Fresh content is a must for survival in this informational world. Unfortunately, many web businesses are grabbing up all the Gutenberg, and RSS feed content in site. This strategy lacks for the long-term.
There is always the problem of duplicate content. Type in a sentence from one of your article pages into Google and see how many other sites have that exact same article – word for word. If you do not care about long-term results, stop here and you will still enjoy short-term financial gain. But if you are concerned about longevity and all you need is some content to work with, read on.
First of all, finding untapped free public domain content is getting difficult. Grabbing up all the free content, graphics, videos and slapping them up on a site is starting to wear thin not only with visitors but the search engines. It is not the free content that is the problem; it is how it is used.
Look at this from the standpoint of writing a research paper. Gather information from various Public Domain sources – then re-write it in a coherent manner that will not only appeal to your visitors, but will assist you in gaining Search Engine Traffic.
Did you know that US Government publications, including many websites are public domain? Here's a great search trick that lets you find US government webpage (s) that cover the topic you need. If you are not sure, US government sites have very clear copyright and terms pages on their sites. Look at them, because not all US state / local government sites allow copyright-free use.
For MSN, Altavista and Yahoo !, search for.gov sites using ".gov" and desired keyword phrase in the search field.
For Google, enter a desired keyword phrase plus "allinurl: .gov" in the search field. Verify that the results are in fact.gov sites.
In turn, any book published before 1922 is in the public domain. There are also literally thousands of books published past 1922 that did not renew their copyright in time and fell into the PD as well. Some of these PD books are online or available compiled into a collection. Keep in mind, compilations are a new work and are copyrighted , but the individual pre-1922 books included are not. To be on the safe side, you can often purchase the original, hard copy pre-1922 book online for your collection, and keep it in the event you are accused of copyright infringement from scraping the text from someone else.
Creative Commons licensing has the option for the author to allow commercial use, and there's quite a bit available. Just take an extra minute to verify what the license allows – sometimes it's only a link or a credit back to the author. The same thing for Flickr photos which also use Creative Commons; some of the photos only require a credit back to the photographer. We included on our list a link to a handy search form that allows you to query only commercially allowed CC licensed sources.
The sources we've provided do not require copyright checks, but it's still up to you to figure it out what's legal and what's not in the end.
First of all, some resources on US Copyright (beware does not apply to all countries) and alternative content licensing:
- US Copyright Office – http://www.copyright.gov/
- US Copyright and the Public Domain – http://www.copyright.cornell.edu/training/Hirtle_Public_Domain.htm
- Creative Commons licensing – creativecommons.org/about/licenses/
Sources: We have spent years compiling a great list of that including a wide variety of content sources which include videos / movies, graphics, manuals, text sources, information, tips; pretty much anything you would need on hundreds of topics. This list helps in the challenge of trying to increase fresh content and build traffic.