The Public Domain – Where to find what you want

In the last post we spoke about certain dates concerning the Public Domain. This post is about where you can find the relevant material you are looking for be it a book, photo, film, painting or music.


First of all let’s get one thing clear – apparently there are NO SOUND RECORDINGS available in the Public Domain in the USA until 2067.

In fact sound recordings are usually adaptations of the original works which means in the UK it’s the same as it is for books – 70 years from the composers or creators death.

You can however record your own version of a musical composition by a composer such as Mozart as the sheet music is in the Public Domain which you can download for free.

There is also another way to get around this anomaly. There is a great source of freely available recordings from Here you will find a collection of songs/music produced by American artist Kevin Macleod.

These are distributed under a Creative Commons licence. The only condition of use is that you credit him if you use it – not too much to ask is it!


This is the main product sought by those interested in making a business out of the Public Domain. Trouble is there are so many sites offering such books just where do you start?

A fantastic site to visit is ebookfriendly. On this one site you get 25 different sites offering free books which are in the Public Domain.

Good old Project Gutenburg is there ( probably the most quoted of all Public Domain sites if you’re after books) alongside one called Europeana which offers access to millions of items from European libraries, museums and archives.If you want audio-books try Librivox – I had a quick scan of it and it looks promising as they’re always adding to it. They’re also looking for volunteer readers if you fancy recording a book yourself !


The New York Public Library has released 20,000 16th – 19th century  historical maps mainly the USA and New York but also some other countries for free download.

You can also digitally align them with current maps if you download their mapwarper.

Go to for more information.


For these types of creative works try visiting Wikimedia Commons. It has a database of millions of freely available images, sounds and videos.

A great site to look at with regard to the Public Domain is COPYRIGHTUSER.ORG

Although it mainly concentrates on the Public Domain in the UK it has great explanations as to what’s in the Public Domain  regarding literature, music, paintings in fact any creative work. It’s definitely one to visit.

One important thing to note is even if the product you want is in the Public Domain it might mean it’s free to use as you want but it doesn’t mean it’s free to download! After all you may find an old book in a second hand shop and it may well be in the public domain but you still have to buy it to use it.

The same applies online – one guy I know has compiled 80+ self help books, all of which are in the public domain including all the well known ones and burned them on to a CD. You can use all of these books as you wish but you have to buy the CD to be able to do so.

The above information is obviously a start if you want to make a go of making a business out of the Public Domain and I hope you’ve found it useful.

But if you’re serious you may want to have a bit more help in actually HOW to do it, such as finding the right product or even an idea of a product, how to make it your own and how to market it.

If this is the case go here for the Public Domain eClass. It has all you need to start a business using the Public Domain as the source of all your products.

The public domain is also very handy for researching subjects suitable for short reports – often only 7 – 15 pages long. Write one of these and get paid for years as they will always be available. For more information on this very lucrative area of writing an publishing your own work just click here

Please comment on the above or anything else you’ve read on this site. Is there something you particularly want to know? Maybe you already have your own PD business – if so has anything I offer been of help to you?

I love getting feedback so feel free.

Here’s to your success

Jim Crossman

Digital Wealth 4 You

 PS: For a three week, fast track downloadable course on how to make a business from the Public Domain go to the

Public Domain eClass

PPS: For more information on writing short reports visit How To Write A 7-15 Page Special Report Just Once And Get Paid Many Times Over For It.