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Understanding Copyright Law
Copyright law is a set of laws that is used to regulate things such as movies, plays, poems, musical compositions, drawings, paintings, sculptures, software, photographs, sculptures, literary works, choreographic works, radio broadcasts, televisions broadcasts and more. Copyright law is only regulated to cover the manner or form in which the information or material is expressed. For instance, it does not cover the idea or facts which are represented in a work. In instances where a copyright does not exist, patents or trademarks may be in place which can impose legal restrictions.
Copyright law states that the holder of the copyright has the right to make copies or reproduce the work to sell. They can also export or import the work, create derivative or adaptation of the original work, display or perform the work publicly and assign or sell the rights to someone else. Copyright law is set up to protect people from having someone do something with their copyrighted work or material. Someone that has a copyright may choose to exploit their copyrighted work, or they may choose not to. Many people debate whether copyright law and copyrights are moral rights or merely property rights. It is important to note that in the U.S. copyright law covers protection for published and unpublished works.
Copyright law protection covers a work from the time it is created in a tangible form. The author or creator of the work immediately holds the copyright to the work and it is the property of the author or creator. No one else can claim copyright to it, unless the original copyright holder (the author or creator) gives or sells the rights to another person.
Many people fail to understand that merely owning or possessing a work does not give them the copyright to it. Just because you have ownership of a copyrighted work does not mean that you own the copyright. Likewise, if you copy someone?s work and list their name on it, you are undertaking copyright infringement.
Many people also fail to understand when copyright protection is secured. The moment a work is written or created and it is in physical tangible form or recorded it falls under copyright law. While it is recommended to register your work through the Copyright Office, if your work is not registered and someone steals your work, they have violated your copyright. Using a copyright notice is not required by law. However, many recommended that the copyright notice or symbol be used so remind the general public that the piece is under copyright. Anything that is created after 1977 is protected by copyright law for the lifetime of the author of the creator, plus an additional 70 years after the creator?s death.
The public domain is a good source of information that is no longer under a copyright or work that was never under a copyright to begin with. Virtually all works that were created or published in the United States prior to 1923 are said to be in the public domain. Things that can be found in the public domain that are free of copyright law generally include generic facts and information, works that have a lapse in their copyrights (this encompasses works that were created prior to 1978) and materials and information put out by the United States government. In addition, you may find works in the public domain that are free of copyright law because it has been dedicated to the public domain.
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.
Ghost Writer: Who Uses Them and Why (ghost writer) A ghost writer is someone who is hired to write for another person under their name. In most cases ghostwriters do the work while the hiring person gets the credit. The use of a ghost writer is huge business. People in virtually every aspect of life could use a ghost writer. A ghost writer will need the ability to become the person they are writing for. The writer has to be able to use their mannerisms, their words, and their way of speaking. The writing must read like they are coming from the person themselves. Being a ghost writer means that you give absolutely all rights to the credited author. You will need to decide if it is worth it for someone else to take credit for your work. There will be confidentiality clauses in your ghost writing contracts. They will state something to the effect of legal action will be against you if the writing is reproduced by you in any way shape or form. There are many reasons why a person would use a ghost writer. Celebrities and public figures use ghost writers to write their biographies and memoirs. Ghost writers are hired to make celebrities sound as interesting and compelling as possible. Their purpose is to pen the stories into best selling books. Motivational speakers may use ghost writers to write self help books. Just because they are great speakers does not mean they can pen the words on paper. Or they just may simply not have the time. There are many types of ghost writing opportunities available. Non fiction writing would be your biographies, autobiographies, how to books, and memoirs. A ghost writer?s role in non fiction could range from the very minimal to the most complex. They may be given an almost complete manuscript and asked to add some finishing touches. Or they may have to start at the bottom collecting research and following the project through until publication. Accomplished fiction writers may use ghost writers to carry on a series of books after the author has passed or to carry out the series while they work on new ventures. The Author may have an established pen name that they use a ghost writer for while they write under the real name. Ghost writers are often used for scripts and screen plays. They are hired to finish and polish the writings of the authors. High school and college students will hire ghost writers to write their entrance essays, thesis, and term papers. Although this may seem unethical, it is legal. The writing and selling of the paper is perfectly legal. It is when the student turns the paper in as his or her own writing that it turns into an illegal action. The political venue for ghost writers is to correspond to the letters that they receive. Official will review the letters before being sent. A political speech writer is often considered a ghost writer. But others will argue this since it is public knowledge that political officials do not write their own speeches. In order to succeed as a ghost writer you must have excellent writing skills and often be able to take on the personality of the credited author. You must also be a great sales person in order to sell your service and be able to prove that you are the best possible choice for them to use you in their endeavors. Making the decision if ghost writing is right for you may be a difficult one. It is often hard for writers to give up all rights to their work.