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Archive for February, 2008

The Public Domain Code Book at Pat O’Bryan’s UnSeminar Elite

My friend, Pat O’Bryan just wrapped up his UnSeminar Elite program this past weekend where 12 participants received hands-on training from Pat to create their own product, social network and more. The results were astounding! AND, one of the main training tools Pat used and taught from was my Public Domain Code Book ( Check out this video from the seminar! Also, I think Pat has one or two openings left for the March UnSeminar Elite. You can get more information here:



A New Report and a Special Magazine Announcement…

I’ve been busy working some brand-new, no-cost gifts for you. You’re going to love these!

First, I just uploaded a brand-new report called, “Innovation & Creativity: The Keys to Product Creation Success.” In this report I share my own methods for tapping into creativity and innovation for product development and creation. You can grab this freebie report at the Yard Sale.

While you’re at the Yard Sale site, you’re also going to want to check out another treat I’m making available to you. It’s a digital sneak peek of my upcoming, new PRINT magazine called, “PDX Magazine.” You can find out more details at the Yard Sale site, but I’ll tell you now, this magazine is going to change how marketing magazines are created and designed…AND it will also provide a ton of valuable articles, reviews, strategies and more. Claim your own sneak peek copy at the Yard Sale:

To your continued success!

Tony Laidig
The Public Domain Expert

A Public Domain Research Refresher…

I thought I would take some time to recap the basics of copyright research here in the United States. It’s not always a cut and dry process, and some exceptions exist (like the role of trademark, privacy and publicity rights), but they are usually only an issue with image and video-based works. Also please note that I am not a copyright attorney, and neither is my husky, Kola. So please don’t consider this as legal counsel. What I shared above is based on my own research and experience (although it’s proven fairly accurate).

This post is primarily geared toward Public Domain books, but the research techniques will also work for other media. Here we go…works published in the United States BEFORE 1923 are in the Public Domain…period. 

Books published from 1923 to 1964 had to have their copyrights renewed in the 28th year from publication to retain copyright status. If they failed to renew the copyright, the book fell into the Public Domain, and from what I’ve seen and heard, this lapse into the Public Domain includes 80% or more of the books published during that time period. To verify the status of a book, say, from 1956, you’ll need to do the following:

1. With the book being published in 1956, the 28th year of renewal would be 1984. To check those renewal records, you need to go to the U.S. Copyright website ( and click on “Search the Catalog.”

2. On the search page, you’ll find a place to enter the book title or author name, and then choose the corresponding entry from the list of options provided below the search box. So, if your author’s name was “Jack London” then you would enter that into the box as “London, Jack”, choose “author” from the options box below the search field and click, “Begin Search.”

3. In the results, you will see the author name and book title, the Copyright Number and the Date. If you find your book listed, and the Copyright Number begins with “RE”, it’s been renewed. If you don’t find your book listed, then chances are likely that it’s in the Public Domain.

4. Things to be aware of…You will want to try variations of the author name and the title when conducting your search. For example, let’s say your author’s name was William Walker Atkinson. His name could potentially be listed in the records in a number of different ways, including his full name, William Atkinson, William W. Atkinson, W.W. Atkinson, etc. Also, when conducting a search using the title, if the title begins with an initial article (like: A, An, The, etc.) do not include those in your search box entry. I typically conduct searches beginning with the author’s last name only, unless it’s a really common name like “Smith.” I’ve found in most cases, that this approach will turn up what I’m searching for, if it’s there.

