How can I describe a music that does not have copyright?

I found two words on the internet but I'm not sure if they are correct:

1. Uncopyrighted Music

2. Non-copyrighted Music

Is there a better way to say it?

Thank you very much,

  • 2
    uncopyrighted is used more often. We say "a piece of music" or, in this legal context, "a musical work".
    – TimR
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 16:02
  • 2
    Not an adjective, but "in the public domain"--or "pubic domain" employed attributively or predicatively. Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 16:16
  • Traditional, out of copyright, or public domain, depending on the circumstances.
    – Mick
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 18:38
  • @StoneyB Note, though, that a copyright work can be in the public domain owing to a copyright exception. If ever a subject was hard to wrangle, it is this one. Now, when we come to "pubic domain" (sic), that is more easily delineated. - Commented Nov 23, 2016 at 0:23

2 Answers 2


The phrase you're looking for is public domain.

Note that this refers strictly to works which are not under copyright, either because the copyright term has expired or the author has explicitly waived their right to assert copyright.

Works under "permissive licenses" like Creative Commons or open-source software licenses are not "public domain," instead, the author has granted you the consumer the right to use their copyrighted work so long as you adhere to the terms of the license.

Colloquial, catch-all terms for software released under permissive licenses or in the public domain are "open-source software" or "free software." In other fields you would generally use the adjective "free," as in "free music" or "free stock photos." Again, these are colloquial and context-sensitive terms, not legal ones.

More exact terms you might use in a legal context are "music in the public domain," "Creative Commons-licensed music," etc.


"Non copyright" is a possibility

Flaming Music - non copyright music

As their Youtube channel states

Non Copyrighted Music For Everyone

another alternative might be

CopyrightFree Network on SoundCloud

A more general definition with its origins in Open Source is

Open collaboration is "any system of innovation or production that relies on goal-oriented yet loosely coordinated participants who interact to create a product (or service) of economic value, which they make available to contributors and noncontributors alike.

Wikipedia uses the word


and points out things in the public domain may still be subject to non-copyright restrictions.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .