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How to Use Public Domain Information To Your Best Advantage

Aug 17, 2007
Public domain information is the body of knowledge (writing, art, music, inventions) to which no person or other legal entity can establish or maintain proprietary interests.

In other words, no one can claim ownership!

How does that benefit you?

Product creation is one step in the information marketing process. Public domain information can provide a seemingly endless supply of ready-made products from which you can benefit financially. There are several requirements that must be met before a creative work can be republished in your own name. If you neglect to jump through these hoops you can find yourself on the short end of a large lawsuit.

The first issue is to determine if the product is indeed in the public domain. If the book was written before 1923 then it automatically falls into public domain. If the copyright was not renewed then after a certain number of years the book would fall into public domain.

You can make a preliminary search at the U.S. Copyright Office's free online search where you'll find that most works between 1950 to present have been entered into the database. There is a short tutorial on the site to teach you how to use it.

Once you have determined to your satisfaction that the book is in public domain you might want to start the process of making a digital copy. Before publishing and marketing a copy of your new work you should have a certified report generated from the Library of Congress that certifies your work is in the public domain at the time of your request. This report will be necessary to protect your interests should the copyright come into question.

The financial benefits to using public domain information can be quite substantial. Doing a search on Matt Furey or Ted Ciuba and you'll find those two particular marketers took books from the public domain and built an empire around them.

Matt Furey found a book of wrestling moves that had fallen into public domain. He added his information, republished and the rest is history. Ted Ciuba used the famous book "Think And Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill. This book is freely available in digital format. Ted Ciuba reworked a piece of it, republished it and copyrighted it under his name. He has built an entire business around the principles from that book.

Books are not the only possibility. There are art pieces that can be republished and sold; movies that can be made to MP4 files and played on PSP players; music that can be remastered for MP3 files. Another option could be audio books of some of the old children's classics. Look through the potential files and use your imagination.

How do you find these works? There are several places you can start. At Project Gutenburg they have amassed a digital library of over 1700 ebooks that fall into public domain. You can also browse through the online store called Books for A Buck to find other sources of all creative works that are in public domain.

Using public domain information can be cost effective if you find a book that has already been made to digital format. You might take on the challenge of typing the book into a computer yourself if it isn't digital or use a typist from Elance. The largest expense is the certified report from the Library of Congress. Starting in July 2006 they significantly increased their prices from less than $75.00 for a certified report to $300.00. Apparently use of public domain information is skyrocketing and the Library of Congress is taking advantage of the laws of supply and demand.

Even with the expense of a certified report using work from the public domain can be cost effective and add credibility to your effort. This is a resource that holds real potential for marketers today.
About the Author
Jo Han Mok is a #1 bestselling author and frequent featured speaker at Internet Marketing bootcamps and conferences. Visit his website for a simple step-by-step plan to profit online in 21 days or less!
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