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Yes, Freebies are Real! If you tell someone that something is free, they immediately start looking for the catch. After all, the words of wisdom ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? have usually been proven true for people time and again throughout life, and so a healthy cynicism towards free stuff usually springs up with good reason. If you are one of these skeptical types, however, you may be missing out on some really great stuff. The truth is that you CAN get free things that are really and truly free, and yes, actually worth having. You just have to know where to look. OK, here is where the caveat comes in. The definition of ?free? often depends on the definition of ?cost.? As any economist can tell you, cost really doesn?t only come down to how much money you have to hand over to get something. There are additional costs, like inconvenience and time spent doing something. And true, some freebies have these ?non monetary? kinds of costs associated with them. You have to balance all of the costs with the value of the free stuff you are getting and decide if it is worth it to you. The two biggest costs associated with freebies? Time and convenience are at the top of the list. Time is a big factor in many free offers. Companies want a bit of your time in exchange for their free products. Indeed, some companies literally want hours of your time. Have you ever taken advantage of one of those ?free weekend vacation? offers in which you received free accommodation in a beach house or condo for a weekend in exchange for suffering through a long presentation and intense sales pitch? For some people, they can handle the presentation and have no qualms about refusing to buy anything and the free vacation more than makes up for it. Other people would rather pay any price to avoid having to listen to one of these spiels. So, while these weekends are freebies, for some people, they cost too much. More often, a company wants your time in a less obvious way ? they want you to spend time filling out forms. These forms may simply be your name, address and email address, or they may be very lengthy, quizzing you about buying habits and the like. The reason the companies want you to do these forms is often for market research, and they are more than happy to give you a freebie in exchange for this. Many people find the time spent filling out these forms will worth it to get a great free product. Convenience is the other cost involved with many freebies. Time and convenience go hand in hand in some cases ? after all, it may not be especially convenient to fill out form after form simply because it is time consuming, but convenience takes another hit from freebies in the form of spam email. Often, signing up for a freebie can land you on a spam email list, and for some people, getting tons of spam is so inconvenient that they would rather pay full price. The truth about all of these costs of freebies is that the freebie is in the eye of the beholder. You have to decide what you are willing to put up with in order to get a free product. Once you know the limits to your freebie costs, than you can cash in on some really great products that don?t cost you a dime. When you spend five minutes filling out a form and get rewarded with a free DVD player that you have been wanting, you will realize that there are free things out there to be had.

Music copyright infringement How Does Music Copyright Infringement Affect Me? Music copyright infringement happens all around us every day, by both well meaning people downloading music from their favorite social networking site to the guy who?s reselling MP3s. To be certain, most people who commit music copyright infringement don?t realize what?s going on, and are in turn doing something very illegal and prosecutable in the United States. Copyright Infringement, as defined by Wikipedia.org states: ?Copyright infringement (or copyright violation) is the unauthorized use of material that is protected by intellectual property rights law particularly the copyright in a manner that violates one of the original copyright owner's exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works that build upon it. The slang term bootleg (derived from the use of the shank of a boot for the purposes of smuggling) is often used to describe illicitly copied material.? We?ve all heard of ?bootleg? recordings ? usually audio recordings taken from concerts and sold on home made cassettes or CDs and distributed (sometimes out of the trunk of a car) to anyone that will buy. Bootleg recordings have changed, however, as music copyright infringement has branched into video recordings. Music copyright infringement has exploded with the advent of the internet, and now people from all over the world are sharing every type of imaginable file ? from eBooks to audio to music ? and small label artists began feeling the pinch years ago. However, many new and older artists are beginning to see the beauty of the internet, and are offering their music for sale track-by-track on iTunes and other MP3 sales websites, as well as through their own band websites and MySpace pages. The internet has exploded in the possibilities it?s given up and coming musicians to become visible, while at the same time drastically increasing the number of music copyright infringement cases ? some of which were against innocent people who just weren?t informed. Music copyright infringement cases have helped to create organizations that protect the fair use of an item, such as a song. Organizations such as CreativeCommons.com and the Electronic Frontier Foundation help individuals to know their rights under copyright acts. While there are organizations that help you understand your rights as a purchaser of copyright use, there are organizations that want to limit the ways in which you use the products you buy. It is rumored, for example, that record distribution and production companies want to limit the ways in which you use the music you buy ? they don?t want you to put it on your computer or make a Mix Tape or CD from it ? for fear of ?sharing.? It seems to me, however, when music publishers and distribution companies limit uses like this, they?re opening up a tidal wave of music copyright infringement cases. By limiting the use of purchased material, the companies are alienating their client base and pushing all their sales away from physical products and toward electronic ones ? which are much harder to control. A way in which these companies tried to limit the uses was by creating a DRM program, which severely limited the where a CD could be played (on one computer, for instance). And, in one drastic measure, Sony placed a DRM program on all their CDs in the Winter of 2005, and severely crippled several networks when their ?program? was actually malware that seriously crippled network security. As you can see, music copyright infringement is something that is currently being fought between end users and music production and distribution companies. In this new century, we must find a way to retain copyright, and allow the customers to use the products they buy in a meaningful way, or otherwise the market will shift and the industry as we know it will be abandoned.

Software company patent A Software Company Patent is the Door to a World of Confusion There is no universal understanding of exactly what a software company patent is. In general, owning a patent allows a company certain rights (or exclusivity) for a prescribed amount of time. Individuals or corporations seeking a patent must apply for a patent in each and every country in which they wish to have one. Unlike copyrights, patents are not automatically granted to applicants and can take quite a while in order to be approved. Another thing to remember, particularly with a software company patent, is that a patent may issue in one or more of the countries in which you've applied but not all of them. The real problem lies in the fact that there really is no central agreement about what a software company patent actually grants among any of the nations so those who are awarded patents may not be getting exactly what they think they are getting in the process. With no universal agreement there really can't be universal enforcement about the laws and the rights surrounding a software company patent. The growth of Internet business and e-commerce in general has led to many patent applications for software, particularly software that was designed for specific business applications. The problem is that while the cases are granted and successfully tried and defended in some countries, other countries offer no enforcement or legal recourse for those who do not honor the software company patent even if the patents were granted in those countries. The fine line between nations about what is and isn't patentable is another challenge when it comes to establishing and honoring patents. In other words, the issue of a software company patent is a rather confusing process at best. Patents differ greatly from copyrights, which are issued automatically and recognized and enforced internationally. Copyrights protect the source code of software from being copied and registration is generally not required in order for your work to be protected. Lately there is a new term, copyleft, which is an obvious play on words and represents the rights to not only redistribute the works that are covered by this but also to modify and freely distribute those modifications. This term is very much in the spirit of many open source types of software and music. The catch for copyleft protection is that the newly created work be distributed in the same manner and spirit in which it was received. In other words if you were freely given the software, then you must freely provide the improvements and modifications you made to that software. Of course this is a long way from the idea of a software company patent. It is also important that you are sure you understand exactly what you are applying for as far as your patent goes. Different countries will grant patents for different things and those are closely regulated and carefully regarded when it comes to software-know what you are applying for and understand what you are being granted. A software company patent means different things to different people in different places and it nearly impossible to get other countries to honor a patent that they would not have granted at the same time they shouldn't expect other countries to honor patents based on their decision to do so either. One unfortunate circumstance surrounding patents is that there seems to be an unequal and obvious disparity between the haves and the have not's. Patent enforcement for software, unlike literature and music is largely subjective. In literature and music, it is rather obvious that the copyright has been abused or that the work has been copied, this isn't as simple with software which is one other reason that software company patent is such a hotly debated subject in the software industry.