You share music, rip DVDs, make Hitler whine about your first world problems, and much more in the course of your regular online activities — and more often than not, you do these things without giving a thought to the fact that you're actually breaking the law. Here's a look at how you're inevitably circumventing copyright law and what you can do to protect yourself.
Why it's almost impossible to avoid breaking copyright law
Copyright law is extremely complex. It's so complex that lawyers, lawmakers, and experts heavily argue over how it's interpreted and applied. Nonetheless, if you commit a crime, you can't use ignorance as an excuse. The law doesn't (officially) offer leniency for misunderstanding or lack of knowledge. So how can you comply with convoluted copyright laws when you can't realistically understand them all? You can't, and so you may end up breaking these laws on a regular basis without ever knowing it.
To make matters worse, a spectrum of illegality makes it acceptable to break the rules in some circumstances yet not others. Experience tells us that uploading a home video to a video sharing website (e.g. YouTube) that features a copyrighted song is sometimes okay, but downloading a television episode is not.
Both of these actions are similarly illegal, but the first example is regularly tolerated while the second can lead to a loss of Internet connectivity, a fine, or even jail time (depending on the number of offenses and how often copyright holders decide to "catch" you).
Just as it's easier for us to circumvent copyright law online, it's easier for copyright holders to come after us. I spoke with Derek Bambauer, assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School, who explained this is particularly problematic because infringement is often only a byproduct of the way we communicate and bears no intention of doing anything illegal:
The tricky thing is, if you and I want to share a recipe then I photocopy it and then come over to your office and give it to you — so it's just you and me. If I want to do it online, the odds are pretty good that we're going to do it on a social network or a blog or something like that. That means that the blog is all of the sudden a choke point — something that people who want to keep us from doing this can exert control over. The way the law deals with this is with the notice of takedown under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), but that's just on the copyright owner's say-so. The copyright owner says "That's infringing!" and the site should take it down. You can get it back up, but you have to file a counter notice and it takes somewhere between 10 and 14 days. It's a lot of hassle. Copyright owners, through the DMCA, have a good deal of control over the way we communicate.
But because rights holders are often fickle about what they choose to have removed and what to leave alone, it's difficult to rely on the law for guidance. The result is that we — the average users and consumers of the Internet — are unsure of how to proceed when dealing with copyrighted works and either have to assume we have no rights or make our best guess and hope it doesn't lead to legal consequences.
It all comes down to this reality: you will often have to circumvent or ignore copyright law to go on with your regular activities. Fortunately, there are ways to handle these circumstances better and keep yourself out of trouble. In this post, we're going to look at specific situations you encounter on a regular basis and what you can do to protect yourself.
The ways you're breaking the law (and how you can protect yourself) Tolerated action: Mix "tapes"
The idea of the mix tape has been around for many years. It came with the invention of the compact cassette tape and the ability to record songs from the radio or other sources. This made it possible for us to create our first "playlists" of songs we liked and share them with others. With tapes, this required time and effort. Now that we have digital music files, we can throw together a mix "tape" in a matter of seconds. Initially this was a big problem because it removed the barrier of effort from sharing copyrighted music with others.
While the action of making a mix tape violated copyright law, too, it was tolerated because it required a lot of effort, had a inefficient method of mass distribution, and was often an effective marketing tool.
Digital files made mass distribution both efficient and easy, which led to intolerance on behalf of theRecording Industry Association of America (RIAA) andseveral ineffective law suits. Today, sharing is mostly tolerated because the problem appears to be insurmountable. The recording industry, to some extent, has found it necessary to accept the existence of music piracy and begrudgingly align themselves with online music sales and distributions services like Apple's iTunes and the Amazon MP3 Store. For the most part, consumers won the battle because they ended up with simple online purchasing methods that cost less money and music that, essentially, has no real restrictions of use.
Despite all of that, you're legally prohibited from sharing your music on a large scale. Posting the actual song files online is particularly problematic. The recording industry even fought Amazon's Cloud Drive, which allows the online storage and playback of digital music without any sharing features at all. While Amazon ultimately won that battle, you and I don't have their legal resources.
