I've been 'missing' for the last couple of months - no blog. I'll tell you why.....
I think it was back in August that we started selling La Pashe products on www.printableheaven.com and this, fortunately, gave me a bit of breathing space. It meant that I didn't have to design so much in the way of card-making products so I could get on with what I'd been waiting to get on with for ages - public domain DVDs.
The first one I started working on was Arthur Rackham (www.printableheaven.com/rackhamdvd) - just love his illustrations. As he died in 1939 his work is out of copyright, or in the 'public domain', for all countries that follow the rule of lifetime plus 70 years (which includes most countries except the US).
For the US the rules are, or were, a little different in that it's the date of the work that's taken into account rather than the death date of the author/artist. For our DVD, however, it just means that there is one book on there (Wind in the Willows) that's out of copyright in the UK but not yet in the US (for that reason we have a US version of the DVD which has 12 less images on it at www.printableheaven.com/rackhamdvdus). As there are well over 600 images on both DVDs, I'm sure our US friends won't particularly miss those 12!
I will go on in future blogs to explain a little more about the copyright rules but I thought I'd tell you first how I discovered the concept of public domain.......
It was in September 2009 that my step-father went into residential care at the age of 82 and suffering from lung-cancer (having been a smoker for 70 years!). His flat was going on the market and my sisters and I had the arduous task of clearing out his smoky-smelling, yellowed things. We'd been running Printable Heaven for a while - I designed card-making decorations using a graphics programme which usually took some time.....
From a drawer my sister pulled a tatty book. It perhaps hadn't been on the bookshelf as it was in quite a state but my mum (when she was alive) and my step-father didn't like to throw anything away. She flicked through the book and handed it to me saying 'You're the arty one, you might like this'. The book, which I still have, was a book from around 1960 about advertising posters.
We'd just converted our double garage at the time into a lovely workspace with gorgeous walnut flooring and I wanted to put some suitable pictures up. Seemed sacrilege to break up the book so I looked on the internet to see if I could find some of the same pictures to print off and frame for the garage.
I don't remember what happened next..... somehow I fell into this magical world of public domain and realised that there was a whole treasure trove out there of pictures that could quite legitimately be scanned and used - and that we could make money from.
My first public domain book purchase was from a local shop in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex and I didn't even know if the pictures would be out of copyright when I bought it - I was fortunate that they were. It was The Everyday Fairy book with illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith, whose pictures I love.
I now have a vast collection of out of copyright books, magazines and pictures - so many that I've regretfully had to start selling them on Ebay (to make room for more!)
The pictures here are all by Arthur Rackham from A Midsummer Night's Dream. If you want to see our full (and growing) range of public domain DVDs, see www.printableheaven.com/pdildvd