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Archive for the ‘Government’ Category

Native Americans in the Public Domain

Since my girls are dancing at a Native American Powwow today (and I am writing this post from there), I thought it would only be fitting to share some excellent government resources related to our Native peoples.

There a literally thousands of photographs available online that show many of the tribes from around North America. I have found many excellent photos of: tribal lands, clothing, arts and crafts, rituals, ceremonies, battles and much more! There are also excellent resources that share traditional stories and beliefs, historical accounts and medicines. Below are a few of the resources you can check out if this niche is one that connects with you.

Library of Congress

National Archives

Tribal Government Info

Native American Photos

To see some of the t-shirts I offer, created from photos found on some of the sites mentioned above, click HERE!

Finding Treasure at the National Archives

One of the greatest treasure troves of works in the Public Domain is the National Archives (NARA). NARA’s “job” is to archive Federal records that are judged to have continuing value—about 2 to 5 percent of those generated in any given year. As you would imagine, this has resulted in a growing massive collection of materials, diverse in form as well as in content. There are approximately 9 billion pages of textual records; 7.2 million maps, charts, and architectural drawings; more than 20 million still photographs; billions of machine-readable data sets; and more than 365,000 reels of film and 110,000 videotapes. All of these materials are preserved because they are important to the workings of Government, have long-term research worth, or provide information of value to citizens (like making money from new products created with them).

While the materials currently available online are but a fraction of NARA’s total holdings, there is still tens of thousands of works available to you online right now. And…if you want to have even MORE fun, I would highly recommend making a trip to the National Archives in College Park, MD. With 6 floors of Public Domain goodness, you will be like a kid in a candy store. It is truly an amazing experience. What is great is that they even allow you to bring in your digital cameras, video cameras, laptops and scanners…all for the purpose of duplicating the “hard copy” editions of the content. One of my personal highlights so far was being able to scan original prints by Ansel Adams taken of our most popular National Parks.

The National Archives has a comprehensive Archival Research Catalog (ARC) available online. Search the ARC HERE. Click on “Search Options” and then click on the “Digital Copies” tab at the top. Now you’re ready to search through ARC’s online records. You can also explore the National Archives online exhibits HERE and HERE.

A Personal Public Domain Challenge

I have been somewhat underground for the past few months…especially when it comes to the topic of the Public Domain. Well, that’s all about to change. Beginning October 1st, I’ve committed to a personal challenge of blogging about the Public Domain or related topics every day through the end of 2010…a good 90 days. The seed for this was planted by my friend, Dave Lakhani, but also encouraged by others as well.

So get ready for some great content of ALL types. The posts may be written, audio, video or all the above…and no, I don’t have the full 90 days planned out yet…grin. So…in the excitement of getting things started until the official kickoff day on Friday, here is a sweet site I’ve been using to find some stunning Public Domain content:

GPO Access: This is the ultimate search tool for finding federal publications. The results include descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online. We’re talking 100’s of thousands of publications here on just about ANY topic know to man!

You can check it out for yourself HERE!

Finding the BEST Government Content in the Public Domain

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, one of the BEST sources for great Public Domain content is the U.S. Government! Billions of dollars are spent each year to create programs, research, publications, websites, consumer education and much more. And guess what? YOU are paying for it…it’s your taxpayer dollars at work. Of course, the great news is that works created by federal employees during the course of their job are in the Public Domain. What that means for you and me is that there is a LOT of great content of all types, created by some of the brightest people, available to us right now to use for products, articles, blog posts and more!

The challenge is always finding the content. I always say that you can’t find what you don’t know to look for. That’s true “most” of the time. The trick that can overcome that rule is to understand HOW to look…and that usually involves some stealth research tricks…grin…or access to a good search engine. And when it comes to finding content from the U.S. Government, there are several “search engine” options you have available to you.

Below is a list of my favorite, government-related search engines. Each have different focuses for accessing different types of content, but all can lead you down the “Yellow Brick Road” (yellow meaning GOLD…grin) for great content! (also… search for [keyword] .gov) (Library of Congress) (Find docs advertised here and then search for PDFs on (National Archives and Records Administration) (Archival Research Catalog) (Archives Library Information Center) (American Memory) (Prints & Photographs Online Catalog)

In closing, I’ll leave you with this thought…this content is yours…you paid for it with your tax dollars…so why aren’t you using what’s yours? Think of it as the ultimate tax rebate. Make products from the content your tax dollars helped create. Sell those products and enjoy 100% of the profit. Cost to you…NOTHING! (You already paid, remember?!).

Your only question should be, “What can I create next?” Go have fun!

Book Sale Survival Guide

Spring and Summer are favorite times of the year for me on a number of levels. I prefer a warm breeze over snow, flowers over snow, yard sales over snow…I think you get the picture. This time of the year also brings with it something else I love…book sales! One of my favorite annual sales happens next weekend…I’m excited!