If you decide to store a few songs online and share them openly with others — even if it's solely for the purpose of collective listening at a party or office environment — you run the risk of account suspension with the company hosting your files. You could even face legal action, although a DMCA takedown requestasking you to simply remove the files is the most likely consequence.
While you're putting yourself at risk by uploading your music to, say, a Web host, there are several services you can use to share music with others without the likelihood of retribution. Turntable.fm is one of our favorite collaborative playlist services. It allows you to upload songs online and faux-DJ with others who join your room. They can contribute songs to the playlist as well and everyone can provide live feedback about the music they're hearing. Chatting is also an option.
While there are few dire consequences nowadays when it comes to sharing music online, using a service like Turntable.fm offers a better experience than simply posting files. This kind of reasonable use is tolerated, even though it's not perfectly legal or desired by the recording industry.
Illegal action: Downloading TV shows and movies
It's unlikely that anyone who's spent a moment online is unaware of the illegality associated with downloading unlicensed TV shows and movies fromfile sharing services. Nonetheless, it's extremely common, but the cause varies. While some are undoubtedly stealing television and film content because they simply do not want to pay, many are employing piracy because the barrier to entry is unrealistic for most consumers.
If you want to see "Game of Thrones" (and I do), your options are 1) subscribe to cable plus HBO, or 2) pirate. I think the series rocks, but I'm not paying $100 a month for it. If HBO expects me to do so, it weakens their moral claim against piracy. Unconvinced? Imagine instead that HBO offers to let you watch "Game of Thrones" for free — but the only place on Earth you can view the series is in the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. You're located in rural Iowa? Well, you've no cause for complaint! Fly to LA! I suspect that translating costs into physical costs makes the argument clearer: HBO charges not only for the content, but bundles it with one particular delivery medium. If that medium is unavailable to you, or unaffordable, you're out of luck. Unless, of course, you have broadband, and can BitTorrent.
So what can you do? As you might imagine from Derek's example, your options are pretty limited. Although you can find many shows and movies on services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes, those services are often lacking in content (like "Game of Thrones") that is too difficult, expensive, or sometimes even impossible (e.g. if you live outside of the United States) to acquire.
For now there is little we can do to make this situation better other than encourage the film and television industries to regard piracy as competition. As iTunes has proven with music and cartoonist The Oatmeal has cleverly illustrated, when it's easier and affordable to use the legal route, that's the route most people will take.
Tolerated action: Mashups and other derivative works
Creating derivative works — the process of using copyrighted material to create something new — is illegal if you do not obtain permission from the rights holders. Nonetheless, this action is often tolerated because it often serves as a unique marketing tool for the content in use. Whether a derivative work will be tolerated or not is entirely unknown as rights holders have reacted both positively and negatively in many circumstances.
This situation is indicative of the problem you face when creating derivative works without permission. Because you are circumventing copyright law, you know you have the risk of your work being removed from the Internet. You would, ideally, obtain permission before posting a derivative work you created, but that course of action is often too difficult and too expensive for the average person. Professional and political activist Lawrence Lessigaligns many derivative works with quoting and believes preventing this action stifles creativity:
Both professionals, such as the band Girl Talk or the artist Candice Breitz, and amateurs, including thousands creating videos posted on YouTube, are finding themselves the target of overeager lawyers. Because their creativity captures or includes the creativity of others, the owners of the original creation are increasingly invoking copyright to stop the spread of this unauthorized speech. This new work builds upon the old by in effect "quoting" the old. But while writers with words have had the freedom to quote since time immemorial, "writers" with digital technology have not yet earned this right. Instead, the lawyers insist permission is required to include the protected work in anything new.
Though Lessig's hopes for the future of remixes and mashups are better for creativity, for now they are just hopes. That said, you're not forced into simply posting your work online and hoping for the best. There are a few things you can do to avoid those overeager lawyers. Derek Bambauer offers a few suggestions:
Post to smaller, niche-sharing sites that don't automatically remove content that may contain (or appear to contain) copyrighted works.
If you want to post to larger sites, mirror the content on smaller sites as well.
Post to sites that use off-shore servers and are not subject to the DMCA.
Of course, creating a mashup or other kind of derivative work without expressed permission means you are breaking copyright law. If you profit from the work, you are absolutely putting yourself at risk. Although recent history has shown us that derivative works generally receive little more than a DMCA takedown notice, the risk is still present. Consider it heavily before you choose whether or not to proceed.
