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To Enter or Not to Enter Writing Contests (writing contests) If you are a freelance writer, it is because you love to write. Why not put those abilities to use and enter a writing contest? You have nothing to loose and a lot to gain. You can find writing contests by simply searching the Internet. Writing groups and message boards may also have listing for these contests. No matter what you writing genre maybe poetry, fiction, non fiction, there is a contest out there for you. Read about them and choose which ones are right for you. It is not necessarily about winning or loosing but about the experience and knowledge that you gain to get there. Whether you win or not there are still valuable things that can be learned or gained by entering into contests. Entering writing contests will help you hone the skills that you have. Try something new, you may choose to write in a niche that you normally wouldn?t. You get constructive criticism from someone new. Someone that doesn?t have to worry about hurting your feelings and that is unbiased can be a wonderful asset to your career. The feedback you receive can be invaluable to you. It will get your name out there and give you a place to showcase your work. Depending on how good your story, if you make it to the next round your writings could be in front of editors and agents. This feedback and criticism is even more important than the first. Do not your eggs all in one basket. Enter a couple contests to get multiple feedback sources. Not every editor or agent is going to agree. By entering multiple contests and find common points about your writing that need perfecting you will be able to concentrate on a general consensus about your abilities. There are some downsides to entering writing contests, too. Chances are that a simple contest is not going to launch your career into star status. Do your research just as if you were going to write an article about contests. For many contests you give up your rights to your entry whether it wins or not. You need to decide whether or not you are willing to give up all rights to your story. If you win it is not a big deal, but if you loose your giving your work away. Are you willing to do this? Research the contest. You can search the Internet for reports or opinions on contests run by the company. You can find valuable information on if the contest is legitimate, if entering has had any effect of previous entrant?s careers, and if it is really worth it in the long run. The bigger and well-established companies will give credibility to your work if you win. But the bigger and more well know the companies are will also bring in tougher competition with well know authors. Some companies offer contests as a disguise. Yes they will give away prizes and declare winners but their main goal with the contest is advertising. It can be in the form of offering you to buy obscure book featuring your contest submission. Sometimes it is an editing company that offers a discount for its services or a company that will offer you discounts on writing classes. A writing contest is just a possible stepping stone. Whether it helps you or not is the unknown, but it definitely won?t hurt you. It may help you reach the next level of your career. You and only you will be able to make the decision on whether or not writing contests are a good move for your career.

Copyright Infringement 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!

Why Taking that Vacation Can Lead to a Better Workplace Do you love your vacations? Are they relaxing, fun and entertaining? There are many reasons why a vacation can enrich your life and fulfill you with joy and happiness. But many of these reasons actually can also be directly translated into reasons for why taking that vacation can lead to a better workplace for you, your boss and other employees. Vacations are as essential to a hard working employee as a parachute to a person jumping from an airplane with the goal to land safely. Many employers would love to minimize the time you are gone from your workplace because they think the more time you spend there, the more work you will accomplish. This argument is right up to a certain amount of hours and days a months or a year, but whenever your body starts to get tired and exhausted, the amount of work that you produce decreases. The quality of your work starts to decline as well. Time off work, time together with your family, time to relax, time to regenerate and time to just plain have fun are very important in an employees life. Taking a vacation has many benefits to the employee, but also to the company you work for. The more relaxed and happy your worker starts a workday or the workweek; the better will most likely be his or her performances at work. Research has shown that relaxation and regeneration are essential to human bodies. Did you know that in some companies in Europe and Asia, the emphasis on relaxation goes so far that meditation, morning sport and a short power nap belong to their required parts of a work day? The United States is actually one of the only industrialized countries that does not mandate a minimum of vacation days that the worker has to take off. In fact, in many countries in Europe, a minimum of 20 and more days is the norm. Since the late 1970s, the average middle income family works in total hours three and more months a year more then they did back then and according to a research done by Boston College, approximately 25% of Americans do not take a vacation at all. After all these facts are slowly emerging from mounts of collected date, some of the bigger American companies have actually begun to realize that off-time and vacation are essential to prevent mishaps and screwed up designs and products. If you are not taking your vacation or your employers does not allow for any vacation, a series of health hazards such as stress and high stress, sleeplessness, burnout, heart attacks and even more serious health conditions can occur. Another big factor in working too much, working overtime or never having vacation can be problems and loss of family and friends. Problems with families and friends will directly impact performance at work and even though the employee might not talk about it at work or might b e holding back his or her feelings, the mood and general behavior of the employee will have an impact ion his work and other employees. Every employee should value the vacation time given to him or her and employers should grant the time asked for to their employees. Vacation is essential to the performance at work and the quality in products the company can deliver. Following the examples that are set by many European countries, the US should give their employees the time they need and also make sure that their employees do take the time off to be a better employee overall. Vacation is fun, relaxing and regenerating.

Copyright music expiration For Many Copyright Music Expiration is a Luxury for Worry If you copyright music, expiration isn't something you have to worry about, at least not in your lifetime. The music that you've written is copyrighted the moment you've put it onto paper or recorded it being played. The reason you don't have to worry about expiration is because the music is protected until 70 years after the death of the author. In the case of your music, that author would be you. This rule about copyright music expiration was first put into place so that the families and heirs of an author could still earn royalties even after his or her death. Ultimately this means that if you've taken the steps to copyright your music and have registered the copyright then your music will be protected throughout your lifetime until 70 years after you or the last surviving author (assuming a collaboration) are no longer living. Copyright music expiration is not something you should make a primary concern unless you are having issues of someone respecting and/or honoring your copyright at the moment. You should take comfort in the fact that as long as you are alive you are the only one who can assign your copyright to another person and as long as you haven't given up your ownership of the music it still belongs to you. This is different however if your copyrighted music was work made for hire. If that is the case then you cannot have ownership of the music, as it never legally belonged to you no matter what form it was in when it changed hands. Works made for hire have different copyright music expiration than those that were owned by the creator. With works made for hire, the copyrights are in effect for 95 years from the original publication date or for 120 years from the creation of the work whichever of the two is shorter. For most beginning musician?s copyright music expiration date isn't as important as getting that first gig or earning that first dollar as a result of the music he or she writes and/or plays. It's about art for many and about survival for others. The latter are quite often the ones that are taken advantage of. These are the authors who don't protect themselves as they should and end up failing to register their music because the idea of buying food seemed more pertinent to survival at the moment. This is often the case, particularly among street musicians and it's something that was becoming a growing problem immediately after hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans taking with it many of the homes of starving musicians along with many pieces of music that will never become copyright music, expiration or not, those works are gone forever except in the mind of their creators. who could barely scrape together the money to pay $100 a month for a hovel they shared with 6 or 7 other people in order to keep expenses down and avoid living on the streets. The building not only of homes for those musicians displaced as a result of Katrina's devastation is wonderful but even more than that is the fact that there are organizations that are dedicated to creating a community for these musicians so that maybe many of the struggling artists won't be taken advantage of or have to face the decision to register their music in order to protect and copyright music expiration for their future heirs or to risk loosing their claim over the music they wrote in order to eat or pay the rent or buy groceries.