If the book was published before 1950, the Copyright database will not be able to help you. In thoses cases, you have two options. Go to the Stanford Copyright Renewal Search Database ( and conduct your search there using the same methods I shared above, or go to the UPenn Catalog of Copyright Renewals ( and search through the entries manually. Please note that the Stanford search engine ONLY supports book searches. If you are researching a magazine, newspaper, article, etc., you’ll need to use the UPenn Catalog. If you use this second option, I would highly recommend still searching for variations of the author’s name and title, but ALSO, I would check the year prior to and the year after the year the copyright should have been renewed as a safeguard. So if the book you are checking was published in 1939, it would renew in 1967. On the Catalog of Copyright Renewals page, you would click on “1967” and then check the alphabetical entries listed for BOTH Part 1 (January – June) and Part 2 (July – December). If your book is NOT listed there (or in the Stanford Database), you should be in the clear!

To reiterate those research opptions:

If your work was published before 1923, it is in the Public Domain. If the work was published between 1923 and 1964, it may be in the Public Domain if the copyright wasn’t renewed in the 28th year from original publication. For books dated 1923 to 1950, check the Stanford Search Database and/or the Catalog of Copyright Renewals at UPenn to see if the work was renewed. If your book was published between 1950 and 1964, check the Copyright Office’s Online Search. Also, please note that there can be some issues with books copyrighted in 1950. They may need to be researched at all the above places because their renewal timeframe is when the Copyright Office began handling the databases differently. So a 1950 renewal (1978) could potentially be in one place or the other.

Hope this helps!

Tony Laidig

PS – If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to post them here!

A Public Domain Eclipse…

Most people don’t think about it, but nature and all it entails, from the bugs, animals, fish and birds, to plants and trees, the sky and clouds, waterfalls and mountains, and yes, even the moon and the rest of the universe, are ALL in the Public Domain. You still have the legal right to photograph, use, draw, etc. those elements for enjoyment or profit without having to pay anyone a royalty. It seems like a silly statement to make–that nature is in the Public Domain–but freedoms change…so does access. Just ask the Native Americans. So for now, enjoy nature’s bountiful Public Domain offerings as often as you can. I know I do, and last night’s lunar eclipse was the perfect opportunity to do so!


 To your continued success!


The Public Domain in the UK

Copyright laws here in the United States are much different than those in the UK and other countries, and if you live outside the US, you need to understand how those laws work, especially if you plan to use works that are in the Public
Domain here in the United States.

I’m certainly not an copyright attorney but I have a pretty decent understanding of how the Public Domain works here and abroad. So I pulled together those insights, along with a thorough table that displays the copyright rules for all the various  countries around the world, and put it all together in a new FR.EE report. If you are from the United States, you’re still welcome to download the report, this one is primarily geared toward my subscribers abroad, and especially from the United Kingdom. I have the report posted over at the Yard Sale. You can get there by going to:

Feel free to post your comments, feedback or insights there concerning this issue.

To your continued success!


Does This Marketing Strategy Go Too Far?

I’ll make this short and sweet.

Larry Dotson has consistantly produced killer marketing
products over the years. Perhaps you’ve benefited from
his wisdom as I have. This time, however, I think he’s
taken his strategies a bit too far. This latest “escapade”
has left me scratching my head, wondering if he just crossed
the line. I’ve come to my own conclusions, but I’ll let
you decide for yourself. The whole controversy is
spelled out here:

To your continued success,


A Day in the Life…

I thought I’d share some of my recent photos of things happening around my neck of the woods. Sometimes, we can become so consumed with the busyness of business that we forget to enjoy the moment. Here are a few of my moments…


The shot above is early morning from my front yard.
This is what I get to enjoy every morning…in all it’s tranquility!


 Here is my famous (or perhaps, infamous) husky, Kola, you know, the dog I “pimp out” at Tony’s Yard Sale ( Here he is in his domain AND his element…the side yard with snow. He LOVES the snow and would stay out in it for hours if I’d let him. BTW…I’ve been working on a new secret project with Kola…you’re going to definitely get a “kick” out of it. I don’t want to give too much away just yet, but let your imagination run with the title of the project: “Kola, the Amazing Ninja Dog.” It’s going to be a blast!


