References to the phrase “public domain” understandably give the impression that one is speaking about public utilities or public areas. One thinks of downtown squares, playgrounds, parks, or federal land. You can’t trespass in these areas or be arrested for loitering. These places are essentially open to the public.
Many folks, however, are not aware that these words also refer to a category of intellectual property. Books, images, photographs, music and movies and whose copyrights have expired or were never copyrighted when they were originally produced. These items are legally and officially regarded as works in the public domain. The public has access to them without qualification and need not seek anyone’s permission to make use of their contents.
You might want to think about this if you are interested in producing, selling or sharing information products. Why? Because awareness of public domain works and a little business acumen can help you develop a successful business.
Ask Ted Turner. Public domain films helped him found a successful movie channel. And don’t forget about Walt Disney. He developed some of the most popular and profitable animated features of all time based on fairly tales that have been a stable of western culture for centuries.
Bottom line, you can make money with public domain works – whether you’re just looking for some extra income or want to create a multi-million dollar business.
If this is something that sparks some interest, you might want to check out some of the resources below. We will discuss some ways of making use of some of the public domain content available on these websites in a future article:
Bartleby.com – 1000s of free ebooks, including encyclopedias, dictionaries and a large selection of fiction.
Bibliomania – Over 2,000 free ebooks and study guides.
eServer – Large database of public domain and copyright free works. Over 40,000 at this writing.
GPO Access – Database of government publications in the public domain. Easily searchable.
GRIN: Great Images in NASA – Government database of Space Agency photos.
Internet Archive – 1000s of ebooks, audio and video files in the public domain.
Literature.org – An online literature library. Complete texts of classics in the public domain.
Litrix Reading Room – All free public domain books in HTML format. Sci-fi, westerns and mystery classics and more.
PDInfo – This site lists public domain music. Over 3500 songs are referenced.
Project Gutenberg – The most famous and comprehensive database of public domain works online. Over 16,000 ebooks available at no cost.
Public Domain Images – Very lage database of public domain and copyright free images.