may not
attach it even though the debt-collection laws say otherwise, and nobody
may claim it as lost property and salvage it even though the escheat and
abandoned-property laws say otherwise." More at:
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