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US copyright law U.S. Copyright Law Covers Artistic Expression and Creative and Intellectual Works The US Copyright Law grants rights to individuals for the works they create. The US Copyright Act of 1790 has changed over the years. The current basis of US copyright law is based on the Copyright Act of 1976. US copyright law is relatively automatic. Once someone has an idea and produces it in tangible form, the creator is the copyright holder and has the authority to enforce his exclusivity to it. In other words, the person is the owner of the creation. It is not necessary that a person register their work. However, it is recommended and it can serve as evidence if someone ever violates a copyright. It is interesting to note that when an employer hires an employee to produce a work that the copyright is given to the employer. Violations of US Copyright Law are generally enforced in a civil court setting. However, there could also be criminal sanctions brought against someone who violates US copyright law. Someone that is in serious violation of US Copyright Law such as counterfeiting can find themselves on the inside of prison looking out. People need to understand that the copyright symbol is not a requirement. Someone may have a copyright, yet their work may not have a copyright notice or symbol. US Copyright Law covers a wide range of things that are derived from artistic expression, intellectual or creative work. This includes things such as literary works, music, drawings, photographs, software, movies, choreographic works such as ballets and plays, poems, paintings and more. The law covers the form of expression, not the concept, facts or the actual idea of the work. This means that someone can use another person?s idea or concept and produce their own take on it. However, copying another person?s work is a violation. It should be noted that some things may not be copyrighted but they may be protected by a patent or trademark. Individuals who have a copyright on a particular piece of work can do with it what they will. They may choose to copy it and sell it. They may display their work or perform it in public and charge admission, or they can assign or sell the work to someone else. Individuals who have a copyright can also choose to do nothing with their work, if that is their desire. However, if someone comes along and takes the work and tries to use it in some way, that person is still in violation of the owner?s copyright. Copyrights cover published and unpublished work. Anyone who is in the creative arts arena should be very careful that they do not violate US Copyright Law. For that matter, anyone who is a fan of the creative arts should make sure they are not in violation of a copyright. Simple things like uploading, downloading and sharing music or movie files can result in serious charges and fines being brought against them. With the popularity of the Internet and file sharing software there many copyrights are currently being violated. Copyright owners are starting to take a stand against them and are hunting down the perpetrators. Be careful that you are not overstepping your boundaries and violating someone?s copyright law.

The Ins and Outs of Free Writing Contests (free writing contests) Free writing contests are available by the thousands. They are virtually a dime a dozen on the Internet. No matter what your niche is in the writing community there is a free writing contests out there for you. How do you know which ones to enter and which ones are legitimate? That?s simple. You do what you do best-- research. While providing the story for the free writing contest will probably be the easy part, researching the thousands of available contests will be a daunting task. If this is un-chartered water for you, you have the start at the beginning. Finding what free writing contests are available. Grab a notebook or start a word document and list the contests that are available. Beside each contest name you will want to put what kind of writing they are looking for and when it needs to be done by. By doing this first you will be able to eliminate any that do not coincide with your writing niche or with your schedule. Now the free writing contest research begins. Finding out if a contest is worthwhile and legitimate is comparable to running a background check on a person. First check the contest website. Do they have all contact information available? Do they tell you what company is hosting the contest? If they are not, you will have likely found warning number one that it is a scam. So scratch those off your list or at least move them to the bottom until you can find out more information on them. Start asking around to colleagues and writers groups. Search the writing forums and the Internet scam sites. The Better Business Bureau is also a good place to look. Once you narrowed the free writing contests down to the legitimate ones, read the contest rules and regulations. Some contests require you signing over all rights to a story even if you don?t win. Are you willing to do this? Giving up rights to you writing is a lot easier to do when you are getting something in return. After you enter there is no going back, so make sure this is what you want to do. The final thing you need to look for is if the contest is just a cover up to get you to buy services or products. This does not necessarily mean they are a scam or don?t actually award winners. It simply means that they will try to entice you to use their critiquing services or offer you a book at a reduced fee that your work will be published in. Being published sounds like a great deal but is it a book that carries prestige that people are going to see? Many authors think that writing contests will launch their career into a successful endeavor. This is not the case, especially for free writing contests. Even winning the grand prize of a smaller known contest is not going to affect your literary journey. Even though they may not springboard your career, there are good reasons to join writing contests. You will get unbiased opinions and valuable feedback from the judges. If you make it into the higher rounds, editors could also see your writing. Ultimately whether you enter a free writing contest the choice is yours. Just ask you self if the time spent writing and researching the piece you choose to enter is worth writing for free in most cases. The critique and feedback may be the most worthwhile thing you receive from the contest. But then again the judges opinions are a dime a dozen just like the contests.

Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Who are in Copyright Infringement Lawsuits? A copyright infringement lawsuit can be brought down for any number of reasons: someone using a song in a podcast or radio program, a writer ?borrowing? information from another work, the copying of video or mp3 off the internet without permission (or sometimes, even to another CD or DVD). Copyright infringement lawsuits are not generally brought to the average person, unless they?re downloading a LOT of music or movies, but usually for large operations: software pirates reselling goods on eBay or to some other unsuspecting victim, someone ?sampling? a song to make another, or maybe a person reselling mp3s online. When you understand the implications of it, copyright infringement lawsuits aren?t frivolous as some people may make it seem. For the most part, the average person?s familiarity with a copyright infringement lawsuit is taking down copyrighted material after receiving a nasty email. The use of works that are used in major record albums my major recording stars like Britney Spears or 50 Cent, people will begin copyright infringement lawsuits for songs that bear resemblance to another song. Usually these suits will be lost because it?s rather hard to prove inspiration, but they are rather costly and draining, especially if there isn?t a large backing legal team. Copyright infringement lawsuits for large enterprises can be rather costly and time consuming as well. If you work for someone, and you plagiarize someone on the company blog, the whole company can be sued, and you fired, for that infraction. Another large copyright infringement lawsuit is the eminent MySpace v. Universal Music Group, who is claiming that MySpace is knowingly committing copyright infringement by allowing it?s users to upload copyrighted material. Even then, Universal Music Group has been negotiating with MySpace and couldn?t come to an agreement ? then they filed suit. Universal Music Group has an agreement in place with YouTube, where YouTube agrees to follow Universal?s rules. It?s worked out well thus far, and I think with an agreement in place ?user created content? will retain a destination on the internet. This is a testament we all need to be with social networking sites and ?user created content.? We need to watch ourselves, because many times we may not realize the veracity of our actions. Sometimes, people break copyright laws on purpose. There is a huge market in the dealings of pirated software ? from Windows to Photoshop to The Sims. It?s very easy to share peer-to-peer, and because of that, people can resell ?pirated? for a high price ? all profit. Or they?ll download MP3 and resell them; or eBooks. These people who resell these items get nasty penalties ? with both copyright infringement lawsuits and criminal cases. They?ll pay a hefty fine and go to jail. As you can see, copyright infringement lawsuits can affect any one of us ? from our friends on MySpace to our employer, to the computer geek down the street. It?s very easy to violate copy rights, and you have to watch yourself. The chances are good that you won?t be involved in a major copyright infringement lawsuit, but you still need to ensure you?re following the copyright rules of engagement. Copyright infringement lawsuits are important in determining what is, and isn?t, applicable to copyright laws. Because of these lawsuits, our laws have changed regarding fair use, internet use, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and CreativeCommons.com has been formed. The lawsuits help us to understand what is, and what isn?t fair ? and these organizations have helped the masses to understand what?s so important about copyright, and why we need to defend our freedom of speech.

Make Allies in the Workplace to Boost your Own Employee Status A pleasant work environment can go a long way. Having allies in the workplace that work with you, opposed to against you, can create an enjoyable calm at your place of employment. While everyone is not going to be best friends in the workplace, the ability to get along is very important. This can be more challenging with some people than others. However, typically when there is a real bad apple in the mix, they tend to weed themselves out with complete alienation. With that in mind, make allies with as many of your co-workers as you can. A healthy work environment makes the actual work go much smoother. If you want to gain allies at work treat everyone with respect. Employees that are known for their fairness and respect for others are the ones that people trust. If something goes wrong on the job, the boss and other employees know that they can get the right version of the situation from the employee that is kind to everyone. You do not have to like people to be kind to them. Co-workers that you do not like personally should be the ones that you greet and discuss work issues with. Other than that, you want to steer clear of your least favorites. The same is true for bosses that are on your least liked list. Simply limit contact to business material and you will cut down on the chances of having altercations. Nothing ignites work hostility more than employees that do not do their share of the work. If you want to have allies in the workplace, be sure that you are doing your job. You will not have to force the issue if you are doing what you are supposed to do. Your co-workers will like having you around and will be pleasant if you are completing the work you need to do. Don?t gossip. This is one of the major ways to create dislike in the workplace. Spreading rumors, or even truths that were confessed behind closed doors can keep the office on edge. If you are the confidant of someone at work, do not take the information they have shared with you and share it with others. If co-workers come to you and bicker about one another, do not chime in. If they are complaining to you about someone, they are complaining about you to someone else. Politely listen and move on. Remember your manners. Sometimes things get hectic at work and we forget our manners. We find ourselves in a hurry, throwing reports at the secretary or interrupting someone?s phone conversation. Try to compose yourself and be polite. Do not forget your manners simply because you are at work. Put forth extra effort to get along with your co-workers that are not easy to get along with. Personalities are going to be in conflict occasionally. There is nothing wrong with being opposed to someone and their views of the world. However, if they are your co-worker or boss, you need to not let that get in the way of you communicating with them. Allies do not have to necessarily be friends. Instead they should be people that are aligned with you because of the job you do and the way that you treat people. Employees that are able to form alliances at work will have a much easier time getting through the day. Also, if something happens on the job and you need help, co-workers will be much more willing to help out if you are someone who is well liked. With that in mind, it is worth your effort to try to gain allies at work.