You can rip a DVD to obtain a portion of its contents for educational purposes or criticism, governed by fair use.
You can jailbreak, root, or unlock your phone to run legally obtained software or to use it with a different carrier.
You can break video game encryption for security-testing purposes.
You can crack computer programs that require hardware dongles to run only if the dongles are obsolete or unobtainable.
You can use a computer-synthesized voice to read an e-book to you regardless of any restrictions imposed by that book or its publisher.
When it comes to reasonable personal use, the law really isn't on your side. The advantage you do have, in most cases, is anonymity. If you're breaking copy protection so you're able to use legally obtained media or software in the way that you want without sharing it, it's virtually impossible for anyone to find out. It's also very unlikely that you'd prosecuted for breaking copy protection solely for personal use because proving damages would be difficult and not worth the cost. For the most part, you're in the clear and really only have to worry if you find yourself in the highly unlikely circumstance of having your hard drive seized during a legal investigation.
There are really only two minor concerns you'll want to be aware of. The first relates to a decision in the case of RealNetworks v. DVD CCA, which decided the manufacturing of DVD ripping tools was illegal. Said the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
While it may well be fair use for an individual consumer to store abackup copy of a personally owned DVD on that individual's computer, a federal law has nonetheless made it illegal to manufacture or traffic in a device or tool that permits a consumer to make such copies.
This means there is some risk of DVD-ripping tools becoming unavailable. Nonetheless, this decision was made in 2009 and thus far there is no lack of available options. Your other concern may be your warranty, which is really only relevant when breaking protection schemes on smartphones. While you can do this legally, you're often going to void your warranty if you cause a problem that's clearly the result of the jailbreaking, rooting, or unlocking process. The bottom line is this: don't share files or software with copy protection you've removed and proceed with caution if you warranty is at risk. Keep those things in mind and it's unlikely you'll run into trouble.
Illegal action: Using commercial software you didn't pay for
Pirated software is illegal, and that's something most of us know and wouldn't refute. That said, there are circumstances where you may have a legitimate reason for pirating an app or two. Here are a few examples:
You want to try out an app before you buy it but there isn't an available demo (or the trial period is unreasonably short, such as the trial/refund availabiltiy period of 15 minutes offered by the Google Android Marketplace.)
You purchased a used computer that came with used software but you didn't receive all the licenses and need to reinstall the software.
You own the software but your copy protection dongle broke or you permanently lost your registration information.
The copy protection imposed on your legally obtained software is frustrating and prohibitive, so you use a pirated copy despite actually owning the legal software. (I'm looking at you, music production software.)
Someone gave you free software and you were led to believe it was legal to use but, in reality, it wasn't.
Although these routes are available to you, it's best to avoid piracy altogether. If you're considering software piracy because of the high cost of software, don't forget that there are lots of ways to get steep discounts. Ultimately there are few reasonable justifications for pirating software and the law will not be on your side.
What about everything else?
The above examples only scratch the surface of the various copyright issues you can run into on a daily basis, which leaves the question of "How do I communicate and share online without putting myself at risk?"
While there's currently no clear answer, Derek Bambauer suggests you ask yourself one simple question: "Does this feel wrong to me?" While the answer may not always guide you to a fully legal answer, as copyright law is currently comprised of so many gray areas, your own moral compass is often your most reliable guide.
Watch these videos to learn how to make a Prezi presentation. You are going to make a presentation on any subject you like. It can be personal and non school related or for a class. Make it cool and use pics and graphics.
Communications coach Carmine Gallo discusses five simple tips for pitching a product, service, company—or yourself
I recently gave a talk about communications skills at a company that makes high-end kitchen appliances. Later in the day, the company's new spokesperson, a celebrity chef, demonstrated some new products. Out of several appliances, I thought the toaster would be the least interesting. After all, what's so exciting about a toaster? Mine works perfectly fine, thank you. But as much as I didn't want to admit it, by the end of the demo I wanted to buy the toaster. I returned home and asked my wife if it was time to replace our toaster. Why? The chef's two-minute pitch had been so persuasive it changed my attitude and turned me into a believer. Actually, it did better than that. It transformed me into a product evangelist. I've already sung the toaster's praises to several people. The chef, perhaps unknowingly but extremely convincingly, used five techniques to sell me. Anyone can adopt these techniques to pitch just about anything—from appliances to services to themselves.
