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Click to see full-sizeAt the U.S. Copyright Office FAQ page, it states: "As a general rule, for works created after January 1, 1978, copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years. For an anonymous work, a pseudonymous work, or a work made for hire, the copyright endures for a term of 95 years from the year of its first publication or a term of 120 years from the year of its creation, whichever expires first. For works first published prior to 1978, the term will vary depending on several factors." Why such a long time? Because copyright protection encourages people to invest their time and effort in the production of something that other people will want to pay for. This way, copyright promotes investment, commerce and economic growth. Even if a copyrighted work is given away for free (as I've done with electronic copies of my edition of the Russian Bible), copyright should protect against other people making changes to your work.

In the U.S. for just $35 you can easily register copyright on a work you have produced yourself or have hired other people to produce: I've copyrighted several books that I wrote or edited. Almost all governments in the world have copyright laws, but some countries require a long, drawn-out and expensive legal process to register your copyright, and those same countries are often quite lax in enforcing their own copyright laws... which of course inhibits economic growth and encourages citizens to copy other people's work without permission, make slight changes to it, and claim it as their own. With computer programs, music and film this is called piracy. In academic circles this is called plagiarism, and when I catch my online students committing plagiarism, they receive a zero for their work. Some academic institutions even expel students who are caught committing plagiarism!

As you saw in our last issue, SOPA, the "Stop Online Piracy Act," is a response against piracy, but it goes too far in its draconian measures of enforcement. There are some "gray areas" regarding how much of a copyrighted work you can quote, and when you can make copies of programs, music CDs or movie DVDs. In general, the "fair use" policy allows you to quote short selections of text as long as you use quotation marks and give credit to the original source: a footnote or a link. With programs, music CDs or movie DVDs that you have purchased, you can generally make one backup copy, or convert a music CD or movie DVD to a different format so you can store it on your computer's hard drive: read the copyright notice and license terms on each package! Here's a handy reference: File Sharing FAQ.

If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.

Often, when people forward emails to you, another copyright violation occurs: the copyright notice is often left off! Recipients who forward the material themselves become copyright lawbreakers, often without realizing it. Not seeing a notice, the issue of copyright does not occur to mind and, once again, violations of copyright law compound exponentially. Even if material doesn't contain an explicit copyright notice, the1978 copyright law states that the author possesses a "natural copyright" to his work, and it is unlawful to copy it without the author's explicit, written permission. So the rule is: unless the author gives written permission for you to copy and pass something along, don't do it!

Some people, especially in countries with low economic development, think they have a right to copy anything in digital format without paying for it or asking permission from copyright holders. They have a very poor understanding of what "copyright" means. In Russia, I was once told - by the editor of a book I was having published! - that "copyright" means you have the right to copy anything you want. Illegal file sharing of music and videos is hurting those who invest their time and money in producing those works. Some people even push this idea of the "righteousness" of file sharing to the level of religious conviction: File-Sharing Recognized as Official Religion in Sweden. Their religion is called "Kopimi" - pronounced "copyme" - can you believe it?!

Click on Online PC Support for our worldwide help   &   Offsite Backup Services for securing your files!

The Security Blurb:
With all the hype about "cloud computing," I'm still reluctant to entrust my computing and my data files to any company that doesn't care as much about my stuff as I do. Yes, I use offsite backups, but they are encrypted and only I know the encryption key. Also, I keep local backups of my programs and data - also encrypted - "just in case" the offsite backup company goes belly-up at the same time my computer crashes or is stolen. Here's another viewpoint on "cloud computing" - PATRIOT Act Gives Foreigners Good Reason to Avoid U.S. Clouds . The question is, if foreigners don't trust U.S. "clouds," which other government could they trust? Russia's? China's? India's? You probably already know about hackers in Russia and China. But the latest commercial website hacking, that of Symantec's anti-virus program's source code, is suspected of having originated from a high-level team of hackers in India.

The goal of our CN.Net-News is to share information that we think you'll find helpful as you wrestle with that little monster on your desk or at your side, your computer. And we aim to present this information from a Christian worldview. Thanks for your time!

Best regards,

"Dr. Bob the CompuNerd"

Robert D hoskEN
See the "nerd" in my name? (It helps if you're a little dyslexic!)
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