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Getty Makes 35M Images Free for Bloggers’ Use

Getty Images is now allowing bloggers to use 35 million of its images for free as long as they're used for non-commercial purposes. Despite Getty placing a watermark on all its online images, Getty executives are aware that people have been copying and pasting copyrighted pictures without permission. So they've created a new system that allows select Getty images to be embedded on websites, with the proper attributions prominently displayed, Forbes reports. What do bloggers need to know about using Getty's free images? Getty's Free 'Embedded Viewer' Now that Getty is allowing users free access to millions of its images, it's also removing the watermark from the photos it's providing for free. The problem with Getty's old watermark system was that once an image was purchased, the watermark would be removed; once removed and placed on a website, anyone online could copy and paste the image and use it without proper attribution or permission from the original owner. Instead of a watermark, Getty is now allowing bloggers to embed many of its photos -- but only via a new "embedded viewer" tool. The tool drops the image into a blog or website with a footer crediting Getty and linking people to its licensing page, according to Forbes. The footer and link could help reduce copyright infringement because they don't allow users to use the image without including a link to Getty's licensing page. A Reminder About Fair Use Laws Bloggers using Getty's new "embedded viewer" generally won't have to worry about copyright infringement -- as long as they're not using the images for a commercial purpose. (However, Getty doesn't mind if you make a little money off your blog via Google Ads, Forbes reports.) Still, it's important to keep fair use laws in mind when adding images, videos, and other multimedia to your personal (or commercial) website. Fair use allows the use of copyrighted material without permission from the original author under certain circumstances, including: Criticism, News reporting, Comment, Teaching, Parody, and Scholarship and research. For example, if you're a college student researching political issues and you use an image of two politicians at a meeting for your term paper, that's probably protected under fair use law. On the other hand, if a person uses a copyrighted image to advertise his lawn-mowing business, then that's likely to be considered copyright infringement. Even with Getty's free images, using them in advertisements, promotions, or advertising is not allowed. Although 35 million of Getty's stock images are now free for non-commercial use by the public, bloggers don't have free access to Getty's entire collection of images, reports Forbes. For that, you'll still have to pay. Related Resources: The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use (The Verge) What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Is It Legal to Sign a Contract With a Minor?

Adults who enter into contracts with minors may be wondering if it's legal to do so. In general, minors don't have the legal capacity to enter into a contract unless a court approves the contract or a state's statute allows it. So when are contracts between minors and adults enforceable in court? Voidable Contracts To have a valid contract, all parties signing the contract must have the legal capacity to do so. This means that the person signing must have sufficient understanding that he's entering into a contract and the terms he's agreeing to. For most contracts, the general rule is that while it's not illegal to enter into a contract with a minor, the contract is voidable at the discretion of the minor. Voidable contracts are usually valid contracts and are binding unless the child cancels it. On the other hand, if the minor turns 18 and doesn't cancel the contract within a reasonable period of time, the contract could become binding and enforceable. Enforceable Contracts With Minors While most contracts with a minor are voidable, several states have statues that allow minors to sign and be bound by a contract with an adult. These contracts usually involve insurance policies or employment agreements. For example: In Texas, a minor who is over the age of 14 and who doesn't have a guardian for her estate can contract and acquire a life insurance policy that'll be legally binding. In New York, minors can lawfully sign a contract to perform services as an actor, dancer, musician or vocalist, which can then be approved by a court. If such approval is granted, then the minor can't later get out of contract by arguing that it was signed when she was underage. Similarly, California law enforces employment contracts signed by a minor if the child is providing artistic or creative services. Like New York, the contract must be approved by a court in order to be binding on the child. However, California requires that the employer agree to set aside 15 percent of the minor's gross earnings in a trust before the court will approve the contract. So while it may not be illegal to enter into a contract with a minor, it may not be wise to unless it's authorized by law. For more guidance on this issue, consult an experienced contracts lawyer near you. Related Resources: Contracts of Minors (National Paralegal College) Does Fracking Settlement's Gag Order Apply to Kids? (FindLaw's Legally Weird) Unenforceable Contract? 5 Common Errors (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Need Help Getting a Contract Reviewed? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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Legal How-To: Stopping Telemarketers

Do you know how to stop telemarketers from calling you? Adding your name to the National Do Not Call Registry is a simple and reasonably effective way to stop (or at the very least, significantly reduce) those pesky telemarketer phone calls. There are also a couple of other ways to prevent telemarketer calls. Here's an overview of how to get on the National Do Not Call registry and other ways to stop telemarketers: Sign up for the National Do-Not-Call Registry. On the National Do Not Call Registry's registration site, you can enter up to three phone numbers (home and personal cell phone numbers only) and your email address. Check your email for a message from Register@donotcall.gov. Open the email and click on the link within 72 hours to complete your registration. Sign up for your state's registry, if there is one. In addition to the national registry, some states like Wisconsin have their own do-not-call lists for residents. Contact your state's public service commission or consumer protection office to see if your state has such a list, and to find out how to register your number or numbers. Sign up for the telemarketer's internal do-not-call list. National and state do-not-call lists don't apply to certain telemarketers such as charities seeking donations, politicians seeking your vote, companies with which you have an existing business relationship (for example, if you're a customer), and survey companies doing opinion polls. With the exception of tax-exempt non-profit organizations, these telemarketers still must maintain an internal "do not call" list. To stop receiving calls from these telemarketers, tell them "Please put me on your internal do not call list," ABC News suggests. You will need to repeat the request once every five years, according to the Federal Communications Commission. If you still receive telemarketing calls, take notes and file a complaint with the FTC. Most telemarketers should not call your number once it has been on the registry for 31 days. If they do, you can file an FCC complaint or a Do Not Call Registry complaint. You probably can't get individual damages, but the offending company could receive warning citations and fines for violating the do-not-call rules. Filing a complaint is free. For additional help, consider consulting a consumer protection attorney in your area. Are you facing a legal issue you'd like to handle on your own? Suggest a topic for our Legal How-To series by sending us a tweet @FindLawConsumer with the hashtag #HowTo. Related Resources: Telemarketing Laws (FindLaw) FCC's Robocall and Text Message Rules Get Stronger (FindLaw's Technologist) Legal for Telemarketers to Call My Cell Phone? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Sign Up for Our Free Legal Planning Newsletter (FindLaw's Legal Heads-Up)
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Supreme Court Calendar: 5 Cases to Watch in March

