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Archive for July, 2008

Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act

One of my subscribers just forwarded me an e-mail from the Arkansas State Library, and I thought it would be perfect to share with a broader audience. Here it is, in part with my comments following:

“This is an interesting article but this statement ‘almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected under law’ is ambiguous. That may refer to the fact copyright doesn’t have to be registered to be covered.

“The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act (1998) extended all copyright term by 20 years, which means anything created after January 1, 1978 will be covered until 2019.

Copyright coverage for individuals:

Works created from 1923 -1963 will last for 95 years from the date of publication if renewed properly.

Works created from 1964-1977 last for 95 years with or without renewal.

Works created from 1987 on are life of the author + 70 years

Copyright coverage for employee doing work for an employer:

95 years from date of publication or 120 years from date of creation, which ever occurs first.

Basically public domain is prior to 1923 and after 2019.


My Response: I believe the operative phrase here is: “if renewed properly”

What most people don’t realize is that only 10% of all the books published before 1964 (figure from the US Copyright Office) and only 1% of magazines published before 1964 (figure from UPENN research) ever renewed their copyright…which gives us access to a LOT of content. Numbers are a bit more vague for images and movies, but I’ve been working hard to find those numbers as well.

Public Domain Background Textures

I came across a bunch of background textures that are in the Public Domain so I thought I’d tell you about them so you can have fun with them too! Download them all HERE!



Car and Motorcycle Magazines in the Public Domain

Hey all you car and cycle buffs…if you’re looking for content for your car and motorcycle niches, you may want to consider magazine content from Public Domain Magazines. I’ve compiled a huge list of magazines related to cars and motorcycles for you to mine for content. You’ll want to make sure you do your copyright research, but I can tell you that most (if not all) the magazines are in the Public Domain. Have fun!


Download the Car and Motorcycle Magazine List HERE!

Public Domain Backlash at the iTunes App Store

It was inevitable that someone would port Public Domain texts over to iPhone. You can now purchase over 100 Public Domain ebooks (at a cost of $.99 each) for sale in the iTunes App Store. Some enterprising individuals have repurposed a bunch of novels from to sell in the online store, including classics such as Dickens and Tarzan. But before you get the idea to jump on the iPhone Public Domain bandwagon, you might want to read some of the customer reviews directed at the company who is selling the Public Domain books. While there are a few people who appear to be glad the classics are now available, there is a growing voice of objection as well. I’m not surprised. One person complained,

“This and all similar blatantly stolen labour needs to be removed right now.”

So the question to ask is, “Is the iPhone the next frontier for selling Public Domain books or not?” At this point, my answer is mixed…yes and no! With the popularity of Kindle and now iPhone Apps, people are going to want access to books, including those in the Public Domain. But to simply re-package text from…well, I would tend to agree with the complaint above. It all goes back to what I’ve been saying about the Public Domain all along: It’s proven content to be used as the foundation to create new, hybrid products. So my challenge to anyone wanting to port Public Domain titles over to the iPhone is this: Why not make the classics free and create a line of hard-to-find books to sell on the backend?

There’s another factor that will play into all this as well…PDF access. The moment iPhone gets an app that will read PDF files, it could be game over for the early sellers of Public Domain content at the App Store. Of course, that will also open up new opportunities for publishers as well, especially considering that Amazon’s Kindle doesn’t read PDF’s either.

So, should you rush out to start offering Public Domain content for iPhones? Not yet. Let the new software mature a bit. Mobile devices are here to stay, and so will be the opportunities to create content for them. But at this stage of the game, the early bird may NOT get the worm…just a lot of pissed-off iPhone users.

Kola for President!

I’ve decided that we need a presidential candidate we can get behind. One who will be tough on the issues and friendly toward the environment. One who will not be afraid to take on the bullies of big business. One who understands what it’s like to be the underdog. I nominate Kola…my dog…for President.

Hey…why not?!


Public Domain Powwow

Over the course of the 4th of July Powwow this past weekend, I had a lot of time to relax, reflect and observe. It always amazes me the lessons you can learn around you when you take the time to pay attention and actually SEE them.

One of the things I was reminded of was how we are surrounded by Public Domain content…it’s everywhere. This past weekend, I saw the Public Domain in nature and in the oral traditions and stories that have passed from generation to generation. I saw it in the patterns incorporated into the Mayan weavings offered by a delightful Guatemalan couple and the symbols that adorned much of the regalia worn by the dancers. The Public Domain was present in the writing on the artwork raffled off and on some of the best-selling t-shirts. It was even present in the old Cherokee recipe for some wild grape dumplings I had Sunday afternoon. Opportunities with Public Domain content are indeed endless, which is why I will point people in that direction.

Here are a few pics from our Powwow weekend.

Spyder & Tekakwitha Webb with Deborah & Tony Laidig

My daughter, Ashlea, dancing Fancy Shawl

My wife, Deborah, in her new regalia. It took her months to make all the pieces and complete the beadwork.

Kola fell in love this weekend!

Our close friends (and Cherokee Elders), Spyder and Tekakwitha Webb

Ashlea and her boyfriend, David

One of our Mayan friends weaving

Ashlea and friends being “stoic” indians…

George, my leather guy, in action. He got a lot of my money too! Think “printing Public Domain images on leather”!

Kola (here with my wife, Deborah) was VERY popular at the powwow!

Little Beaver, a Mohawk Elder, gifts Sky (from our group) with a prayer feather. Sky just left active duty as a Marine and served in Iraq.

The Webbs leading some of the dancers into the circle.

Vendors, vendors everywhere!

If You’re in the Area…

I’m getting ready to head out to the Kateri Tekakwitha 4th of July powwow in Fonda, NY with my family. This will be our 7th year of going there and it’s looking to be a lot of fun! Good friends, good dancing, and a whole lot of tenting! And George, my leather guy, will be there! You might remember me talking about what he does with Public Domain images
and leather…brilliant!

Anyway, if you live close, you should stop by and look us up! I’d love to meet you in person. I might dance some, but I’ll also have my “Portable Empire” (as Pat O’Bryan calls it) with me. The priests at the Shrine where the powwow is held have high-speed wireless so I’m good to go!

Keep an eye on my blog for updates from the powwow. I’ll share pictures, brainstorms and more. Tony

BTW…Want to find some great content that you can use commercially? Go here:

Be sure to check, “Search for works I can use for commercial purposes.” You’re going to have a whole bunch of fun on this one…grin!

Baseball Magazines in the Public Domain

After posting yesterday’s entry, I thought it might be fun to assemble a listing of Public Domain magazines that are related directly or indirectly to Baseball. My search produced 16 magazines and you can download the entire list below:


Download the Baseball-related Magazines in the Public Domain List