When you consider that there is a minimum of 85 million books in the Public Domain and only 4 million of those are available online, it makes events like a good book sale seem like a magical treasure hunt for content…or maybe it’s just me :-)

The best way to find out what book sales are happening in your area is to use the same website I use: Book Sale Finder ( It’s not the most beautiful website in the world, but they deliver the information you want…where is the next sale? Simply click on your state and check the listings.

Something you may also want to consider, especially if you travel a lot, is to check listings for the area you’re travelling to. You never know what book adventure may await!

When checking the listings on Book Sale Finder, you will find that there are a number of different types of listings with regard to what is being offered at the sales. What you want to pay attention to are the sales that feature 100% donated books that are NOT picked over. I’ll use the listing for the local sale I’m attending as the perfect example for what I mean. Here is the listing:

50,000 books; 100% donated; 65% hardcover; sorted; not ‘picked over'; no buyer restrictions; plus maps, sheet music, A/V; paperback .50; hardcovers up to $15

There are several key points to note here…

  1. The quantity listed (more is better)
  2. 100% donated (provides greater opportunity for “goodies”)
  3. 65% hardcover (most older books in the Public Domain are hardcover)
  4. Sorted (makes it MUCH easier to find what you are searching for quickly)
  5. Not picked over (increases your chances for finding books of value, content-wise)
  6. No buyer restrictions (means you can buy as much as you want…a good thing)
  7. Other offerings and prices (always good to know).

Here are a few more “Book Sale Survival Guide” tips:

Take a bag, cart or box. You will want something to put your books in…trust me, if you start finding a lot of books, this will make your life easier.

Grab now, sort later. The name of the game is to grab ANY book that looks like it could have potential for you. Delaying could result in you NOT ending up with the book. You can always sort later before you pay.

Check Copyrights on the spot. If you think you’ve found a gem, you can check its copyright right on the spot by using your iPhone or Blackberry. Log into the Standford University site (for books 1923 – 1950) or the site (for books 1950 – 1964) and conduct a search. It could save you some time and money!

Book Dealers. They’ll be there, so be aware. They are easy to spot. You’ll usually see the scanning books with a barcode reader to check the “sell” value of books. What’s funny about that is that they’re hoping to find cheap books that they can, in turn, sell for a profit. Spend $1.00 and sell for $20.00. Of course, our approach is MUCH different. Spend $1.00 and make $1,000’s be creating new products. But again, be aware that some of the books you are after, they are too…but not all!

Stay focused! Whenever you are faced with sorting through 50,000 books, it’s really easy to become distracted. Go to the sale with specific niche topics in mind and search for those books first. After you’ve explored those topics THEN look around for other possibilities. This is super important! Lots of people in a room with lots of books can challenge the best book junkies, so go with a plan. Consider even writing a list of specific authors or titles so you don’t forget to check for them in the flurry of excitement.

Book Sales are a LOT of fun, but don’t plan to attend thinking only a few people will be there. If it’s a big sale, plan to go early…there WILL be a line! Just remember to have fun…enjoy yourself…and look forward to finding those “hidden gems!”

A Public Domain Playground!

It can become real easy to write off using Public Domain content as “hard-to-find” or “old” but I’m here to tell you that nothing could be further from the truth. And to prove it, I’m going to share a couple sites with you that I’ve been “playing” with lately to find high-quality Public Domain content. These sites also happen to be the first three sites I include in the “Government Sites” section of my new e-book, “Public Domain Profit Centers.”

First, I’ll share the sites…and this is excerpted straight from the book. 
This site delivers information about current U.S. foreign policy and about American life and culture. It is produced by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Information Programs.  ? is a “one-stop” link to a broad range of federal information resources available online. It is designed so that you can locate information by category ? such as Food, Health, Product Safety, Your Money, and Transportation. Each category has subcategories to direct you to areas within individual federal web sites containing related information.
The Consumer Action Website is maintained and updated by the Federal Citizen Information Center and provides consumer topics that allow you to access tips for purchasing specific goods and services,
like cars, home improvement, insurance, and more. It also includes handy information about spam, identity theft, credit, travel, utilities and more.

Now let me tell you just how amazing these three sites are. On these sites, you can find some of the most relevant, up-to-date content I’ve seen anywhere. And consider this…first, the content was written by government experts whose job it is to make sure what they share is accurate. Second, YOUR tax dollars paid to have this content produced (which is why it’s in the Public Domain to begin with). So do you want to “write” an e-book on how to save your home from foreclosure (a VERY relevant issue right now)? You can find great content for it on these sites. Do you want to produce a product on how to protect yourself from identity theft? There is a ton of great info on these sites.

