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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!
Big Time Experience with Small Time Publications (writing newsletter articles) When you start writing, you may have ambitions of getting your name on the front page of newspapers and on feature stories in magazines, but you will soon find out that it takes time to get there. Even the best writers have to make their way through the ranks before making it to headline status. Don’t be discouraged though. Even though you may have been rejected more times than you could have ever imagined, there are still many places that will be accepting. Even if you feel like you’ve exhausted all of your creative power, there are publications that are ready to help you develop even further. The buildup is not leading towards riches or fame, but writing newsletter articles can be a great step in that direction. The first thing that any writer should realize is that there is more to learn. Even knowing all of the grammar and all of the clarity rules will not make you a good writer. Only experience can bring you to that place. Newsletters are a great place to start getting cleaning up your writing and to start learning to write for different audiences. Who Prints Newsletters? Why are newsletters such a great place to start earning publications? There are plenty of organizations and groups that print them. The printing money and the circulation are already in place. The other great thing about writing newsletter articles is that there is almost always a high demand for newsletter writers. The pay is not great and is most often non-existent, but the newsletters must go out all the same. Hit up any organization in town that you know prints a newsletter. Some of the printing is done nationally for the larger organizations, but many will be done locally. Try volunteer and non-profit organizations as well as university and church groups. These organizations will all have news that they need to get to the public. Many of them survive based on public donations. What that means for you is that there is plenty of demand for talented and interesting writers. The Expert in Print If you have any sort of claim to expertise along with your writing skills, you will be a fantastic candidate for writing newsletter articles. One great draw for a reader is the pull of a well researched and authoritative article. Imagine the thrilled group of environmentalists when you approach them with evidence that the developmental process for non-stick pan coating is connected to the decreasing population of Asian tortoises. You’d have a job in no time. Regardless of whether or not you got paid for your work, you can expect that you’d get repeated assignments, growing experience and bylines galore for your next step of job applications. Being knowledgeable about a certain subject will give you many writing opportunities. If you have any experience in a subject area, be sure to add it to your resume. As you write newsletter articles, you’ll only add to you’re your expertise. Other Newsletter Articles If you don’t necessarily believe that you have an area of expertise that is not a problem. There are many other ways to get into writing newsletter articles. A big part of newsletter content is just content. Newsletters need to be made up of interesting and varied articles. There are usually volunteers that head up the projects and they in turn hire various writers to fill in the titles that they choose. If you can be flexible in your writing and if you can find a newsletter that works with a topic you care about, you will be well on your way to building your resume with bylines and great circulation. Writing newsletter articles will probably not be a career in itself because of the low pay scale, but it will take you closer to a lucrative writing career. Think of writing newsletter articles as a type of community service. Even after you have added paying pieces to your repertoire you may continue to write for the newsletters that you care about.
