Finding Public Domain Works You Can Use In Your Home Business

Using Public Domain Works In Your Home Business

When you are looking for public domain works that you can use in your home business you should take note of the following to ensure that you do not run into copyright  problems in the future.

Material created on January 1, 1978 or after is automatically protected by copyright until 70 years after the author has passed away.

Material created and published prior to 1923 is within the public domain.

Material created from 1923 – 1963 may be protected by copyright if renewed.

When published with a copyright notice © or “Copyright [dates] by [author/owner]” – copyright protection lasts 28 years and could be renewed for an additional 67 years for a total of 95 years. If not renewed, now in public domain.


So now that you know what public domain is, how can you begin to dig through the archives and content databases to find high quality public domain that you can repackage and resell?

There are a few ways to begin investigating public domain material including:

Hire An Attorney
There are many law firms that will perform a copyright search on your behalf and provide you with information as to whether you are able to use the content or material as you wish.

Do It Yourself
This can take a bit of time but is a free alternative, and using various online resources, it’s relatively easy to find and verify public domain works.

You can search through the copyright office at: as well as the Catalog of Copyright Entries, available at:

There are quite a few incredible sources for exploring through the public domain directories including:

The Gutenberg project is by far, the best resource for finding and download public domain material.

You can search through the most popular 100 book downloads, or recent downloads from other users, as well as use their search utility to explore specific topics and categories.

It’s an invaluable resource and one that you should bookmark and refer to often.

If you are interested in participating in the Gutenberg project, you can sign up to become a proofreader and evaluate public domain books, turning them into digital products for free distribution. also offers public domain books in various languages including Hungarian, Chinese, Russian, Polish and even Mayan.

They also feature audio versions of the public domain books, available for free download.

Another useful public domain tool is available at:

AbeBooks is an extensive network of books found within the public domain, as well as rare and out of print books, and features a built-in search engine that you can use to find books in specific categories or topics.

You can also limit the dates that are included in your search, which is a great way to ensure that the books that come up are available for us within the public domain.

Just be sure to place your search to collect results from 1963 or before, remembering that a small percentage of public domain material from between 1923 and 1963 may be copyright protected, but only a very small number of copyrights were renewed, meaning that there are literally thousands of books and material up for grabs.

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