Public Domain

February 7, 2008 · Posted in Tools · 6 Comments 

For those not familiar with United States Copyright Law, this post won’t help. I don’t really understand it. I do know that after some books get old they enter what is called the “Public Domain.” That basically means that the right to make and distribute copies belongs to everyone. That is why DVDs of old movies cost a dollar, and why the old classic books only cost a couple dollars when the new garbage costs 20 or 30. Basically you don’t have to pay the author, just the publisher and distributor. That says a lot about why some movies cost 30 dollars and some cost 1 dollar. As for books, well, I have to plug one of my favorite sources for reading material:

For those not familiar with, it is a place to find many of the public domain books. They are even starting one for music, where you can download the sheet music in the public domain. Gutenberg strives to create an etext for every public domain book. I have found some of my favorite books there, downloaded them and read them for free from my computer. Some of them come as pdfs ready to print if you prefer the printed type (although sometimes the book at Bookmans is cheaper than the paper). From gutenberg I stumbled upon (not using stumbleupon) a site called

For those not familiar with, it is a location to find ‘audio-books’ of the public domain titles found elsewhere (mainly on gutenberg). I do enjoy reading, but with the family, school, work, church, and work around the house I don’t have much time to read. I do have at least 30 minutes in the car each day, and some days a few hours, so I started downloading books from librivox to “read” while on the road. I find it absolutely wonderful.

For those not familiar with these websites, please know that they are run by volunteers. Gutenberg and Librivox are always looking for volunteers to edit, type, and record books. I have never had any issues with the accuracy of the text from Gutenberg. I have found some of the reading styles of people on librivox annoying (especially when a woman or man tries to imitate the vocal range of a character of the opposite sex, rendering the words nearly incomprehensible). For the most part, however, it is better than purchasing an audio book from a trained, professional reader.

For all those familiar with other wonderful websites such as these, where public domain material is available for the taking, please let me know, as I am likely unaware of them.

One last mention is, the location where all the gutenberg and librivox files are stored. Also the repository for many old movies/recordings/ads/propaganda/whatever old media should be archived. I have found some great old recordings and movies on there. It has software, books, and websites archived as well. Take a stroll back in time with

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