Demonstrate enthusiasm. If you're not passionate about the product, your listeners won't be. The chef said: "Now here's something I'm really excited about." I thought to myself, If he's excited, maybe I should pay attention. There might be more to this toaster than I thought. Your listeners are giving you permission to have fun and to show excitement. All too often, business professionals get into "presentation mode," and lose their personality and enthusiasm. Virgin's Richard Branson has a key condition for entering a new business: It has to be fun. If it's not fun, why bother? Too many of us are subject to dull pitches and presentations. Inject some excitement into your pitch. (For tips on boosting your energy level, read my previous column (see BusinessWeek.com, 12/21/07).
Find a personal connection. The chef didn't start by demonstrating the toaster. He spent a few seconds talking about how he grew up with this company's products in his home and just how ingrained the products were in his country's culture. By doing so, he showed he cared about the product and wasn't just paid to pitch something with which he had no personal connection. Remember, people want to like the person behind the product. A famous New York mutual fund manager once told me that he invests in people, not buildings or things. He needs to respect and admire the person behind the company before he considers investing. Your listeners want to make an investment in you. Make them feel good about the person they're backing.
Sell the benefit. While showing us that the outside of the appliance was cool to the touch, the chef mentioned how it was designed with safety in mind, and used an example of kids playing in a kitchen. Instead of simply demonstrating the features behind the product, the chef sold the benefit behind the features. This is a critical persuasion technique. Identify the potential problem before offering a solution.
Nobody Wants a Drill Bit
There is a saying in the insurance industry that every year, 6 million quarter-inch drill bits are sold, yet nobody wants a quarter-inch drill bit; they want a quarter-inch hole. Nobody cares about the features of a life-insurance policy, but they want to know what the features provide, such as peace of mind and financial security in the event of a mishap. When I returned home from my trip on Southwest (LUV), I noticed that in all the company's marketing material, Southwest is not selling a plane ride—it is selling productivity. From the way the company describes its new boarding procedures, promoting on-time arrivals and new workspaces in waiting areas, the message is clear—we sell productivity. Ask yourself: What are you really selling? You will find that you are not selling a widget; instead, you are selling a better life for your customer thanks to the experience your widget provides.
Tell stories. "Let me tell you about an experience I had with a world-renowned chef in London..." With that, the chef regaled us with memories of his travels. Stories create connections between individuals. They can tell your listeners more about your product than just the facts.
For example, in the area of enterprise security technology, I recently met a smart IT manager who successfully sells ideas by telling stories. He doesn't start a pitch by saying: "This enterprise level security solution represents best-in-class technology for our scalable architecture." Instead, he tells stories that begin like this: "Imagine walking into work Monday morning to find that your computers had been stolen…" Simple stories can take under 30 seconds to tell but can offer more information than mountains of data. Too few business professionals recognize the power of stories to create a common thread of understanding between speaker and listener. Tell more stories and you'll stand apart.
Teach us something new. The chef demonstrating the toaster taught us about a nesting trend and how this new toaster fit into it. Kitchens have become showplaces, he explained. Homeowners not only want appliances that look good—they want devices that save energy, come in colors other than white, offer more functions, and are easy to clean.
A venture capitalist who I interviewed for a panel offered this advice to the entrepreneurs in the audience: "If you can teach me something I didn't know before, you'll have my attention, and perhaps my money!" Every successful pitch has the element of knowledge, teaching your listeners something that wasn't obvious to your audience.
Creating a positive association with a product as mundane as a toaster is no easy feat. Yet this chef won me over in under two minutes. This proves you have the ability to persuade your listeners with every pitch. Don't believe you have a dull product. As a former correspondent for CNN, I learned that how the message is told is as important as the message itself.
When you start a business, it’s essential to promote your current news to the pressin order to generate sales. After all, a feature story in a targeted media venue can significantly boost brand awareness and foot or web traffic to your business. More importantly, this kind of coverage provides third-party credibility that you simply cannot buy with paid advertising. The good news is that you can increase your chances of getting some free publicity by creating a user-friendly media kit for yoursmall business.
