I talk a lot about the fact that Public Domain content is extremely valuable to us as information marketers because it’s holdings are vast and because it’s proven content. As I’m sure you’re aware, the Public Domain covers a wide range of mediums, from books and magazines to images and films, and also includes practically every other type of media as well. This “treasure house” of content includes literary classics and phenomenal works of art; brilliant inventions and award-winning motion pictures. But if you had to declare what you thought was the most valuable piece of “real estate” in the world of the Public Domain, what would you choose?
What is the most valuable Public Domain content and how can you find it?
Is the most valuable Public Domain content, books? After all, there are over 85 million books in the Public Domain…perhaps even as many as 2 billion. Could it be magazines in the Public Domain? There are hundreds of thousands of magazine titles representing millions of issues in the Public Domain that share information on every topic known to man. Some might argue that the most valuable Public Domain content is the artistic expressions of fine art, photography and illustration. There are millions and millions of “windows” into the hearts and minds of countless artisans back to beginning humanity. Or better still, perhaps the most valuable Public Domain content is represented by the millions of expired patents that exist. These expressions of genius and innovation have defined and created the world we now know and enjoy. As you look around you right now, everything you see is a manifestation of the “mother” of invention, as defined by the uncountable scores of patent submissions. Surely this MUST be the most valuable Public Domain content!
ALL these “expressions” are potential candidates for the title of “Most Valuable,” but there is one, seldom considered, often unspoken area of the Public Domain that, to me, represents the hands-down winner of our contest. This mystery contender stands head and shoulders above all the other content we’ve discussed, yet resides at the core of all of it. It is the most celebrated, and at the same time, the most suppressed, articulation of the Public Domain. Before I tell you WHAT it is, however, allow me to explain the foundation and origin for this article. It all began with a sighting….
Over the weekend, I was driving to my office to pick-up a portable hard drive and on the way there, I noticed something unusual in the sky…it was a flying silver disc. Now I’ve seen UFO’s before (another story for another time), so I wasn’t alarmed as much as I was curious. It COULD have been a terrestrial object, but to me, it was unidentified, and quite honestly, whether it was terrestrial or extra-terrestrial has little bearing on the outcome of this story. When I got back to my home, I made a post on Twitter about my “sighting.” It got me thinking in a fun way, “I wonder if alien information and technology is in the Public Domain?” So I posted a tweet to Twitter to that end. That question launched an interaction between myself and my good friend, Warren Whitlock. Below is part of our discussion:
tonylaidig I was just on my way to the office to grab my portable drive and saw a large flying silver disc in sky. Been a while since the last time.
tonylaidig Do you “believe” we are not alone? And is “their” knowledge in the Public Domain? Hmmm.
WarrenWhitlock @tonylaidig what makes you thing “they” have anything like our system of property rights. Maybe advanced societies share it all
tonylaidig @WarrenWhitlock if I were a betting man, I’d guess they forgo property rights in favor of shared knowledge, like universal creative commons.
WarrenWhitlock @tonylaidig if they forgo property rights you won’t be able to collect on that bet
tonylaidig Guess it’d be kind of hard to copyright automatic thought transfers…lol.
tonylaidig Can’t you just see the US Gov’t encouraging aliens to share the wisdom and then lock it up so no one has access to it. Wait did that happen?
tonylaidig The moment we figure out how to decode the information in starlight, everything changes in our knowledge database.
tonylaidig Of course, stars are in the Public Domain…grin.
At the time, I thought the discussion was fun, but later, I began to think about it more seriously…not so much the idea of alien information in the Public Domain, but rather the idea of HOW they might share that information. And that’s when it hit me…the most valuable content in the Public Domain isn’t books or magazines…it isn’t movies, paintings or patents. No! The most valuable content in the Public Domain is most likely the ONE THING you’re overlooking in your business that could make you wildly successful.
The most valuable content available in the Public Domain is simply this:
Ideas cannot be copyrighted…neither can concepts. The copyright code is very clear about that. Yet, we often turn our backs on the ideas that surround us because they’re “silly” or “crazy” or “will never work.” Unfortunately, our minds are often numb to the challenge of “thinking outside the box,” so by default, we fall in line with all the other zombie robots and live our lives and conduct our business by remote control. Land of the free? Not very often…more like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where we’re trapped by fear of “what was” rather than exploring “what could be.” IDEAS change all that. They can set us free to experience the success and liberty that we desire. “God didn’t create us to be parrots,” I said to a friend of mine the other night.” “We are to be creators, and creation begins with ideas.”
This article is much more philosophical than what I normally write, but it’s an honest reflection of how I think and feel. The Public Domain is indeed a means to an end, as some would say. But my challenge to you today is to begin to see the Public Domain as the means to a beginning. It truly is limitless in its expression and can certainly hold the key to unlimited potential…for health, success, relationships, spirituality…but only if you’re willing to dream and reach for the most valuable Public Domain content of all…ideas.