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Patent and copyright law Understanding Patent and Copyright Law Patent and copyright law gives the inventor the exclusive rights to the invention. No one else can produce the invention for a set period of time under patent and copyright law. Patent and copyright law is set up to protect inventors. The law on patents can be found in the United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 8 and in Title 35 of the United States Code. The agency that is in charge of patent laws is a Federal Agency known as the Patent and Trademark Office. Anyone who applies for a patent will have their application reviewed by an examiner. The examiner will decide if a patent should be granted to the inventor. Individuals who have their patent application turned down can appeal it to the Patents Office Board of Appeals. Just because someone has a patent does not mean that they have the right to use, make or sell the invention. For instance, if a drug company comes up with a new drug, they can get a patent on it. However, it would not be available to be sold to the general public until the drug becomes approved by other regulatory bodies. Likewise, someone may invent an improvement to an existing product, yet they will not be allowed to produce or sell the item until they obtain a license to do so from the owner of the original patent holder. For someone to receive a patent, as stated, they must fill out an application on their invention. The application will entail the details of the invention and how it is made. In addition, the person applying for a patent must make claims that point to what the applicant deems or regards as his or her invention. A patent may have many claims with it. The claims protect the patent owner and notify the public exactly what the individual has patented or owns. If someone infringes upon patent and copyright law, it is usually enforced in a civil court setting. The owner of the patent will generally bring a civil lawsuit against the person who has infringed upon their patent and ask for monetary compensation. In addition, the patent owner can seek an injunction which would prohibit the violator from continuing to engage in any acts that would infringe upon their patent in the future. Many patent owners will make licensing agreements (or contracts) with others. These agreements allow another person or company to use someone?s patented invention in return for royalties. In addition, some patent holders who are competitors may agree to license their patents to each other to expand both of their profits. Most everything we use in our day to day life was invented by someone. That person had to seek out a patent for their invention. Patent and copyright law protects inventors from having their ideas and inventions stolen out from under them. This makes the playing field more level for individuals. Without these laws, the marketplace would be out of control and the small guy would probably be eaten alive by big business

Following Up on Fallacies about Getting Free Stuff ?Free stuff? ? the mere whisper of the words is often enough to make many people throw common sense out the window and head for the free goods like a missile to a target. And then there are those people whose eyes glaze over when they hear those words, because they can?t believe anything worth having can actually be free. The truth about free stuff is really somewhere in the middle. Yes, you can really and truly cash in on many freebie deals for things that you want to have, but a healthy sense of cynicism about free gear is also useful. Here are some of the important things to keep in mind about free stuff. The first myth you should throw out the window is that nothing good comes for free. The fact of the matter is that the price tag on a good doesn?t always match up to the quality, and there are many great free things out there. Case in point: music. Sure, everyone has heard the scare stories about file sharing online, and maybe some big record labels will come after you if you focus on their artists. Dig a little below the surface, however, and you can find a whole new world of really great bands that are more than happy for you to listen to their music over and over again. The same goes for free software. People on the cutting edge of technology who have a passion for creating new and efficient applications often develop open source code software. They?re doing it for the love of it, and they often have more talent than any ten suit-and-tie tech guys trying to hock their latest product for a mega profit margin. Here is where the reality part comes in, however. Yes, you can find wonderful things that are completely free ? but yes, you can also find a lot of free things that aren?t worth your time at all and in some cases can cause you a lot of trouble. The net is a great place to fall victim to a ?free stuff? scam, but you can also sometimes come across these scams in the mail as well. If something is free, but requires you to give your credit card number or bank details, run the other way. Another myth people have about free stuff, especially free stuff on the internet, is that when you try to cash in, the only free stuff you will be getting is an inbox full of more spam than you can handle. The truth about this is, well, that is can certainly be true. Many companies give away free things in exchange for your email address, so they can try to hit you up to purchase things in the future. What makes this a myth, however, is that it can be avoided. If you don?t want to choke on an inbox of spam, and who could blame you, set up a special (free) email account that you will use exclusively for freebie hunting. You?ll have the best of both worlds. The last myth about free stuff involves the ?catch? people are always looking for. Often, for free stuff, the catch is a bit of junk mail or email or the fact that you have to submit to a time consuming survey. Sometimes, the catch is that if you get free stuff through a trial offer, if you don?t cancel it, it keeps coming, and this time you have to pay. The truth about these catches is, however, that the catch is in the eye of the beholder. These things don?t make products any less free; so don?t write off every free offer offhand. You might just find a catch you can live with to get a great free product you really want.

Software copyright act The Software Copyright Act was a Great Step in the Right Direction The software copyright act, which is actually called the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has given software developers a little more power when it comes to protecting their works. If you've bought software in the last few years I'm sure you've noticed some of the changes that have been made in the software buying process. If not, then you really should wake up and take note. Some of the more noteworthy achievements of this act are the following: 1) It is now a crime to go around anti-piracy measures in software. 2) It is no longer legal to make, sale, or give away software or devices that were invented for the purpose of cracking codes enabling the illegal copying of software. 3) Limits the liability that ISPs (as far as copyright infringement violations) when information is transmitted online. The problem isn't the people want to be bad or do something wrong. Most of us by nature want to do the right thing. The problem lies in educating people to the fact that it really is stealing when you bootleg, pirate, illegally download, or otherwise acquire copies of software that you didn't pay for. It's one of those 'white lie' types of crimes for most people and they don't really see how it will hurt anyone for them to copy a game that their brother, cousin, uncle, or friend has. Someone paid for it after all. The problem is that at $50 plus being the average price for computer games and simple software if 10 million people are doing it, the numbers are staggering and they add up quickly. The software copyright act sought to protect businesses from losing money this way. The software copyright act was the worldwide response to a growing problem. This problem was so widespread with illegal downloading of music that lawsuits and massive commercial ad campaigns were initiated in order to curtail illegal downloading activities when it comes to music. It seems to be working to some degree. Fewer people are illegally downloading music; the downside is that these people aren't buying as much music either. The reason is because they are no longer being exposed to the wide variety of music and artists that they were getting freely when downloading music each night at no cost. This equals lower record sales and is becoming a problem of lower movie sales and software sales as well. People aren't trying new games like they could before the software copyright act by going to LAN parties and everyone sharing a copy to play, now everyone has to own a copy before they can play. While this may be great for the companies that make a few (a minimal few at best) extra sales on the games for the sake of a great party but for the most part, it is costing them the extra money that could be made by 10 people finding they liked the game enough to go out and buy it so they could play it whenever (and the next group of 10 they will introduce the game to) Gamers are a funny group and software copyright act or no, they are going to stick with the software and games that serve them best. The software copyright act was created in order to protect the rights of those writing and developing computer software. We want those who fill our lives with fun games, useful tools, and great ways to connect to friends and family to continue providing these great services and to get paid for the ones they've already provided. The software copyright act is one giant step in the right direction as far as I'm concerned.

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.