- The Washington Times - Friday, September 29, 2006

This may not be the usual place to make such an announcement, but I’m leaving The Washington Times. Thanks to a new book which I’ve received, there are untold riches to be had in using “free” intellectual property, and I’m off to seek my fortune.

Well, not really — I’m kidding about my departure. The good Lord willing, I’ll be here online, and in print, for some time to come.

But Stephen Fishman, an attorney and legal writer, isn’t kidding about the uses (and abuses) of public domain books, music, photos, and what-have-you. “The Public Domain: How to Find Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More,” is the title of Mr. Fishman’s new book from Nolo, a personal legal publisher. I’m just diving into the contents, but it’s interesting, to say the least. According to Stanford University law professor Lawrence Lessig, “The constitutional guarantee of a public domain was one of the Framers’ most important gifts to our cultural tradition. This extraordinary book makes real the value of that gift in the 21st Century.”

I do know people, mostly in the self-improvement genre, who are apparently making money with public domain stuff, but perhaps there’s more to it. If you start seeing Fiji in my column’s dateline, you’ll know I found the secret. Meanwhile, Mr. Fishman’s book might be very useful to those of us charged with stocking Web sites full of content.

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