How Can I Use Public Domain Text?

10 replies
Hey everybody,

I have been reading and studying self improvement (law of attraction) from six years now.

Over the past years I have realized that the best courses on the topic are in the public domain now.

I wish to create a info product some day on the law of attraction, so I was wondering since the text for books like Science of getting rich etc is now in public domain, can I use the info to help me create my own home study course?

I know many people do recycle content but what I am talking about is using the exact terminology of famous authors to make my point.

Is it completely legal or I am missing something here?
#domain #info product creation #public #text
  • Profile picture of the author onSubie
    If it is public domain, then yes.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Be sure the work you take your information from is in the public domain (which means there is no copyright on that work).

      So if you use narrative from The Science of Getting Rich, make sure the copy you take the text from is the actual 1910 book by Wallace Wattles. There are a bunch of "reprints" of this book that you can buy on eBay or Amazon, but they will be copyrighted and most likely will have different formatting, maybe images, etc.

      The original publication you can copy . . . but later versions of that publication will carry a copyright, even if not explicitly stated in the ebook.

      Good luck to you,

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
    Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

    Hey everybody,

    I have been reading and studying self improvement (law of attraction) from six years now.

    Over the past years I have realized that the best courses on the topic are in the public domain now.

    I wish to create a info product some day on the law of attraction, so I was wondering since the text for books like Science of getting rich etc is now in public domain, can I use the info to help me create my own home study course?

    I know many people do recycle content but what I am talking about is using the exact terminology of famous authors to make my point.

    Is it completely legal or I am missing something here?
    Using the exact wording of the original authors can work sometimes, but many times, the meaning is unclear because the phrasing and the grammatical construction is somewhat archaic.

    Many times, the point can be better made with writing form many older texts if you put it into your own words. Public domain and copyright laws do vary from country to country so its important to check where the work was published to make sure it is actually in the public domain.
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    • Profile picture of the author Anoopchawla
      Originally Posted by Michael Shook View Post

      Using the exact wording of the original authors can work sometimes, but many times, the meaning is unclear because the phrasing and the grammatical construction is somewhat archaic.

      Many times, the point can be better made with writing form many older texts if you put it into your own words. Public domain and copyright laws do vary from country to country so its important to check where the work was published to make sure it is actually in the public domain.
      Most of the times I won't be using the exact words, but I just want to make sure that I won't have any issues even if I do.

      I am willing to dedicate a few more years to fully understand public domain text such as Science of getting rich etc, but I want to make sure that after years of practice when I teach the same principles with a few similar words I don't get sued.

      Also the thing to notice here is I will be completely re-branding all the stuff I learn from the public domain and sell it as my own rather than selling it as someone who teaches a course on the famous book science of getting rich.
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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Shook
        Originally Posted by Anoopchawla View Post

        Most of the times I won't be using the exact words, but I just want to make sure that I won't have any issues even if I do.

        I am willing to dedicate a few more years to fully understand public domain text such as Science of getting rich etc, but I want to make sure that after years of practice when I teach the same principles with a few similar words I don't get sued.

        Also the thing to notice here is I will be completely re-branding all the stuff I learn from the public domain and sell it as my own rather than selling it as someone who teaches a course on the famous book science of getting rich.
        I am not a lawyer, but I would think based on what you have described here, that there is no reason for you to be sued for using public domain text in this way.

        You can't copyright an idea, only the exact way that the idea is presented.
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  • Profile picture of the author drem
    Hi Anoopchawla,

    If the work truly is in public domain, then you won't have any issues even if you use the author's exact words. Once a book is in the public domain, it's no longer copyrighted.

    Best of luck to you with your course!
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  • Profile picture of the author dbrwn
    Like was mentioned from another individual on this thread, as long as the work is in the public domain, you shouldn't have any real problems with it. Any and all public domain stuff is leagal to use in any way that you see fit to use it. So yes, you can use it to create home study courses if you like.
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  • Profile picture of the author Leron Ford
    You can. In fact, on Udemy there are 2 courses based on this exact book.
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