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Play It Safe: Making Sure You're Not Committing Copyright Infringement
Copyright infringement is not an easy thing to explain. While it may seem as simple as not using someone else?s work, it?s not that easy. Thanks to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and many other organizations, we have the ability to use others? works ? as long as we use it under ?fair use? laws. So what does fair use have to do with copyright infringement, and how can you utilize it?
Fair use laws are the conditions in which you can use a copyrighted work without having to pay someone royalties. This includes when you use a copyrighted work for educational or instructional uses, criticism of the work, commentaries on the work, news reporting about the work, teaching on the work (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship uses, and research. This is talked about fully in Section 107 of the Copyright Code (commonly called Fair Use) and is available for you to read at your local library.
Copyright Infringement in day-to-day life
Sometimes, if you?re writing a paper for work or school, or if you are creating a Power Point presentation, you need to use someone?s work that is already in copyright. So how do you use it without committing copyright infringement? All you have to do is ask ? the worst they can say is no, right? But, if they do say no, there are several items in the public domain which may help you to finish your project without having to commit copyright infringement.
What is the public domain, and how does it relate to copyright infringement?
Material that is not copyrighted is considered in the public domain ? you cannot commit copyright infringement on works in the public domain. These works include things that the copyright has expired on, or is not copyright-able ? such as government publications, jokes, titles, and ideas. Some creators (writers, musicians, artists, and more) deliberately put their work in the public domain, without ever obtaining copyright, by providing an affiliation with Creative Commons. Creative Commons allows people who create materials to forfeit some, or all, of their copyright rights and place their work either partially or fully in the public domain.
So, how do I ensure I?m not committing copyright infringement?
First of all, if you?re going to use someone else?s material, you may want to check the public domain to see if something is suitable for use, instead of trying to use someone else?s copyright. However, if you can?t find something suitable (and you can?t create something yourself), the next best thing (and your only legal course of action) is to find a piece that is in copyright, and contacting the copyright holder.
When you contact the copyright holder, make sure you tell them what you want to use their piece for ? whether it?s for your blog, podcast, or report ? and ask them if you can use it. You may have to pay royalties, or an attribution in your piece, or a combination of both. The creator may also place many limitations on when and how you can use their material. Follow all these instructions they give you, and you?ll be free and clear to use their work as you want.
Once you have permission to use a copyrighted work, you need to make sure you stay within the agreed-upon boundaries - if you veer outside their agreed terms, you may open yourself up for a copyright infringement lawsuit ? which can be nasty, costly, and time consuming. If you?re in doubt, before contacting the copyright holder, contact a copyright lawyer to ensure you?re following the law ? and protect yourself!
Turning your Eye to Government, Nonprofit or Small Business for you Next Job The type of business you work for can effect your job satisfaction. Your personality type may also work out better at certain types of businesses. Research different business types before going on your job search. Working for a small business or a non-profit definitely has its pros and cons. First of all, getting hired at a small business can be much easier than landing a position than at a corporation. Typically you will only have to go through one person to get the job. Usually the small business owner conducts the interview. This can be a good thing because the business owner may be willing to overlook a lack of experience or extenuating circumstances concerning your work history. Nonprofit jobs are often easier to get if you are passionate about the cause. The person that is doing the hiring is generally passionate about the cause that the nonprofit is working to assist. If they pick up on passion about the cause from you, typically you will get the job. However, that passion is necessary because they pay may not be very much. Working for a smaller company also opens up more opportunities for promotions. With fewer employees and contact with the owner, you may be able to move up in the company faster. You will be able to pick up on skills in less time than at large corporations, which often have many hoops for one to jump through before training for a new position. There may be a smaller window of time to pick up on new skills because of the limited amount of time that can be put towards training. Nonprofits may not have as many opportunities for promotions and job stability may be questionable. If the donations stop coming in or whoever funds the nonprofit decides not to fund it anymore, you could be out of a job. This is a very real concern with a nonprofit job. There are some drawbacks to working at smaller businesses. Sometimes, the staff at smaller businesses have been in place for years. New, younger employees may not be viewed favorably. This could affect working relationships with co-workers. Smaller companies also mean smaller paychecks. Independent businesses are not able to generate large paychecks. This could make staying at a small business undesirable. However, the personal interaction between you and your boss could be encouragement to stick it out with a small business. Or the opposite could be true. Government jobs can be beneficial to have for a number of reasons. First of all, government jobs offer good salaries and great benefits. You will have all government holidays off and you will be working in a position that is necessary to the maintenance of the government. That means that you probably won?t have to worry about being displaced. Although, remember that if the government runs into tough times, layoffs are possible. Government jobs are usually normal business hours but not always. There are some positions that will have hours that extend a little bit beyond regular business hours but for the most part, you will be able to enjoy your life by taking advantage of vacation time. Sick days will also be available at government jobs. Some of the drawbacks of government jobs are that you may have to deal with a large amount of on the job stress. You may be responsible for processing hundreds, maybe even thousands of cases and one mistake could be very tragic for an individual. Depending on what your position is, you may be instrumental in handling paper work from a huge amount of people.
Some Beginner Tips for Writing a Book (writing a book) Before you begin your book writing adventure, you must research your idea and see if it will fly. Who is going to read it? Who are you trying to appeal to with your words? You must have a general idea of who your intended audience will be. Check out other books. Is there a book already published that resembles your book? What will make your book unique from theirs? If there are similar books already out there, what is going to make your book different and make people want to buy it? If you are still reading, then it is safe to assume that you have your idea under control and are ready to more on in writing a book. Decide on a schedule that is best for you, one that you will be able to stick to. It will be very frustrating to you if have unrealistic expectations and then are unable to stick to them. Your schedule should begin before your research and carry through to the book being ready for publication. Make a detailed outline with the main plot, events leading to that plot, and explicit detail about the characters. By having more information about the character you will be able to become them as you are writing. By having background on them, even if it is irrelevant to the story, it may help while choosing their actions, dialogue, and feelings through out the book. An outline is also a good reference point to come back to double check your timelines and details. You may want to turn of you editing software for your first draft. While writing a book the first draft is when you begin meshing the plot, the characters, and everything together. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation can be fixed later. Remember books do not necessarily have to be written front to back. By writing different chapters or events it may be easier for you to come back and connect them later. Sometimes having the words on the paper and reading will make it easier to fill in the blanks. You are on a role and rough draft is finished. Now is the time to read it. When writing a book reading the rough draft will allow you to make sure that there are no errors in the timeline, that plots link with the characters, and that it all makes sense and flows together. Once you have accomplished that turn your editing software back on. It is time to fix your grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. Now put you book aside. Let it sit for about two weeks or so before you pick it up again. This will give your mind time to be clear and fresh. Now read the book again. Does it still flow and make sense? Do you need to add something or change it? Now is the time. Choose someone to proofread your book for you. If at all possible you should hire a professional editor to do this. But if you cannot ask a colleague or maybe someone else you know with a writing or English background. While giving professional advice they will also be able to offer you and unbiased opinion. They will be able to see if there is a jump in the timeline you didn?t notice or if you had a character in the beginning and they just disappeared. The last thing to do while writing a book is creating the final draft. The final draft should be error free. This is your last chance to change anything before it goes to the publisher. Now is when all that time you spent writing a book comes together to make its trip to publication.