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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!
Web Hosting - Sharing A Server – Things To Think About You can often get a substantial discount off web hosting fees by sharing a server with other sites. Or, you may have multiple sites of your own on the same system. But, just as sharing a house can have benefits and drawbacks, so too with a server. The first consideration is availability. Shared servers get re-booted more often than stand alone systems. That can happen for multiple reasons. Another site's software may produce a problem or make a change that requires a re-boot. While that's less common on Unix-based systems than on Windows, it still happens. Be prepared for more scheduled and unplanned outages when you share a server. Load is the next, and more obvious, issue. A single pickup truck can only haul so much weight. If the truck is already half-loaded with someone else's rocks, it will not haul yours as easily. Most websites are fairly static. A reader hits a page, then spends some time skimming it before loading another. During that time, the server has capacity to satisfy other requests without affecting you. All the shared resources - CPU, memory, disks, network and other components - can easily handle multiple users (up to a point). But all servers have inherent capacity limitations. The component that processes software instructions (the CPU) can only do so much. Most large servers will have more than one (some as many as 16), but there are still limits to what they can do. The more requests they receive, the busier they are. At a certain point, your software request (such as accessing a website page) has to wait a bit. Memory on a server functions in a similar way. It's a shared resource on the server and there is only so much of it. As it gets used up, the system lets one process use some, then another, in turn. But sharing that resource causes delays. The more requests there are, the longer the delays. You may experience that as waiting for a page to appear in the browser or a file to download. Bottlenecks can appear in other places outside, but connected to, the server itself. Network components get shared among multiple users along with everything else. And, as with those others, the more requests there are (and the longer they tie them up) the longer the delays you notice. The only way to get an objective look at whether a server and the connected network have enough capacity is to measure and test. All systems are capable of reporting how much of what is being used. Most can compile that information into some form of statistical report. Reviewing that data allows for a rational assessment of how much capacity is being used and how much is still available. It also allows a knowledgeable person to make projections of how much more sharing is possible with what level of impact. Request that information and, if necessary, get help in interpreting it. Then you can make a cost-benefit decision based on fact.
Online Writing Labs: You have One Available for You (online writing labs) There are numerous colleges and universities around the United States and the world that offer online writing labs. The labs are designed to offer help and instruction for any writing matter. Most Online writing labs are only available to the students of the offering college or university, but there are a few that are open to the general public. Virginia Tech has an online self help section and email help available for questions you have about grammar. The online writing labs are beneficial to both the writer in need of the help and the person helping them. The helper or tutors are usually graduate students working for their degree they benefit from the additional teaching practice. The students are getting proofreading, critiquing, and feedback along with any help they may need. The online writing labs were created by the schools to offer extra help to their students in their writing. They offer support in most areas of writing including choosing a topic, grammar help, revising a draft, and editing. They provide tutored help in these areas to students and faculty. Many online writing labs are set up to help you in three ways; online self help, email support, and one on one personal support. The online self help applications are available 24 hours a day. For the email support you email in your paper or project and you will receive a response with in 24 hours. The one on one personal support is a great way for students to learn how to do their own proofreading and editing. The tutors will help show the students what to look for and how to find their own mistakes. This is a great opportunity for help with someone other than a teacher. Even though the online help is available student are encouraged to use the writing lab tutors on a regular basis to improve their writing skills. Purdue University has an online writing lab they call OWL. It offers a wealth of information that virtually anyone can use. They offer a highly detailed step by step instruct of the writing process and huge section on professional, technical, and scientific writing. A section in job search writing that walks you through everything, from your academic coversheet to writing a personal statement, step by step. General Academic writing and research and citation help. This is the best site for offering its advice absolutely free. This site definitely deserves to be bookmarked on your computer if you are a serious writer, a student, a teacher, it really doesn?t matter. The University of Richmond has a program they call Writing Center. Although not as complex as Perdue?s they offer online self help topics for writers. Starting with the writing process to grammar and punctuation, it is another option for you. The University of Wisconsin has the Writing Center that offers some help with the basics. One thing to keep in mind that many of the universities and colleges that offer these many take them offline in between semesters and on breaks. If you are a student, many of you have an online writing lab available at your school or one that reciprocates with your school. Though the general public have self help online help available to them, chances are your school will offer some sort of one on one help to guide you through your work. Check it out it could be very beneficial to you. If you don?t have one available, it is highly recommend checking out OWL at Perdue or search the Internet. There are a lot of self-help online writing labs available to you.