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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!
Continuing Education Key to Being a Better Employee Employers now recognize the importance of continuing education for employees. Over the past few years, more and more employers have begun to offer tuition reimbursement and continuing education classes to their employees. While this was once thought of as an excessive expensive, it is now understood that continuing education benefits the company as much or more as it does the employee. The job market is becoming more and more competitive everyday. Only the best employees are getting jobs in certain sectors. That means that your skills need to be sharp in order for you to remain valuable to your company. This is where continuing education comes into play. No matter what type of job you have, just about all companies are investing in continuing education. The reasons why are simple. Even though the company may spend a good deal of money on continuing education for their employees, they see an even larger return. By having employees that are on the top of their game, the company will be more productive as a whole. Thus the company will make more money. With that in mind, it is very important that employees always take advantage of continuing education classes when they can. You will be able to stay on top of whatever new trends are coming up and possibly acquire skills that will allow you to move up in the company. By taking continuing education classes, you will become more productive. Studies have found that employees that continue to have their skills refreshed and renewed are more productive on the job. This is a perk for both employees and their employers. You will be able to finish more work in less time and with more understanding. Thus making your time at work easier. If you are not sold on the idea of continuing education, think of it this way. Your employer is paying for it. It is a perk of your job that you should take full advantage of. If you are working towards acquiring skills that will lead you to a promotion or an entirely new job, you are doing something to better yourself. And, it is costing you less, or nothing at all. The best companies to work for in the country have great training programs. This is no coincidence. These companies, which also make a ton of money spend thousands of dollars training their employees so that they can go out and make the company the most money possible. Less successful companies have begun to follow suit. No matter what type of job you have, there are continuing education programs that can help enhance your job experience. Continuing education is a great way to break out of a rut. If you are eager to change jobs or get a promotion, you will fair much better in the job market if you do some continuing education. Use whatever means your company offers to better yourself and become more marketable. The type of continuing education you choose depends on your career goals. It is always helpful to have an advanced degree in a certain field. If tuition reimbursement for graduate school is an option, take it. Having a Master?s or PHD will help you become an expert in your field of study. If your job has company continuing education, take them up on it., Even if a promotion is not exactly what you are looking for, being cross trained is always a good idea. Gain as much in the way of knowledge and skills as you can. When you move on to your next job those skills will look great on your resume.
Bring These Important Tips to the Table in a Telecommuting Argument Are you tired of the sound of the alarm clock every morning? Are you equally tired of trying to figure out what to wear every day (ladies) and fighting the rush hour traffic to get to the office in time? How about spending almost your entire paycheck on gas to put in your car to get you to work? There is a way around all of this of course ? telecommuting. When you telecommute to work, you can catch a little bit of extra shut eye and head to work in your pajamas, without even getting in the shower. But aside from the convenience factor, there can be a lot of other good reasons why telecommuting makes sense. If you can put together a convincing enough argument for your employer, you may find yourself going to work in your bedroom slippers before you know it. The first thing you have to keep in mind about your telecommuting argument is that you have to make sure you have plenty of evidence that telecommuting will be beneficial to your employer, not just you. Sure, you would love to be able to see the kids off to school in the morning and take your coffee break in front of your favorite soap operas, but your boss doesn?t care about all of that. Though you don?t have to hide the fact that telecommuting will obviously have its privileges for you from your boss, remember to include plenty of ammunition for benefits to the company as well. What can you bring to the table in terms of telecommuting advantages for your boss? Point your boss to a growing amount of research on the internet that shows that big companies have seen big increases in productivity when they started letting people telecommute and work from the comfort of their homes. Everyone knows that a rested and stress free employee is a productive one, and offices can be filled with more distractions than your home (gossiping employees, phones always ringing). Some companies have seen increases in productivity of over 50%, something that is sure to get your boss?s attention. You can also point out to your boss that absenteeism takes a nosedive when people telecommute. No need to take a fake sick day to get out of going to office when you work from home, and even when people are under the weather, when the office is in the next room, they still tend to get a few things done on a day that would have been a total write off otherwise. Another selling point for your boss may be that everyone else is already doing it. More than half of the companies in the US have employees that telecommute, with great results. Your boss won?t want to let the company fall behind ? and your boss will know that offering what other companies have is important for employee retention. Make sure your boss knows that what you are asking for is not out of the ordinary in any way. Beyond the selling points for your boss, you can be specific about a few benefits to you. Bosses know that gas is major issue for employees ? telecommuting is a way they can let you cut back on that big expense, without feeling under pressure to respond with wage hikes. If you have customers that live near your house, let your boss know it will be easier to meet them face-to-face if you work from home. Last but not least, let your boss know that you believe you can deliver more to the company from the comfort of your home - more work for the same pay is always music to an employer?s ears.
Self-Publishing and Other Options Online (how to get a book published online) There?s no question about it. There is more room for more types of writing on the internet. Many people know that getting a book published for the book store shelves is next to impossible. The competition is overwhelming. Most successful writers have already achieved fame and so are able to write book after book. The unknown, though still talented writers are shut out. Publishing books is expensive and time consuming. There are only so many readers in the world. To keep the ratios between writers and readers comfortable, less than one percent of would be writers actually get published. That is all changing now. The internet is big enough for everyone it seems. It offers many more, less expensive publishing opportunities. It also gives exposure to aspiring writers allowing them more chances to impress the hard copy publishers. So, the opportunities are there. Do you want to know how to get a book published online? Is Self-Publishing Cheating? Self-publishing is certainly not cheating. Depending on what your goals are of course, it may or may not be a direction you would like to take. In the hard copy world, self-publishing is cost prohibitive. Actually getting a book into print costs more money than a typically poor beginning writer can muster. That is the great thing about the internet. It?s free. You can either start up a free website of your own and post your novel, or pay a small monthly sum and attempt to sell your writing online. By paying for a website you will be allowed to sell a product from that site. If you can write well enough to catch someone?s attention, they may be willing to pay for a download of your book. That is how to get a book published online. Just do it yourself. You circumvent the normal book publishing costs and still get some exposure. You just may luck out and get the attention of someone who thinks you could make money off of your writing. If you?d really like to hurry up the process to getting your books in print, there is another route to go. Pay to Be Published Everything is cheaper when done ?en masse?. There are book publishers that reduce the cost of publishing by running the presses all of the time. If you?d like to know about another way of how to get a book published online, this is it. With publishing companies though, you don?t have to dream about getting your book on the shelves. The online self-publishing companies require a fee ? which will be much less than if you were to try to print yourself. They use your money to get your writing into print. You have the option of publishing your own book, or for a much smaller investment, to be included in an anthology. You won?t get as much exposure as from a big name publishing company, but it will be significant nonetheless. E-Book Publishers A third road to travel if you?re wondering how to get a book published online is that of e-books. They are another form of writing that can get you the practice and exposure that you need. Instead of writing on a topic of your choice though, e-book assignments are centered on topics that a typical person will search for online. They are normally informative and how-to books. They are usually short and to the point. E-book publishers are willing to pay experienced and capable writers to create book length, researched writing. How about adding that to your resume? Publishing a book online is easier than publishing in the world of hard copy. The end result is not as glorified, but it is a step towards success in the published realm. The more experience you can get writing, the better writer you will be. As the internet becomes more depended upon, you may find yourself on the frontline of the publishing movement.