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Posts Tagged ‘copyright-free’

30 Covert Strategies to Generate Cash from Public Domain Content

I’m writing a new series of posts that break down the BEST ways to profit from Public Domain content. To kick the new series off, here is Strategy #1!

1. Publish Print Books. You would think that republishing books from the Public Domain would be a no-brainer strategy for marketers to pursue; especially with today’s high-quality POD technology; yet few actually do it. Here are a few covert approaches to consider for creating print books from Public Domain content: Rather than publish existing books as-is, consider pulling the BEST content from topically-related books to create a “new,” more laser-focused book with you listed as the editor or compiler. CreateSpace.com (owned by Amazon) makes it easy to create and publish your own print books, offering templates and step-by-step instructions!

Alternatively, also consider finding related magazine articles from the Public Domain and publish them in print form. Each article would represent a chapter (unless it’s a really short article). There are hundreds of thousands of pages of content available in the Public Domain in magazine form just waiting to be re-purposed. The goal here is to create print books that people actually want to buy and read rather than to just publish content for the sake of “getting it out there.” CreateSpace also enables you to publish full-color print books as well. The cost per unit is higher, but with the millions of photographs and illustrations available in the Public Domain, the opportunities here are endless.

Need ideas on topics to focus on? Here is a hot one…we are just now entering the timeframe of the 150 anniversary of the Civil War. For the next three years, there will be a LOT of celebrations and events related to this country-changing historical event! Capitalize on it!

The New Public Domain Mark

Creative Commons announced the release of its Public Domain Mark, a tool that enables works free of known copyright restrictions to be labeled in a way that allows them to be easily discovered over the Internet. The Public Domain Mark, to be used for marking works already free of copyright, complements Creative Commons’ CC0 public domain dedication, which enables authors to relinquish their rights prior to the expiration of copyright.

This is great news for those of us who use Public Domain-based content for product creation. The new Public Domain Mark will give us the ability to target keyword searches to find Public Domain content easier and faster than ever before! To learn more about the Creative Commons’ Public Domain Tools, click HERE!

Europeana—Europe’s digital library, museum and archive—is the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark. Europeana estimates that by mid-2011, the Public Domain Mark will be used in connection with millions of out-of-copyright works made available through its portal. With the adoption of this new standard at the highest levels of content preservation, it is likely that most other major content holders will adopt the standard as well. Which is GREAT news for us!

Today, Creative Commons announces the release of its Public Domain Mark, a tool that enables works free of known copyright restrictions to be labeled in a way that allows them to be easily discovered over the Internet. The Public Domain Mark, to be used for marking works already free of copyright, complements Creative Commons’ CC0 public domain dedication, which enables authors to relinquish their rights prior to the expiration of copyright.

“The Public Domain Mark is a further step on the path towards making the promise of a digital public domain a reality,” said Michael Carroll, a founding board member of Creative Commons and a law professor at American University.

Europeana—Europe’s digital library, museum and archive—is the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark. Europeana estimates that by mid-2011, the Public Domain Mark will be used in connection with millions of out-of-copyright works made available through its portal.

“An important part of our mandate is to ensure that digitized works made available through Europeana are properly labeled with rights information, including when a work is free of known copyright restrictions so that teachers, students and others can freely use it in their work, changing it and remixing it as they wish,” noted Jill Cousins, Executive Director of Europeana.

The Public Domain Mark in its current form is intended for use with works that are free of known copyright around the world, primarily old works that are beyond the reach of copyright in all jurisdictions. We have already started mapping the next phases of our public domain work, which will look at ways to identify and mark works that are in the public domain in a limited number of countries.

Need Music? The Public Domain Can Help!

If you are creating any types of audio or video-based products, chances are like that, sooner or later, you will need music for background, intros, outros and more. There are a number of excellent royalty-free options, like StockMusic.net. But what about the Public Domain? Are there any resources for great-sounding audio in the Public Domain? YES…there are!

When it comes to finding music in the Public Domain, the research is a bit trickier than, say, books or magazines. The primary reason for this is that the copyright protection afforded to music is governed by State laws, not Federal ones. Because of that, nearly ALL recorded music is off limits…even music recorded before 1923! The good news is that there are exceptions…and the exceptions are what I’m going to share here.

There are primarily two sites you will want to explore for finding recorded music in the Public Domain. Both sites chose to place their music in the Public Domain which makes them exceptions…it’s their right to do that.

The first site worth visiting is MusOpen. Their available music is almost exclusively orchestral. I really like the approach this site takes for the music. They find musical scores that are in the Public Domain and then approach high school, college and other orchestras to perform the pieces. Once recorded, the music is then donated back into the Public Domain and made available on their website. They offer some great choices.

The second site I want to share with you today is one that is new to me. It’s called FreePD, and similar to MusOpen, the music on this site was also donated to the Public Domain…but for a different reason. The contemporary music you’ll find on this site was part of a collection of music generated by a working musician who wanted to give back some of the huge amounts of music he creates on a regular basis. The result is this website. I’ve listened to a number of tracks here and the music is quite good. You will find contemporary, rock and other genres on the site. It’s not a huge collection, but definitely worth checking out!

