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Events of copyright infringement The Events of Copyright Infringement: Innocent People Infringing Accidentally Copyright infringement is in the news a lot lately – it’s hard to miss stories about kids being carted off to jail or seriously fined for downloading music or movies off the internet. I’ve even heard about a lady was fined for tens of thousands of dollars because of the events of copyright infringement – her grandson downloading music, and she couldn’t prove it wasn’t her. The events of copyright infringement are complicated – and not easy to define. Surfing the internet has its advantages and disadvantages, that’s for sure. We’re able to find useful information quickly, but how close are we pertaining to copyright laws? Do we even know what is and is not acceptable? A couple of the more pertinent questions have been asked below: If you hear a great new band, and then download a song from MySpace, is that legal or not? The events of copyright infringement are not only limited by Kazaa, Morpheus, or some other file sharing peer to peer (P2P) service. If you download a song - no matter if you’re on a website or a MySpace page - and it isn’t coming from the artist themselves, you may want to think about downloading it. Chances are, if it’s not coming from them, you can’t have it – unless it is under a Creative Commons License. Creative Commons gives the exact ways in which you can use the license – and many times those are completely free and legal to download – so make sure you check if it’s under a CC License. If I’m writing a paper, or article, and I want to quote another website, can I? First of all, did you know the minute you write or create something, you hold the copyright to it? ESPECIALLY if you’re writing it online – it’s very easy to track things in the internet page. So, if you’re writing a blog, all the things you’ve written (no matter good or bad) are there permanently, thanks to archive.org, and you can review last versions of your web pages. Sometimes, people we can use – rather heavily – someone else’s work in our own, and think we’re small and anonymous. That no one will notice by the time you get it down – you’re just ‘borrowing’ it. Before you begin quoting anyone’s website – from CNN to your local neighborhood hardware store – you need to ask the person who holds the copyright if you can. Usually, they’ll let you if you attribute to them. Depending who you talk to, you’ll either have to pay royalties or license rights to republish. If you don’t ask before you quote, you’re beginning the events of copyright infringement and you are opening yourself up for a lawsuit. As you can see, the events of copyright infringement can begin at any time, beginning with normal ‘everyday’ activities. It’s just as easy to infringe on as it is to be infringed upon. Make sure you check your copyright using CopyScape or some other service, and you can check your work against other works on the internet, and make sure that you’re not infringing someone or vice versa. In this day it’s easy to protect yourself from getting infringed upon, and the events of copyright infringement are easy to track. It’s easy for innocent people to get caught in copyright infringement, like children they didn’t know what they could and couldn’t do. Make sure, in all you do, that you’re striving to do the best you can, and you’ll be certain not to fall victim to your own infringing demons.

Definition of copyright infringement Protect Yourself: Know the Definition of Copyright Infringement As you’re creating something, you may wonder what copyright infringement actually is. It’s necessary, if you’re creating a work – albeit written, musical, videos, software or some other form – that you know the definition of copyright infringement. This issue is very complicated, and not very easily spelled out in plain English, so please make sure that if you’re ever unsure to contact a copyright lawyer immediately to ensure you’re using copyrights in a legal method appropriate to the medium. As I mentioned earlier, a definition of copyright infringement is difficult, at best. Copyright infringement is defined by the jurisdiction – the United States of America has different copyright laws than the United Kingdom, or Australia, or Russia, or even China. Because of this fact, you should first, before anything else, check the laws in your jurisdiction (country, city & province) before using something that isn’t in the public domain. For our definition of copyright infringement, the public domain is a place where works are that aren’t copyright-able. Works that aren’t copyright-able include ideas, works that aren’t eligible (150 years-old documents, or older – think Beethoven and Frankenstein), data that isn’t categorized in a creative way (this could be a database, such as a phone book or other publicly-accessible data), or items that the owners have specified creative commons copyrights. As you can see, copyright law is rather complicated. Wikipedia.org gives us the definition of copyright infringement as: “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.” Our definition of copyright infringement includes the works of creative commons. Creative commons is an organization that allows for the copyright author to determine the uses available for people who want to use their works – for such items as for audio, images, video, text, educational materials, and software. It allows for the copyright owner to allow people to use their works for non-commercial, commercial, no derivatives, share alike, or just by giving attribution. Creative Commons is a license granted by the copyright holder, and can be used in both online (electronic internet) works and offline works. There are many places you can go to get a definition of copyright infringement. The most reliable definition of copyright infringement would be from your local copyright lawyer – they will know exactly what in your jurisdiction is legal or not, and how you can use other peoples’ works or protect your own. The real definition of copyright infringement comes from your jurisdictions statutes. In the United States of America, our jurisdiction’s copyright laws are contained in Title 17 of the United States Code, §501 - §513. You can also find a definition of copyright infringement through such organizations such as the European Union or World Trade Organizations. While s legal country or organizational definition of copyright infringement is hard for the layperson to understand, a copyright lawyer will help you to figure out what it is that your work needs to be protected against copyright infringement, or to protect yourself if you intend to use the work of another writer, director, or musician.

