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Archive for the 'legal' Category

On Email Requests for Copyright Advice

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Dear reader, I receive more than the occasional email request for information or advice. And I happily respond. But I cannot advise anybody in regards to somebody else’s images or copyright constraints on images from a third party website. Even in a general sense. I am not a lawyer.

I received an email today that fit this scenario to a tee – a general question about whether the emailer could print a high quality image of a picture they found online of themselves in flight. A friend had spotted it.

At first I thought they were asking to print a street photograph that I’d published online with them as a subject. My answer to that will always be Of course! If you’re in a picture that I shoot then nothing would make me happier than to have you print it. I offered the guy a higher resolution copy if he’d point me to the specific image. My banter was casual and friendly.

The sender got upset at my first response and wrote that I had been insulting. Very odd. So I scratched my head and got advice – Oh you want to download and print a copy of a picture you’re in from a third party website and want my advice. By this stage they’d bugged out, though. They didn’t reply again.

So here’s my answer. Just in case the reader comes across this post for future reference.

Contact the owner of the photograph. Or the website publisher. I really can’t offer any advice on how to treat other peoples’ intellectual property rights. Whether you’re in their photograph or not. I do know that the picture you see on the website is probably highly optimised and won’t offer the best printing quality so your best bet will always be to approach the correct person politely. You get a lot further with a coherent question in the first instance and a smile.

What you don’t do is send an unsolicited email to somebody like me with an unclear question that may be vague to understand on the first read. And nothing is more insulting than having a total stranger get antsy with me for trying to help.

That’s just the wrong way on so many levels. Think about that one for a week or two – it should make sense. You sent me an unsolicited email and then became rude.

I don’t mind giving advice (and opinion) but I don’t get paid for it. Just be nice.

Understand Parole & the Current Witch Hunt

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Originally I was going to stay right out of this national conversation about parole because it’s mainly been a witch hunt against the faceless criminal enemy. Hey that’s a cycle of our society. But at this point there is so much rubbish information floating around it has become time to explain what parole is and why we need it. Because the alternative is far more dangerous.

First, understand that parole is an eligibility at the half way mark of any sentence greater than 12 months. It’s not a right. A non-parole period is when a court deems on the crime and circumstances that an added danger or penalty should be recognised. Non-parole periods are always greater than half the sentence.

I hope that makes sense, because it often gets reported like a non-parole period is a reward. In fact, it’s an added penalty imposed at sentencing.

The second feature of parole that you should understand is that time served on parole can be of any duration from that remaining of the original custodial sentence up to three or more times in length. This is an offer by the Parole Board that the prisoner weighs as whether to accept parole or to continue serving his sentence in prison. Choosing to serve one’s time in full is considered, in prison, the mark of an old school hardened villain. A prisoner who is going to re-offend is ALWAYS better off not taking parole.

And if parole is taken by the prisoner and conditions breached then the offender can be revoked back to prison on the Parole Board’s order as if their time never stopped. Parole merely suspends the clock in a sentence. If it isn’t breached then parole ends and the sentence remaining is forgiven. If it is breached, the sentence is resumed.

So, if a prisoner serving eight years is given a non-parole period of five years and it takes another year to get parole that leaves two years outstanding. By that stage they have served six of their full eight years in prison. The parole period they will be released on would be for at least their time remaining or as long as another six or eight years depending on the board’s parole offer against the remaining two years to serve.

And if a prisoner has finished parole then a minimum of the entirety of their original sentence has passed, or greater. I point out this detail because it is often reported by lazy journalists that the offending parolee should have been in prison when an offence had occurred later than the expiration of their parole. In truth, they would have been in the community when they offended at that point. Sentence completed. Hard time served in full.

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Contracts are Serious Business

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer and I have no claim that this advice should be taken as legal advice in replacement of seeking out professional help. What I hope to do is educate you over a series of small posts about what constitutes a contract and you should be able to figure out when you might need to see a real lawyer. Although this series is in the Australian context many of the principles apply in other countries.

The Myth of Writing your own Contracts

One of the stupidest things anybody could do in business is try to shortcut their way through the legal landscape. Just like accountants will save you more money than they cost… so will hiring a decent lawyer.

For a lot of people this is real news: a contract isn’t just anything you cobble together and get some fool to sign. There is a structure, like a dance, that determines when and where any contract was made, the parts that are valid and the aspects the courts will or won’t enforce. But I’ve received my fair share of these self-authored car wrecks to know it’s a real problem. People do want to cut corners in the short-term.

The real and present danger is that small businesses generally have no idea about contract law… and I’m hoping they might glean one thing from reading through this series of 15 posts (starting with Contracts 101 – Part 1: Outline). That one thing is this: Sometimes you just need to know when to hire a lawyer. Appreciate what you don’t know.

Installments in Contracts 101

  • Contracts 101 – Part 1: Outline
  • Contracts 101 – Part 2: Which Contract?
  • Contracts 101 – Part 3: The Six Elements
  • Contracts 101 – Part 4: The Agreement
  • Contracts 101 – Part 5: The Offer
  • Contracts 101 – Part 6: The Acceptance
  • Contracts 101 – Part 7: Battle of the Forms
  • Contracts 101 – Part 8: Consideration
  • Contracts 101 – Part 9: Capacity
  • Contracts 101 – Part 10: Legality of Object
  • Contracts 101 – Part 11: Possibility of Performance
  • Contracts 101 – Part 12: Genuine Consent
  • Contracts 101 – Part 13: Promissory Estoppel
  • Contracts 101 – Part 14: Ending the Contract
  • Contracts 101 – Conclusion: Protect your Business

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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