I hope you find these two sites helpful to your product creation efforts. If you know of any other sources for recorded music in the Public Domain, feel free to share them with all of us in the comments below! Thanks!

New Publishing Options with PubIt!

Barnes & Noble just provided us with a new opportunity for profiting from our e-books (like those from the Public Domain). Their new program, just launched October 5th, is called, PubIt! and gives anyone the ability to publish e-books for their Nook reader. What makes this a worthwhile consideration is, first of all, PubIt! uses the epub format, just like Apple’s iBooks for the iPad, Sony’s e-Reader and other devices. Second, Barnes & Noble has apps to offer their books on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and the PC.

After signing up for my own account, I did some investigating to see if B&N said anything about the Public Domain. Here is an excerpt from their terms concerning copyright:

Copyright Infringing: Material to which you do not own the copyright or the right to distribute. Public domain content may be posted to PubIt!. Barnes & Noble may, at any time, request validation that a given eBook qualifies as a public domain title.

So the good news is that the door is wide open for Public Domain titles. Now before you get the bright idea to upload PD titles and load them with links to other products and offers, you will also want to consider this statement as well, again from the PubIt! website:

Advertisements: Material contained within your eBook that primarily seeks to sell a product other than the eBook itself is prohibited.

In case you are wondering what kind of profits can we make from selling our e-books through PubIt!, here is a breakdown of the royalty structure:

Publisher will be paid a royalty off the List Price according to the following terms:

1. For eBooks with a List Price at or between $2.99 and $9.99 – 65% of the List Price

2. For eBooks with a List Price at or below $2.98 or at or greater than $10.00 (but not more than $199.99 and not less than $0.99) – 40% of the List Price

So, if you haven’t figured it our yet, keep your prices in the $2.99 to $9.99 price range…grin. With Barnes & Noble jumping into the e-publishing bookstore fray along with Apple’s iBook store and Amazon’s Kindle, the future is looking mighty bright for those who choose to sell e-books (and not just Public Domain e-books…hint…hint) through these marketplaces.

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!

http://www.usa.gov

http://www.searchgov.com

http://www.searchmil.com

http://www.google.com/unclesam (also…google.com: search for [keyword] .gov)

http://www.gpoaccess.gov

http://www.loc.gov (Library of Congress)

http://www.ntis.gov (Find docs advertised here and then search for PDFs on usa.gov)

http://www.business.gov

http://www.regulations.gov

http://www.voanews.com

http://www.archives.gov (National Archives and Records Administration)

http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/BasicSearchForm (Archival Research Catalog)

http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/ (Archives Library Information Center)

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html (American Memory)

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/ (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!

Print and Photographs Online Catalog Updated

For months the curators and technologists at the Library of Congress have been working together on a spectacular (and welcome) revamp of the Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. The online collection can now be found at the easy-to-remember address of www.loc.gov/pictures/ — with many images available for downloading.

Some of the new features include creative new ways to browse their 1.25 million online prints and photos, such as grids that give a quick overview of dozens of images at once and even a slideshow format that lets you toggle bibliographic information on and off.

The interface is reminiscent of other existing sites that offer powerful ways to search for and display images, such as the ever-popular Flickr.  In celebration of this new milestone, the LOC has posted a new set of highlight images from the Library called “Meet More Treasures.”  They consider it a thank you to all of those who have found value and pleasure in the Library’s priceless collections of more than 14 million pictures (both online and in their physical collections). I for one am grateful since I’ve found value (in the form of income) and pleasure from this site. Many of you have as well

Little-Known Public Domain Secrets

It’s no surprise that there are a number of marketing folks who talk about Public Domain content. I don’t have the exclusive on the topic…expert or not. Of course, most give their primary focus to books…and rightly so…but books are just one branch in a massive tree of content possibilities. Other “branches” include images, magazines, patents, movies, audios…the list goes on and on. But in today’s post, I’m going to lead you to another branch that very few marketers, if any, are talking about with regard to the Public Domain. I’ve hinted at a few of the “leaves” of this branch in the past…today I’m going to focus your attention on a few more.

Our discussion for this post and posts to come draws from a curious paragraph found in Copyright Circular 40 on Works of the Visual Arts. It’s no secret that I LOVE the visual arts in all its forms, but today we’ll look at them with a spin…NOT considering content that was once copyrighted but is now in the Public Domain, but rather, content that was NEVER copyrighted (and never will be). It’s content you use everyday and likely never considered it for product creation. And that’s the exact reason why I’m mentioning it now.

The paragraph I referenced earlier from Circular 40 reads as follows:

Copyright protection for an original work of authorship does not extend to the following:

  • Ideas, concepts, discoveries, principles
  • Formulas, processes, systems, methods, procedures
  • Words or short phrases, such as names, titles, and slogans
  • Familiar symbols or designs
  • Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring

Now I am not planning to focus on all these “non-copyrightable” options in this post…I just want to spurn you to think about just ONE bit of content differently today. We’ll get to others in future posts. As a matter of fact, I’ve already written a post previously about IDEAS which you really should read HERE.Today, however, I want to take a look at the last option: Mere variations of typographic ornamentation, lettering, or coloring.