What is a Media Kit?
A media kit is a packet of information about your business that is created for use by the press. Its purpose is to provide media members with the necessary data to report on your business.
Why Do You Need a Media Kit?
If reporters are on a tight deadline to finish a story, they are going to look for the fastest and easiest way to get the information they need. If your competitor has a media kit with this data readily available and you don’t, guess who’s going to get the free publicity?
Media kits are also great tools for communicating important points about yourcompany to potential new customers and partners. The information is easily accessible in one central location (especially if it is online), and you can still print copies of your media kit for conferences, tradeshows and targeted media members as needed. But by posting the information on your website, you can save a significant amount of time and money in printing and shipping fees.
What Does a Media Kit Contain?
Most media kits include the following information:
Business Facts Write a brief synopsis of what your company does and why you are unique. Include your mission statement, goals and any other pertinent information about your business. You can write this in the form of “Frequently Asked Questions” or use succinct paragraphs to describe the important facts you want to convey.
History This page contains all of the data about the history of your business. You’ll want to include photos, the date you founded your business and why you started it. To interest readers, also add your thoughts and personal stories on how your business evolved from idea to startup business to present day. If you don’t have a lot to share, you may want to include this information on your “Business Facts” page.
Products/Services It is very important to list all of your products and services and the benefits of each in your media kit. An outsider should be able to read this page in just a few minutes and know exactly what you sell and why people buy it. Depending on the data, consider using brief paragraphs with headers or a list with bullet-points.
Bios On this page, provide biographies of the key leaders at your organization and their photos. Write short paragraphs that are interesting and easy-to-read. And rather than using a pre-written resume, add pertinent anecdotes, quotes and other unique criteria that establish credibility for each individual listed.
Include information about birthplace, hometown, education, business experience, awards, and any other vital facts you want media members to know. Also, add some personal tidbits, such as marital status, family information and hobbies enjoyed outside of work so readers can relate to the executives.
Current News Entice the media, and let readers know that your business is up-to-date by including current news, industry trends and exciting events in your media kit. List all of your press releases, published press clippings, video samples, businesstestimonials from customers, case studies, speaking engagements, articles, and other activities.
Also include company brochures, logos, photos, identity standards, and potential story ideas to help media members get necessary data quickly. If you are in the process of obtaining press clippings, just include whatever information you have now, and make an effort to add to this section on a regular basis.
Ready To Go!
When you have finished preparing your media kit, confirm that all of the information is current, the website links work and that contact information is readily available. If you need additional help, review media kits offered by your competitors and successful companies in your industry. You may also want to hire an experienced, public relations expert to create your media kit and add a professional touch.
It takes time and creativity to craft an effective media kit. But when media members start calling to offer free publicity opportunities, you’ll be ready.
Melanie Rembrandt is the owner of Rembrandt Communications, LLC. She provides targeted writing and public relations services for small business owners who want to increase brand awareness on time and within budget.
In music and music theory, the beatis the basic unit of time, the pulse of the mensural level (or beat level). In popular use, the beat can refer to a variety of related concepts including: tempo, meter, rhythm andgroove. In modern pop music, the term "beats" has been used to describe whole pieces of composed music. This is a distinct and separate use of the term from the way "beat" is used traditionally as related only to the rhythmic element of music.
Rhythm in music is characterized by a repeating sequence of stressed and unstressed beats (often called "strong" and "weak") and divided into bars organized by time signature and tempoindications.
The downbeat is the impulse that occurs at the beginning of a bar in measured music. Its name is derived from the downward stroke of the director or conductor's baton on the first beat of each measure. It frequently carries the strongest accent of the rhythmic cycle. However, in some cases, the downbeat may not be emphasized. Such departure from the normal stress pattern of a measure is a form of syncopation.
1. An unaccented beat or beats that occur before the first beat of the followingmeasure. In other words, this is an impulse in a measured rhythm that immediately precedes, and hence anticipates, the downbeat. It can be the last beat in a bar where that bar precedes a new bar of music.