My point is simply this…you NEED to be using Public Domain content to make your product creation easier…AND…you have no excuses to NOT use it. Now the sites I shared in this e-mail are just 3 of over 230 websites I included in “Public Domain Profit Centers.” If you haven’t picked up your own copy yet, trust me, you are missing out because I found some truly amazing sites with Public Domain content!

You can pick up your own copy by following the link below…and YES…it’s still at the introductory price…and YES…all the bonuses are still available for a limited time. Get yours now and jump-start your next product right away!

To your continued success!

Tony Laidig
The Public Domain Expert

Easily Find Government-Produced Photographs for Product Creation!

As a former commercial photographer and graphic designer, I was naturally drawn to the images side of the Public Domain first…even before books! It was from selling images that I made my first dollars from the Public Domain…thousands of dollars actually! Of course, images (photographs, illustrations, fine art, ephemera, maps, etc.) are those images whose copyrights have expired or that did not qualify for copyright protection. For this article, I want to focus on the latter option…how to find images that do not qualify for copyright protection.

Many people do not realize it, but most content created by our Federal Government does not qualify for copyright protection because, when created as a part of a Federal employee’s regular duties, the content is paid for by taxpayer’s dollars and is therefore “owned” by the people. Simply stated, that means that you are free to use Federal Government-created content (books, images, videos, audios, etc.) in any way you see fit because YOU paid for it! So let’s take a quick look at what your hard-earned money paid for in the way of image resources.

There are a TON of image resources available online (and offline) related to images…in this article, I’m going to focus on two of the best. One of my personal favorites is the U.S. Government Photos and Graphics site ( Most of these images and graphics are available for use in the public domain, and they may be used and reproduced without permission or fee. However, some images may be protected by license, so you want to make sure you thoroughly read the disclaimers on each site before use.

When you visit this page, you will discover that it is actually a directory of government website links where you can locate photographs and graphics. Nice of them to make it easy for us…guess they should since we paid for it! As you scan down through the list, you’ll quickly discover that there are LOTS of photos available to you from this portal…literally hundreds of thousands of them!

Some of my personal favorite websites listed on this page include:

America’s Historical Documents (

Earth as Art (

Grand Canyon National Park (

National Park Service (

Portraits and Stock Photos (

There is another Government-image site that I really enjoy digging through called “Government “Resources for Science Images” found at the Sciences Reference Services ( This is another image portal site for Government-produced image content specifically related to the sciences. Yes, I admit it…I am a science geek…always have been! Anyway, there are a few sites that were also included on the previous resource website, but there are many new sites listed here as well. One of my personal favorite sites from this portal HAS to be the USGS Maps and Imagery site ( the very first Public Domain anything I sold (and made a lot of money from) was a USGS map of Atlantic City that was reproduced by the printing company I managed. Having access to big printing presses has its advantages! I was selling these maps 20 years ago at flea markets…now you can download them digitally and sell them literally anywhere! And again…because you paid for their creation, it’s your legal right to do so!

I always say that you can’t find what you don’t know to look for, and I hope that this brief article has peeled back the curtain just a bit to what is available to you image-wise courtesy our Federal Government (and your tax-payer dollars of course). In a future article, I’ll share some ways you can profit from all the image content found on these sites, but until then, let me leave you with one simple thought: Where do you think ALL the books, posters, t-shirts and all the other Obama-related products available out there got their image content from? You guessed it!!

In my popular e-book, “Easy Money Picture Project,” I go into great detail on how to locate and use Public Domain image content to create successful, money-producing image-based products. In the book I share a long list of websites where you can find Public Domain images of all types, how-to sections for actually creating products from Public Domain images, case studies of those who are using Public Domain images in successful business ventures and SO much more. I normally sell this 200+ page e-book for $97, but for a limited time, you can get it for $30 less HERE.

Your Tax Dollars at Work in the Public Domain

Every year, the United States spends billions of taxpayer dollars to produce all types of information products that are meant to inform, improve and enhance the lives of Americans. But did you realize that content produced by Federal employees in the course of their work duties is in the Public Domain? Yep! This government content includes books, reports, audios, photographs, videos, manuals, language tools and about every other type of media available. What this means for you is that you have access to yet another amazing source for content for your next information product.

In this post, I thought I would share some of my personal favorite government websites for finding great content. Of course, as with any product creation strategy, you need to have an idea of the niche(s) you need content for. One note of caution here…not EVERYTHING on Federal websites is in the Public Domain. Make sure you read the copyright statements on the websites you visit. Occasionally, the U.S. Government will sub-contract or joint venture with an outside vendor to produce the content. In some of those cases, the content may be copyrighted.

Here are some of my favorite U.S. Government Sites:

USA Gov Search Portal

Google’s U.S. Government Search

Fed World

Federal Reserve Consumer Info

Consumer Action

Federal Citizen Information Center

My Money




Academic Info

Technical Reports

Photos and Graphics