Creative Commons has announced the release of the Public Domain Mark today – a sign that can be attached to all media that is free of copyright and is part of the public domain.

The new mark, a slashed copyright-©, like a cross-breed between the international “no” sign and the copyright-©. It will now be even clearer to see if an image is free from copyright. Media becomes public domain, once the copyright expires or when the artist or creator decides not to copyright and make it part of the public domain. This means that people can use the image themselves as it is, modify it, or distribute it freely. You do not need permission to use a public domain image. Moreover, commercial use of the media becomes possible.

Now, marking and tagging works with information about their copyright status must take place. “Computers must be able to parse the public domain status of works to communicate its usefulness to the public. The metadata standard underpinning the Public Domain Mark and all of Creative Commons’ licensing tools are what makes this possible”, said Michael Carroll, a founding board member of Creative Commons and a law professor at American University.

Read more about the Pubic Domain Mark in the press release.