How to copyright software How to Copyright Software Sanely If you're wondering how to copyright software the good news is you've probably already done it. At least you have if you have ever written software. Most people however get confused over exactly what having a copyright for their software means and this is the trickier question to answer. First of all, thinking it isn't going to do it and you can't really copyright the things you think. Second, only those things that can be seen (when it comes to software) can be copyrighted. If you want to protect the abstract, look into patents. Otherwise if it is original, fixed, and tangible you can copyright it. Essentially you already know how to copyright software if you've put it into a finished form. Once you've written the source code the copyright belongs to you. Copyrighting software doesn't offer the protection that many people hope it will. The idea of the software and anything about the finished product that wasn't available in a tangible (visible) form isn't protected by the copyright. In fact the only thing that is undeniably protected by copyright when it comes to software is the source code. The question you should be asking is now how to copyright software, it is how to patent your software and that requires a much more involved and prolonged explanation. To obtain a patent for your software you must apply for a patent in each country that offers patents for software and in which you wish to have the protection a patent can offer. I warned you this was much trickier than how to copyright software. Then it gets trickier still. There is no universal legal definition of what a software patent is so each country that offers patents also has a different definition for what is protected by that patent as well as for why a patent will be granted. If you want to add to the confusion a little more while wondering how to copyright software, also consider the fact that your software may be given a patent in one of the countries where you applied and none of the others. Of course, if this is not enough fun for you, you can try to deal with the red tape involved in dealing with multiple governments in order to resolve any issues or disputes that may have arisen from the result of the software patents you hold. If you've forgotten the original question it was: how to copyright software? I told you that one was much easier. The main thing you need to do if you're going for international patents (which can secure a profitable future for you and your business) is to get a really good patent lawyer and have him walk you through and hold your hand for the entire process. In fact, I would say that's probably the best advice you can get. Patents are complicated and when you're not exactly sure of what you're doing, whom you need to talk to, and what the next step is you stand to waste a lot of time while taking a bigger risk. It is much easier to deal with how to copyright software on your own than it is to work out the complicated world of software patents. If this is your first time designing your own software you have every right to be nervous and excited and scared to death at the same time. Remember lawyers went to school much longer than you in order to know what to do in this situation so you should not be expected to know how to copyright software when you've never done it before.

Following Up on Fallacies about Getting Free Stuff “Free stuff” – the mere whisper of the words is often enough to make many people throw common sense out the window and head for the free goods like a missile to a target. And then there are those people whose eyes glaze over when they hear those words, because they can’t believe anything worth having can actually be free. The truth about free stuff is really somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can really and truly cash in on many freebie deals for things that you want to have, but a healthy sense of cynicism about free gear is also useful. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind about free stuff. The first myth you should throw out the window is that nothing good comes for free. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on a good doesn’t always match up to the quality, and there are many great free things out there. Case in point: music. Sure, everyone has heard the scare stories about file sharing online, and maybe some big record labels will come after you if you focus on their artists. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you can find a whole new world of really great bands that are more than happy for you to listen to their music over and over again. The same goes for free software. People on the cutting edge of technology who have a passion for creating new and efficient applications often develop open source code software. They’re doing it for the love of it, and they often have more talent than any ten suit-and-tie tech guys trying to hock their latest product for a mega profit margin. Here is where the reality part comes in, however. Yes, you can find wonderful things that are completely free – but yes, you can also find a lot of free things that aren’t worth your time at all and in some cases can cause you a lot of trouble. The net is a great place to fall victim to a “free stuff” scam, but you can also sometimes come across these scams in the mail as well. If something is free, but requires you to give your credit card number or bank details, run the other way. Another myth people have about free stuff, especially free stuff on the internet, is that when you try to cash in, the only free stuff you will be getting is an inbox full of more spam than you can handle. The truth about this is, well, that is can certainly be true. Many companies give away free things in exchange for your email address, so they can try to hit you up to purchase things in the future. What makes this a myth, however, is that it can be avoided. If you don’t want to choke on an inbox of spam, and who could blame you, set up a special (free) email account that you will use exclusively for freebie hunting. You’ll have the best of both worlds. The last myth about free stuff involves the “catch” people are always looking for. Often, for free stuff, the catch is a bit of junk mail or email or the fact that you have to submit to a time consuming survey. Sometimes, the catch is that if you get free stuff through a trial offer, if you don’t cancel it, it keeps coming, and this time you have to pay. The truth about these catches is, however, that the catch is in the eye of the beholder. These things don’t make products any less free; so don’t write off every free offer offhand. You might just find a catch you can live with to get a great free product you really want.