ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

5 Pros and Cons of Publishing Public Domain Content

Updated on September 24, 2014

Before I go into why the Public Domain is a source of passive income, I'm going to explain what the Public Domain is. This is a place online where all works posted are supposed to be out of copyright. This includes older works created by an author who has been dead at least 70 years, as well as content donated by other people. The intent is that this material is free for distribution and there is no copyright to restrict that distribution.

It seems like a gold mine for the taking. There are thousands upon thousands of texts, videos, and audio files that could potentially make money. However, like most things, it really isn't that simple. I'm going to give you two pros and three cons of publishing Public Domain works as eBooks, iTunes podcasts, etc. It's not cut and dry so please read the following for an introductory look at where you can go right and where you can go wrong.

Pros:

1. You have a seemingly endless amount of content you can profit from. It is there and the likelihood someone has already exploited all of it is ridiculously remote and not even a rational thought at this point. Well-read people can take advantage of classical works and authors most people would not even know about. People looking to publish within a niche will likely find a huge supply of content to profit from. There is so much and most of it has yet to be placed in the view of the public. Most people do not even know the Public Domain exists or that there are so many works within it.

2. Most of the content is completely worry free. If someone has been dead for a decade, they can't claim ownership of the content. A great example of exploiting content like this is Disney. Disney made an empire off of Public Domain content. You can breathe easy publishing these works. Some people have tried to copyright these works butt US copyright law does not support "starting the clock anew." If this were the case, the Public Domain would have already been stripped bare.

Cons:

1. If you're looking to publish on Kindle, repeat publishing is not allowed. You cannot publish a work that is already published to Kindle unless it is translated, illustrated, or in some way different than the original work. I recommend searching the title on the Kindle store prior to publishing. It will save you a lot of work. If you can't publish to Kindle, Google Play, Nook, Kobu and other platforms allow the publishing of Public Domain content without these restrictions....yet.

2. Sometimes people who put their works in the Public Domain cry foul and say their works are not in the Public Domain. You typically make peanuts off of these works and Kindle will sometimes block your account without hearing your side. I almost lost my account, complete with my own works, because someone claimed they never put their work on the Public Domain. I immediately submitted the link to Kindle and offered to reimburse the author the $3.20 I made from his book. My account was reinstated and I never heard back from the author. Be prepared to deal with that if the author still has a pulse.

3. Don't expect to get rich off of one or two works. Regardless of where you publish these works, one or two titles don't hack it. You need to spend a lot of time researching good titles and publishing. Find translations of these works already on the Public Domain. Keep at it and soon you will be making regular sales from the variety of content.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)