Copyright question regarding old books.

6 replies
For example:

1. Think and Grow Rich
2. The Science of Getting Rich


My question is, since these works are so old, are they considered public domain content?

Basically I'm wondering if it would be ok to go over works like these and expand and explain concepts from these books as it relates to my blog audience in video and audio format?

I know The Secret was basically a condensed work of titles like I listed above. So I have to imagine on some level you can remake the content in your own view as it relates to your audience?

Any details/resources/links on information where I can find what is and is not allowed would be great.
#books #copyright #question
  • Profile picture of the author David Hooper
    If you do something with either these books or other older works, be absolutely sure the version you're putting out is in the public domain. Lots of derivative works out there, which don't count and can get you in trouble.

    Assuming you have something actually in the public domain though, you can definitely expand on works to create your own derivative. At that point, you're good to copyright the new work.

    If you're going to go big, definitely have a copyright attorney do a check for you, just to cover your bases in the event you get sued or something. You'll want to show that you did your due diligence.

    This is coming from a guy who has been in Federal Court for copyright infringement, by the way.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    The Science Of Getting Rich is public domain. Think and Grow Rich is not.
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    • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
      Originally Posted by David Hooper View Post

      If you do something with either these books or other older works, be absolutely sure the version you're putting out is in the public domain. Lots of derivative works out there, which don't count and can get you in trouble.

      Assuming you have something actually in the public domain though, you can definitely expand on works to create your own derivative. At that point, you're good to copyright the new work.

      If you're going to go big, definitely have a copyright attorney do a check for you, just to cover your bases in the event you get sued or something. You'll want to show that you did your due diligence.

      This is coming from a guy who has been in Federal Court for copyright infringement, by the way.
      Thanks. Not looking to resell the works or anything like that. Was thinking more along the lines of explaining the ideas and concepts in my own words in audio or video for blog content.

      Really wouldn't even know where to look to begin reading up on the legalities of such things.


      Originally Posted by travlinguy View Post

      The Science Of Getting Rich is public domain. Think and Grow Rich is not.
      Thanks. How can you tell? There are other works I'm interested in as well. How would I go about finding out what is and isn't in the public domain?
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      • Profile picture of the author psresearch
        Originally Posted by Robert M Gouge View Post

        Thanks. Not looking to resell the works or anything like that. Was thinking more along the lines of explaining the ideas and concepts in my own words in audio or video for blog content.

        Really wouldn't even know where to look to begin reading up on the legalities of such things.

        Thanks. How can you tell? There are other works I'm interested in as well. How would I go about finding out what is and isn't in the public domain?
        The Jassin Office - Publishing Law, Intellectual Property, Entertainment Contracts, Trademark Registration, Branding,*and Copyright Law is a great site to start getting a handle on these issues.
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        • Profile picture of the author Tina Golden
          If you are not copying the work word-for-word, you can do what you have in mind without worrying about copyright infringement anyway. Just quote the work with attribution and then going on to expand upon the concept. Obviously, you can't quote large chunks but with a blog, I would assume you would just discuss one idea per post.
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          • Profile picture of the author Robert M Gouge
            Originally Posted by Tina Golden View Post

            If you are not copying the work word-for-word, you can do what you have in mind without worrying about copyright infringement anyway. Just quote the work with attribution and then going on to expand upon the concept. Obviously, you can't quote large chunks but with a blog, I would assume you would just discuss one idea per post.
            This is correct.

            So if I were to say something like 'A concept from Think and Grow Rich blah blah blah my own words blah blah' would be ok?

            I've been looking at finding copyrights for products, but due to works being out of print it seems it can be quite a daunting task. If Think and Grow rich is copyright protected it's odd that there is, and has been, a direct link in the top 10 in google for this book in pdf and the copy has no copyright information on the pages anywhere:confused:
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