Recently, our town celebrated one of their most popular annual events, the IceFest. It’s where many of the area business sponser Ice Sculptures as a way of promoting their business. There are dozens of sculptures, street vendors, fireworks…it’s pretty cool (no pun intended). The event is huge and draws a lot of people into town over the course of the few days it’s held. The picture above is a photo I took during the IceFest of the office building where my offices are located. The photos included below are a few of my favorite sculptures from locations around the Square near the office.

ice2.jpg ice1.jpg 

I’ll be honest…the snow and ice are beautiful this time of year, but I am READY for Spring…how about you?

Have fun!


Are You Using the Wikipedia Factor?

I love Wikipedia for a lot of reasons, but especially for the reason I want to share with you today. I call it the Wikipedia Factor, and, as a content creator, you’re going to love this one.

If you picked up my brand-new report, “Public Domain Children’s Books: A Complete Waste of Time or Absolute Goldmine,” then chances are you may have been inspired to give children’s books another look. Well, today, I want to help your efforts even more by sharing a little trick I use that centers around

When creating products, you obviously need the content for the product itself, but you also need salescopy, cover images, support images, etc. The same is true when working with Children’s Books. I’ve found that Wikipedia offers excellent references to many of the classic Children’s books (not to mention other books as well). And here’s the fun part. The Wikipedia entries often include vintage cover images, interior illustrations, a story synopsis, an author biography and more! And the best part is that many of these items are often Public Domain!

Let me give you some examples. If you follow the link below, you’ll be taken to a Wikipedia page that features a list of Children’s classic books. Here is the link:

You’ll notice that every book title is clickable. Pick one and you’ll see what I mean about the possibilities. This is the exact method I used with the Beowulf audio and e-book project I shared with you a little while back. Oh, and just because
you do not see the book you’re interested in on the list doesn’t mean it isn’t on Wikipedia. Do a search for the title or the author.

Another benefit (and little secret of mine)… If you search for authors, chances are likely that, in their Wikipedia entry, there will also be links to sources that offer digital versions of their books from the Public Domain (if the book
exists online and if it’s in the Public Domain).

And so…armed with this new information AND a copy of my new report, you should be set to have a lot of fun with Children’s books. And if you haven’t picked up the new report on Public Domain Children’s Books yet, you can do so here:

BTW…just because I used Children’s literature as the example for this article doesn’t mean you are limited to using Wikipedia for just literature…wink.

To your continued Public Domain success!


A Children’s Books a Waste of Time?

I just finished my latest report where I decided to determine, once and for all, whether pursuing Public Domain Children’s books are a complete waste of time or an absolute GOLDMINE. Want to know what I discovered? Let’s just put it this way…the results were NOT what I expected AND they caused me to  make some changes to my online business.

You can found out ALL the fun details over at my Yard Sale! See you there!

BTW, in this brand-new report, I ALSO reveal a couple product creation tactics that I’ve never talked about before and
that I am currently working with myself. I struggled with whether I should share these, but decided at the last minute
to go ahead with including them. Hope I don’t regret my decision…grin


A New Case Study

Over the past week or so, I’ve been sharing about my new Master Web Templates and how much time, money and effort they can save you. Well, I decided to try something different with them.

I just updated my Yard Sale site with some of the best-selling products I’ve offered there over the past several months. One of those products, Word to Web Page, is a sweet little program that can save you a TON of time and effort in creating web pages from Microsoft Word documents. It ALSO just happens to be compatible with my templates!

SO…here’s what I did…

I took one of my favorite Public Domain books, “Sacred Formulas of the Cherokee” (of course, this will work with ANY Public Domain book…hint) and plugged it into Word to Web Page, along with a modifed version of one of my templates (yes…you can modify them however you choose). The ENTIRE process of setting everything up, including modifying
the graphics, took me less than 20 minutes! Want to see the result? It’s posted at the Yard Sale!

And did I mention that Word to Web Page is only $7 dollars…yeah…this is one of those no-brainer deals! See you there!