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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!
Yes, There Really is a Freebie Santa Claus If you are a cynic when it comes to offers of free stuff, you are not alone. Everyone has had notions like ?there is no such thing as a free lunch? and ?if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is? drilled into their heads, and for good reason ? these things often hold water. On the flip side, there ARE actually lots of places you can score some decent free stuff, if you know where to look and are willing to devote some time to hunting them down. The key to getting the best free stuff with the least amount of hassle is to stick with that healthy cynicism but to also dipping your toe in the freebie pool little by little. But why would anyone give stuff away for free? It is certainly an obvious question, but if you stop to consider it for a moment, you can see that companies actually have a lot of motivation to give away free stuff. After all, if they give you something for free, you are bound to have a little soft spot for their company, and when you are ready to part with some cash, their product may near the top of your list. Also, by giving away free things, companies can convince people to try new products. You might not want to try a new kind of shampoo if you have to pay for it, but you?d certainly be willing to give a free sample a try. You may end up loving it and switching to that shampoo for good, turning you into a paying customer. Another reason a company might give you free stuff is to complete market research. This is where getting free things can get a little complicated for some people because the products may not cost you money, but the offer may cost you a little time. A company might ask you to take a survey of your buying habits before they give you a free offer, or they may ask you to provide feedback on a regular basis as you try their product for free. Some people balk at the time commitment required here, but for other people, filling out some paperwork is a small price to pay for some free stuff. Of course, to convert you into a customer or to communicate with you about market research, a company will have to contact you, which is complicated area number two for freebie lovers. You will almost always be forced to hand over your email address in order to cash in on a free offer, and that is a recipe for opening your inbox up to a barrage of spam (many companies sell your email address to offset the costs of their free promotions, which means the number of people soliciting you can go through the roof very quickly). If you want to avoid this downside of freebie hunting, set up a special email address specifically for your freebie deals. That way all of your spam goes to this one address and your regular email you use with family and friends remains free and clear. One final note of caution about free stuff online: a lot of scammers have hit on the idea of using pretend freebie offers to solicit personal information about people or to convince people to send them money. Don?t send money, even for postage, to a company you don?t know and never, ever give out personal information online. No reputable company is going to ask for your social security number or bank account details for a freebie offer, so don?t hand them out to anyone. When in doubt, skip it and move to the next freebie.
Five Biggest Job Hunting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Looking for a job can be a challenging experience. Between the resume writing and the interviews you can find yourself exhausted and ready to throw in the towel prematurely. Stay the course until you find the job you want. While you are on your job-hunting journey, here are five big mistakes to avoid when job hunting. Steering clear of these mistakes could make finding a job much easier. One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they are job hunting is not looking in enough places for jobs. There is a certain level of diligence you need to maintain when you are searching for a job. Look in newspapers, online and ask around. Of course, there are boundaries you should follow when looking for a job. First of all only apply and interview for jobs that you think you would take if you were offered the position. Do not apply for jobs that you are not qualified at all for or jobs that you do not have a clear understanding of. When applying for jobs, it is important to have a resume that is update and professional looking. If you are not a good resume writer, look at examples online or find a professional to do your resume for you. Employers will take one look at a messy or unprofessional resume and rule you out without ever meeting you. It is also important to be sure that you resume can be found online. There are plenty of job sites that allow users to post resumes. Some sites even allow multiple resumes to be posted. This is a great place for employers to locate your resume and contact you without you actually applying for the job. Lying on your resume can eliminate you from being a job candidate immediately. If you stretch the truth about your experience or the type of jobs you have had in the past, employers will think that you are a liar. If employers think you are a lair they will not feel confident about hiring you because you have already compromised your integrity. Tell the truth about your work and educational history. No matter what people may tell you, an honest inexperienced candidate is better than a lying experienced candidate. Have faith that you will be able to prove your worthiness for the position you are applying for without making up half-truths. Be sure that your contact information is correct and that you respond when you are contacted. No matter how busy you are, you need to check your e-mail and phone messages on a regular basis. If you do not respond to a call about a job this is a sign that you do not need employment that badly. Employers will move on to the next candidate if you are slow getting back to them. Candidates that are not prepared for their interviews are typically eliminated from the search before the interview is over. If you are late for an interview you have a big huge mark against you as soon as you walk in the door. Not being dressed in professional attire also will leave the interview with a very bad impression of you before you even speak. If you show up without a pen or copies of your resume you look like you are unfamiliar with the interview process. This, in turn, makes it quite possible that you are unfamiliar with other work place procedures. A good job hunt can land you the job of your dreams. When you are settled into your new job you will be thankful that you took the time to search for a job the right way.