One of the reasons I wanted to look at this type of Public Domain content is because it’s the exact type of content that I discussed briefly in my previous article on Aeropostale. Defining this content is rather easy because you are “using” it right now…letters, numbers, ornaments and colors! Now, about now, you might be thinking, “Okay Tony…book content I can see for products, even images and magazines…but letters? Like A or T or Z?

Yeah! Letters! Letters and symbols are the basis for all our written (and in some cases visual) communication. They represent specific concepts to us regardless of our language or worldview. And so, while the letters, “Z”, “P”, “A” and “I” may seem to offer no possible relevance to us for product creation, the word, “PIZZA” instantly conjures memories of images, tastes, smells and experiences…at least it does for me. More than that though, you and I have the legal right to use that word, pizza, or the letters that make it up, to create ANY type of product we choose…as evidenced by the yellow-stripped shirt I’m wearing right now with “A87″ embroidered on the pocket (yes, I bought it at Aeropostale)! To you and me, “A87″ means very little if anything, but to Aeropostale, it means a multi-million dollar business and brand!

Here is another question to consider…what does “STOP” mean to you? And in how many ways have you seen those letters in that configuration used in products of all types? What about the color “red” as it’s used with a stop sign? The color “red” carries meaning to it…think about it…you don’t see “green” stop signs! Why? It sends the wrong message…and that message is conveyed with a color and four letters.

Let me offer one more example (I could provide thousands) in the form of another question…when you see the numbers 0, 1 and 9, they don’t mean too much right? But what about 9/11/01? Every American knows what THAT number combination stands for…and those numbers in that combination has generated tens of millions of dollars! How about this set of numbers: 12-25? Merry Christmas! I hope you are beginning to get my drift.

You know what this means, right? :-) A very common symbol online…a smiley face…that has been worth millions in one form or another!

It’s likely that you have not consciously considered what possible products could be created with the combination of letters, numbers, symbols and colors. My hope is that this post will challenge you to consider new possibilities in your quest for best-selling products. Think outside the box and brainstorm how a letter or two might be able to transform your business!

Shapeshifting Public Domain Content

Stories of shapeshifting exist in every culture and take on many forms of transformation…from Zeus in Greek Mythology to the recent Twilight series where members of the Quileute tribe shapeshift into wolves. Even in our childhood stories we see the Beast transform into a Prince in “Beauty and the Beast”…and let’s not forget the infamous Frog looking for that special kiss. But what do these “myths” of shapeshifting have to do with Public Domain content? Plenty!

Content from the Public Domain…whether it exists in the form of a book, a magazine, a photograph or something else…was already established, proven if you will, in that form. The books were already published and read by thousands or tens of thousands of people…the same with magazines. But because that book or magazine is now in the Public Domain, we can legally use its content for anything we choose without any type of royalty or legal recourse. And there are a LOT of ways that we can adapt, or shapeshift, that content.

As an example, take a look at the text found HERE. It’s an article I scanned from a 1950’s Popular Photography magazine in the Public Domain. It’s a great article, and certainly relevant still today. Now, in its original form, it was a magazine article.  How can we shapeshift that content into new forms? Here are some thoughts…

  1. A Blog Post
  2. An Article on Article Sites
  3. Break-up for an Autoresponder Series
  4. A Free Report
  5. Record an Audio Version for a Podcast
  6. Turn into a Powerpoint Slide Video
  7. Read Live on a Video Camera
  8. Discuss on BlogTalkRadio
  9. Include in an E-Zine
  10. Use as a Chapter of an E-Book or Print book
  11. Create a Squidoo Lens from It
  12. Re-Publish in a New Print Magazine

And so, as you can see from the dozen samples above, it’s pretty easy to shapeshift just about ANY text content from the Public Domain into a new form…whether free or as a money-making product. The same is true for images. Take the image of Sitting Bull shown below, for instance. On the left is the original image from the Public Domain. On the right is a new image I created in Photoshop from the original.

Now, with this new image (or even with the old one quite honestly), I could shapeshift it into…

  1. A T-Shirt Design
  2. A Poster
  3. A Skateboard Design
  4. A Blanket or Tapestry
  5. A Mousepad
  6. A Coffee Mug
  7. Any of the Other Products on CafePress or Zazzle
  8. A Postage Stamp Design
  9. An Illustration for an Article
  10. A Fine Art Canvas Framed Print

I think you get the picture (no pun intended). And the best part is that I can create nearly endless variations of new art based on that one original photograph from the Public Domain. Shapeshifting at its best!

So, hopefully, this post has inspired you to consider doing a little shapeshifting of your own. The possibilities are are waiting for your own innovation and creativity. And like it says in my blog header graphic:

Proven Content + Creative Innovation = Successful, NEW Products!

Learn MORE about how to “shapeshift” Public Domain Content HERE:

Public Domain Explained

Easy Money Picture Project

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