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To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Keeping your Career Intact During Maternity Leave Since, for the most part, maternity leave in this country is not paid, the reality of returning to work after having a baby comes much sooner than it does in most countries. No one wants to return to absolute chaos after they have the baby. Cut down on the stress of going back to work by being prepared. The length of your maternity leave can determine the amount of stress you return to. If you are willing and able it is a good idea to work as long as possible. Of course, everyone is not willing and able. For those that need a longer leave, they should put some plans in place to make the transition back to work smoother. How long you are on maternity leave varies. However, if you plan on returning after you have the baby, you do not want to return to a totally chaotic situation. That means that you want to have the needs of your career in tact before you take your maternity leave. Nothing should interfere with your new addition to the family. While you are bonding and spending time with your newborn you do not want the stress of the office hanging over your head. Lay the ground work so that you do not have to worry about the office while you are away. If you are the boss, you have a lot more stress to manage. It is important that you leave a responsible and capable person in charge of things in your absence. Start training that person to deal with the aspects of your job that they will have to handle as soon as you know you are pregnant. Nothing is more annoying than getting ?How do I?? phone calls when you are on maternity leave. If your job is massive, split the responsibilities between two employees. You do not want to split up the tasks among too many people because this can lead to confusion. Two should be the maximum. Be sure to leave things in order. If you are not the most organized person, get that way when you find out you are pregnant. While you are on maternity leave anyone should be able to walk into your office and find what they are looking for in a very short amount of time. If things are messy there is more of a chance for things to go wrong. If you are one of those women that needs to have an extended maternity leave because of pregnancy complications, don?t fret. Enjoy your time offer and relax but also, if you can, try to stay on top of what is happening in your career field. Take an online class and brush up on skills. If you are not sure you want to return to your 9-5, research a new career. The Internet has made working from home a very real and popular option. Search for a job that will allow you to stay at home but also bring in some income. Some jobs, such as Computer Programming, can fetch a pretty penny. Do some research and find out what will suit you best. Work part time until you are ready to have the baby. While some women are eager to take their maternity leave, others are not so excited about it. If that is the case, talk to your employer about working part time until you are due. Some women work until they go into labor. There is no need to do that if you are uncomfortable but if you are having an uneventful pregnancy and love your job, why not?

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.

Can Facebook or MySpace Help You Land a Job? The Internet is quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for people looking for a job and for employers looking for people to hire. There are many job sites on the Internet dedicated to matching up employees and employers, and most people turn to the Internet today when they are hunting for a job instead of turning to the classified ads in the local paper. Job hunting websites may all be well and good when you are looking for a job, but what about social networking sites. Everyone knows how popular sites like Facebook and MySpace are online, but can they help you get a job? If you are in the job market, can these sites be your foot in the door, or a one way ticket to the unemployment line? The answer is that there is no easy answer. To know if you can find a job using Facebook or MySpace, you have to know how employers feel about these sites, and employers have mixed feeling about them. Some companies are actively using social networking sites to track down employees that meet their company?s employee profile and have had great success finding workers via social networking sites. Other companies wouldn?t touch these sites as a hiring tool with a ten-foot poll ? in fact, many companies don?t even want you to access these websites from their company computers. The real answer to this question has more to do with exactly what kind of job you are looking for. Are you looking for an executive position at a company? Then stay off of the social networking sites, at least for job hunting (and maybe all together). No company is going to look for its top brass on a social networking site, and you will be wasting your time. However, if you are looking for entry level or hourly wage work, the social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook may be the answer for you. Many hourly wage employers in particular, like fast food restaurant chains and mall stores, use MySpace and Facebook to look for potential employees in their area. If a potential employer sees your profile and thinks you may be a good fit for their company, they will send you an email or an instant message and get the ball rolling. You should also, however, carefully consider the downsides of using social networking sites as a job tool ? and you should carefully consider how and if you use these sites at all if you are in the market for a new job. Most people wouldn?t want their parents to see their social networking site profile, let alone potential employers. If you have rude and off color material, political or religious material, and inappropriate photos of yourself on your profile, a potential employer will be turned off, and you might lose your chance at that job. Most people give up way too much of their privacy when they use these kinds of sites, and your social networking site profile may offer a window into a side of you an employer might not be overly impressed with. Further, you can open yourself up to danger by using these sites to job hunt. If someone approached you in the street and offered you a job, would you accept? Then why would you accept a face value an approach by someone on social networking site? If you do get approached for an interview, never meet anyone in a private place, and do your homework to make sure the facts check out before you go for the interview. One last reality check ? there are over 60 million users on MySpace alone. How will an employer find you in the crowd? MySpace and Facebook may help you in your job hunt, but don?t count on them as your sole avenue into the job market.