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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!
Great Sources for Free Games on the Internet The Internet is a great source for games, especially of course computer games. Computer games are the biggest hit since they are invented and every year thousands of PC games flood the market. Some of the computer games actually are so expensive that many parents cannot afford them for their children and are looking for alternatives that their children can play. There are actually a vast number of games that are available for free through the Internet and in some cases even as a CD. Freeware, shareware, trial products and even full version of prototypes are available on the Internet. Many pages on the Internet actually specialize in offering freeware or shareware programs. Hobbyist programmers usually write shareware and freeware programs and other programmers, who want to give something back to the community. These programs are not always working one hundred percent and most often there is also no real support for all the programs, but they are free. Freeware in general is a free program that has a copyright. The program is made available free for use, but it cannot be changed or used for development by other developers. Shareware programs are often only free for certain periods of time. After that period the user has to pay for using the software. Shareware programs are a marketing method of big computer firms. It is the try before you buy strategy that is used here. Some companies will offer the full version of the program for 30 days for trial, while others offer a version of the program with reduced functions to give the user a taste and to lure the user to buy the product if he wants to use the rest of the functions. Even thougfh both freeware and shareware are often callled free software, free software is something completely different. Free osftware are programs that are available for free, but generally are also avialble for others to study the code, change and modify or even use the code as a base for their development. In any way, these three major types of free game software can be found on the Internet along with such things as online games. Some of the games can be plauyed online. Evne though the userm ight not own the software, the games can be played for free anytime. The only thing that most of those free onlin game pages require is to sign up to their page for free. For younger hcildren, many of the educational sites offer free preschool and early childhood computer games, that teach children, the shapes, colors, vocabulary, counting and much more. With parental sucpervision such activities are safe for children and can enhance the learning process. Other pages offer free games for older chidlren and adults. While many parents do not constantly check on their chidlren while they are on the itnernet, it is important to keep up to date on their youngsters Internet activites. Many pages are completely safe, but sometimes advertisement to found the free software can be dangerous for young, innocent eyes. For adults, there are even more choices in free games. There are whole communities of gamers, that are connected throughout the world for vieosgaming sessions. Anything form cardgames to wargames can be played for free in some of those communities. All one needs might be a free membership sign up to the web page or the community. All of these sources for games can be found easily by typing the words freeware, shareware, online games into any of the major search engines. But as always, do it with cuation, conisdering the many viruses and spyware programs that aare out there in cyberspace.
Freebie Etiquette (Yes, There is Such a Thing!) When you are on the hunt for free stuff, it can be easy to be so blinded by the offers that your manners go flying out the window completely. You may also just not realize that when it comes to taking advantage of freebies there is a general code of conduct that it pays to follow. While you are racking up the free stuff, keep these common courtesy rules in mind so that you are doing your part to keep the hunt for freebies fun and enjoyable. Freebie etiquette rule number one is to remember that there is a face behind every freebie, no matter how distant it may seem. Since so many freebies come from websites and you don?t actually have interaction with a human being while you are getting them, it can be very easy to forget that someone (or very likely, a lot of someones) worked hard to bring you that website and that free deal. If you have a problem with a website or a form while trying to get some free stuff, deal with it as respectfully as you would if you had to approach a customer service rep in person. Leaving foul-mouthed posts on a message board or unloading a barrage of outrage on a customer reply form isn?t the way forward. Someone ? a real person ? will have to help you, and you?ll get a lot further by treating them with respect. Respect is also the name of the game when it comes to rules attached for freebie offers. There are often restrictions in place for taking advantage of free offers, such as the age you have to be to cash in on the offer or how many offers per household can be taken. Sure, there are plenty of ways to get around these rules and ?trick? a company into giving you an offer for which you are not really eligible. However, when you try to simply bleed out as many free offers as you can, you?re only making it hard on companies to be able to keep bringing these offers to you. If this freebie isn?t for you, take a back seat and make room for the folks who can take advantage of it. Your time will come. Related to this last rule is the idea of not being too greedy when gobbling up the free stuff. Just because something is free doesn?t mean you should use a ?smash and grab? approach and go for as much as you can get of anything you can get. Remember that there are a lot of other people out there who like to get in on the freebies, too, and think about how you would feel if you lost out on something you really wanted because someone came along and took them all. Don?t take more than your share of any free offer, and don?t take things you don?t want or need just because they?re free. Everyone loses when you do that. Last but not least, if you have an opportunity to say thanks for a freebie, grab it. Of course, this can be hard to do when the free offers you are taking advantage of are found on the Internet, but there are still ways. Look for the customer comment field in the request forms you fill out to get your free stuff and leave a quick thank you there. You can also write a thank you on message boards and chat rooms that are associated with the freebie websites. The good will generated by your gratitude will only help convince companies that freebie offers are useful tools for reeling in the customers.