2. An anticipatory note or succession of notes occurring before the first barline of a piece, sometimes referred to as an ‘upbeat figure’, section or phrase. An alternative expression is "anacrusis" (from Greek. ana: "up towards" and krousis: "to strike"; Fr. anacrouse). This term was borrowed from poetry where it refers to one or more unstressed extrametrical syllables at the beginning of a line.
3. The upward stroke made by a conductor to indicate the beat that leads into a new measure.
On-beat and off-beat
In music that progresses regularly in 4/4 time, counted as "1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4...", the first beat of the bar (down-beat) is usually the strongest accent in the melody and the likeliest place for a chord change, the third is the next strongest: these are "on" beats. The second and fourth are weaker - the "off-beats". Subdivisions (like eighth notes) that fall between the pulse beats are even weaker and these, if used frequently in a rhythm, can also make it "off-beat". The effect can be easily simulated by evenly and repeatedly counting to four: Bold denotes a stressed beat. As a background against which to compare these various rhythms a bass drum strike on the downbeat and a constant eighth note subdivision on ride cymbal have been added, which would be counted as follows:
So Off-beat is a musical term commonly applied to syncopation that emphasizes the weak even beats of a bar, as opposed to the "normal" on-beat. This is a fundamental technique of African polyrhythm that transferred to popular western music. According to Grove Music, the “Offbeat” is [often] where the downbeat is replaced by a rest or is tied over from the preceding bar". The downbeat can never be the off-beat because it is the strongest beat in 4/4 time. Certain genres in particular tend to emphasize the off-beat. This emphasis is a defining characteristic of rock'n'roll and Ska music.
Tamlyn found slap bass executions on the backbeat in styles of country western music of the 1930s, and the late 40s early 50s music a Hank Williams reflected a return to strong backbeat accentuation as part of the honky tonk style of country. In the mid 1940s "hillbilly" musicians theDelmore Brothers were turning out boogie tunes with a hard driving back beat, such as the #2 hit "Freight Train Boogie" in 1946, as well as in other boogie songs they recorded. Similarly Fred Maddox’s trademark back beat, a slapping bassstyle, helped drive a rhythm that came to be known as rockabilly, one of the early forms of rock and roll. Maddox had used this style as early as 1937.
In today's popular music the snare drum is typically used to play the backbeat pattern. Early funk music often delayed one of the backbeats so as, "to give a 'kick' to the [overall] beat".
Cross-rhythm. A rhythm in which the regular pattern of accents of the prevailing meter is contradicted by a conflicting pattern and not merely a momentary displacement that leaves the prevailing meter fundamentally unchallenged—New Harvard Dictionary of Music (1986: 216).
The cross-rhythmic ratio three-over-two (3:2) or vertical hemiola, is the most significant rhythmic cell found in sub-Saharan rhythms. The following measure is evenly divided by three beats and two beats. The two cycles do not share equal status though. The two bottom notes are the primary beats, the ground, the main temporal referent. The three notes above are the secondary beats. Typically, the dancer's feet mark the primary beats, while the secondary beats are accented.
The example below shows the African 3:2 cross-rhythm within its proper metric structure.
Novotney observes: "The 3:2 relationship (and [its] permutations) is the foundation of most typical polyrhythmic textures found in West African musics." 3:2 is the generative or theoretic form of sub-Saharan rhythmic principles. Agawu succinctly states: "[The] resultant [3:2] rhythm holds the key to understanding . . . there is no independence here, because 2 and 3 belong to a single Gestalt."
The three-against-four (3:4) cross-rhythm consists of a "slow" cycle of three beats over four main beats. The three-beat cycle is represented as half-notes in the following example for visual emphasis.
A hyperbeat is one unit of hypermeter, generally a measure. "Hypermeter is meter, with all its inherent characteristics, at the level where measures act as beats."
Afterbeat refers to a percussion style where a strong accent is sounded on the second, third and fourth beats of the bar, following the downbeat.
In Reggae music, the term One Dropreflects the complete de-emphasis (to the point of silence) of the first beat in the cycle.
James Brown’s signature funk groove emphasized the downbeat – that is, with heavy emphasis "on the one" (the first beat of every measure) – to etch his distinctive sound, rather than the back beat (familiar to many R&B musicians) which places the emphasis on the second beat.