The U.S. Supreme Court's calendar for March includes seven days of oral argument, but there are a few calendared cases that deserve a bit more of your attention. Here are five appeals that are being closely watched: Monday, March 3, 2014: Hall v. Florida The High Court is hearing arguments today in Hall v. Florida, which challenges Florida's standards for making sure the state doesn't execute "mentally retarded" persons. In Florida, there is a bright-line rule which allows the state to execute inmates with IQ scores above 70. Hall -- a death-row inmate whom courts initially deemed "retarded" but later found not to be retarded, according to The Atlantic -- is claiming that this rule constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, citing the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Atkins v. Virginia. Tuesday, March 4: Plumhoff v. Rickard In Plumhoff v. Rickard, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider how much force is "reasonable" for officers to use in a civil suit for excessive force. In the case, a suspect and his passenger were killed in a crash after a high-speed police chase in which officers fired 13 shots at their fleeing car. The High Court will also determine whether officers in this case are entitled to qualified immunity. Tuesday, March 25: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby This case is extremely important for those who are concerned with religious objections to Obamacare's contraception mandate -- as well expanding the civil rights of corporations. Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby poses an interesting question to the High Court: Does a corporation have rights to religious freedom? Hobby Lobby is a privately held company. Tuesday, March 25: Conestoga v. Sebelius Conestoga v. Sebelius will be heard the same morning as Hobby Lobby because both cases deal with corporations asserting First Amendment religious freedom as a reason for opposing Obamacare's contraception mandate. The Conestoga case involves a family business and its closely held for-profit corporation. Wednesday, March 26: Wood v. Moss When the Court hears Wood v. Moss in late March, it will consider whether the Secret Service, during the George W. Bush administration, was within its rights to move a group of anti-Bush protesters while leaving a pro-Bush group alone. At the heart of this debate will be whether the anti-Bush demonstrators had their First Amendment free speech rights violated. Keep your eyes on the U.S. Supreme Court and your calendars this March -- especially on these five cases. Related Resources: Argument Calendars - Supreme Court of the United States (U.S. Supreme Court) Supreme Ct.: Nuns Can Skip Obamacare Form, Pending Mandate Appeal (FindLaw's Decided) Supreme Court Calendar: 3 Cases to Watch in Feb. (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Term: 5 Crucial Cases to Watch (FindLaw's Decided)
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What Is Fair Use? Consider These 4 Factors

The legal doctrine of fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for certain purposes without permission from the copyright owner. Stated otherwise, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use of copyrighted material qualifies as fair use, it would not be considered illegal infringement. To be considered fair use, your copying must be limited and serve a "transformative" purpose. Fair Use Factors To determine whether your use of a copyrighted work is fair, the court will typically perform a balancing test by weighing the following four factors: The purpose and character of your use. Did you copy someone else's work verbatim or did you use it to help create something new? Also, was your use commercial (for-profit) or non-commercial? Courts tend to favor transformative uses and nonprofit uses. The nature of the copyrighted work. Fair use is easier to find with nonfiction works than creative works. Also, it's tougher to get fair use for using copyrighted unpublished works than published ones. The amount or substantiality of the portion used. Generally, the more you use, the less likely it's a fair use. Also, if you use very little of the copyrighted work, but your use "takes the heart" of the copyrighted work, that might not be fair use. The effect of your use on the potential market for, or value of, the original work. If your use competes with the source you're copying from, that will weigh against fair use. Your use should avoid interfering with the copyrighted work's intended market or audience. Common Fair Uses The following uses are generally considered fair: Criticism and commentary, if you're using the copyrighted material for comment or criticism (think music and book reviews). Parody, if you're using copyrighted material to make fun of it, usually by imitating it in a funny way (think "South Park"). News reporting, if you're summarizing or quoting from copyrighted material in a news report. Research and scholarship, if you're summarizing or quoting from copyrighted material for research or academic purposes (namely, to illustrate or a clarify a point you're making). Nonprofit educational uses, if you're using copyrighted material for teaching purposes (think photocopies of passages for use in a classroom). There are no hard-and-fast rules for fair use, making it tough to predict what is and isn't considered fair use. If you have copyright infringement concerns, you may want to consult an experienced intellectual property attorney. Related Resources: 'I Have a Dream': MLK's Estate Has a Copyright (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) What Do Copyright, Trademark Symbols Mean? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Legal How-To: Copyrighting Your Screenplay (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Kanye West Sued For Sample in 'Gold Digger' (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
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