Copyright music Copyright Music in Order to Protect Future Profits If you are a budding artist seeking to copyright music that you have labored over, there is good news. Many people confuse copyrighting music with registering music and they are two different things. According to the law in the United States, once you have written or recorded your music in a permanent form, it is copyrighted. Of course, it might help to first understand what it means to copyright music in the first place. A copyright is a certain legal protection that is offered to those who compose creative works. Whether those works be art, music, or the written word. According to the U. S. constitution there are limits that can be placed on the amount of time that the work is exclusively protected. If you copyright music, this means that you and you alone have the right to use your work or allow others to use your work. You also have the right to distribute copies of your work. Whether those copies are in the form of written or sheet music or recorded music to the public as well as the right to perform your music for the public. There is something called fair use that despite your copyright; music written or recorded by you may be used for the purpose of research, news reporting, commentary, or criticism. In other words, there are times when the use of copyrighted material is deemed appropriate without the consent of the one holding the copyright. To copyright music alone is not enough in many cases to protect your music, at least not without going through a lot of hoops in order to do so. One of the things you can do in order to protect your copyright is provide notice of copyright. This is a simple step that includes writing a simple statement to the effect of the word "copyright", the date, and your name at the bottom of your sheet music or on the case for the recording or the actual recording itself. CD's are the most common means for recording devices today and a notice of copyright can easily be added to the exterior of your CD or on your label if you have one printed. In case you are wondering: why copyright music? The answer is rather simple, so others cannot take credit for your creative genius. For an added layer of protection you may want to consider registering your copyright as well. Registering your copyright will provide you with formal legal documentation of your ownership of your music should anyone else attempt to lay claim to your music or any other dispute about true ownership/authorship come about. You must have your copyright registered if you wish to file a copyright infringement suit and it is, in my humble opinion, better to not only copyright music early on but also to register your copyright before it could possibly become an issue. Registering while not entirely painless is not as difficult a process as you might think. Basically it involves filling out an application, paying a filing fee (check with the U. S. Copyright Office for the current amount), and a copy of the work being protected (this will not be returned). It's also important to remember that your music doesn't have to be published in order for you to obtain a copyright. Music should be copyrighted and registered long before the publication process in order to protect your rights as the creator of the music. Whether you are dabbling with cute little limericks or writing masterpieces and concertos or are rock and rolls next super star you want to make sure to copyright music earlier rather than later for the best possible outcome should problems arise.
Free Baby Stuff Requires a Visit to Babies Online Babies online is the page on the Internet when it comes to free stuff for the baby and new parent. The page offers any parent resources about the growing baby. Anything from personalized weekly calendars, over calculators to articles and information can be found on this web page. All the information offered on the page is freely available to anybody who signs up for their free membership. Under the top pages offered by babies online are pages that contain links to other free baby web sites, fun birthday facts, a weekly pregnancy calendar, due date calculator, baby’s first year, baby photo contest, baby names and meanings, baby freebies and a baby’s online blog. These pages are visited by the most users and are also most frequently used by members of the page. All these pages offer information around pregnancy and the infancy. Some of the pages offer advice on many of the questions that parents have in their first year of parent hood or before during pregnancy. The baby pages section of the website offers anybody to have an online birth announcement for the newborn, to read other peoples birth announcement and even to create or read other women’s pregnancy journals. Anyone can create his or her own and then sent links to all their friends to show off their little one over cyberspace. Not only does this save the writing and buying of all those birth announcement cards, it also saves the stamps and printed pictures that generally are included in birth announcements. The freebies page offers users links to free baby websites, links to free baby product samples, free pregnancy wristbands, free photo prints, free baby coupons and even freebie alerts. The free baby’s web site section lets parents create a web page that is completely centered on their new addition and give the new parents a chance to share their precious with all their friends and family. In the free baby product sample section a parent can find anything from free magazine subscriptions to those famous parenting magazines, to formula samples and children’s books. Due to the ten year anniversary of the page the web site offers pregnant mothers a free pregnancy bracelet. It is not only sleek and fancy, but is also there to alert any doctors or other personnel of the mother’s pregnancy status in any kind of situation, such as fainting, unconsciousness or an accident. A link to a related photo-processing place offers free photos for parents. Shipping as well as the prints is free to anyone that signs up to receive this offer. The online photo page offers any of the services a local photo store or photo lab might offer. Cards, picture prints, enlargements, photo gifts, calendars and more can be bought from this online site additionally to the free prints. On the online babies coupons and sample page users can find links to good deals, links to coupons and links to free samples. This part of the page is sure worth checking out. Some of the deals are for baby gear and baby food, while others also have links to places that offer deals on toddler’s and younger children’s clothing items. Even if it is just the beginning of pregnancy, checking out what is available online; especially on babies online can have great advantages. Some of the links offer new parents and parents to be many samples of different formulas, if this is going to be the choices to feed the baby, parents have a chance to try the different formulas and additionally get coupons for their favorite one. Not just the coupons, but also the free tools and journals on the web page make it worth to check it out. So go ahead and surf the web page to get up to date with newest baby information.