Category: Uncategorized

Copyright

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

Made a few notes from what I have from my Laws/Ethics Computer Class… I even did my term paper on this, but I was rusty on the details. Primary source is from 2012, so take that with a grain of salt. I’m going to be doing an assignment with copyright infringement for my Forensics class in the next few days, and I’m going to take advantage of that to look a little more into it. 

–“Literary work” does not require any sort of ‘skill.’ It applies even to e-mails and blogs.
–Original + Fixed in a tangible medium. [Author can claim copyright for similar/identical preexisting works that they created. i.e. a business logo being altered. Uncertain whether or not the copyright registration extends to similar works. Going to double check.]
–Ebooks/Digital Works do qualify. [“work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”]
–Registration is not required. “Copyright protection ‘subsists’ from the moment of creation. This means that the instant a work is fixed in a tangible medium of expression, that work is protected by federal copyright law without the need for any action on the part of the author. (Ferrera et al. 2012)”
–A copyright NOTICE i.e. (c) for works published after 1989 is not required. However, it can serve as a warning to others and prevent infringers from defending based on “innocent infringement.” This notice must have: copyright sign, abbreviation, or word “copyright.” + date of first publication + copyright owner’s name.
–Copyright confers 6 exclusive rights: reproduction, preparation of derivative works (book to movie); distribution of copies to the public (selling/renting); public performance; public display; public performance via digital audio.
–However, registering has benefits: Can file for infringement actions in federal court; copyright owner (if registered PRIOR TO infringement) can collect statutory damages (up to $150k/work)/attorney fees; can be recorded with Customs to prevent “importation of infringing articles into the United States.”
–“For works made for hire and anonymous and pseudonymous works, the duration of copyright is 95 years from first publication or 120 years from creation, whichever is shorter (unless the author’s identity is later revealed in Copyright Office records, in which case the term becomes the author’s life plus 70 years) (US Copyright Office n.d.).” 
–This might be interesting… the First Sale Doctrine “the owner of a particular copy of a copyrighted work may resell or otherwise dispose of that copy without the permission of the copyright owner.” With digital items, this is a little different. “When it comes to the digital world, first sale is already under attack. Copyright holders are trying to undermine our first sale rights by forcing users to license items they would rather buy. The copyright industry wants you to “license” all your music, your movies, your games — and lose your rights to sell them or modify them as you see fit.” [Electronic Frontier Foundation] Interesting considering Amazon simply licenses ebooks to readers. This might have something to do with it.
By the way, to tell you how seriously the government might take this… Jammie Thomas-Rassett had downloaded 24 songs in Kazaa. The damages equaled $1.92 million.

PS, as a compulsive editor, I found this useful: “How much do I have to change in my own work to make a new claim of copyright? You may make a new claim in your work if the changes are substantial and creative, something more than just editorial changes or minor changes. This would qualify as a new derivative work. For instance, simply making spelling corrections throughout a work does not warrant a new registration, but adding an additional chapter would. See Circular 14, Copyright Registration in Derivative Works and Compilations, for further information (U.S. Copyright Office, n.d.).”

Sources:

Electronic Frontier Foundation. n.d. “You’ve Been Owned: Stand Up For Digital First Sale.” Accessed January 2, 2017. https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=8935

Ferrera, Gerald R., Margo E.K. Reder, Robert C. Bird, Jonathan J. Darrow, Jeffrey M. Aresty, Jacqueline Klosek, Stephen D. Lichtenstein. 2012. Cyberlaw Text & Cases. Mason, Ohio: South-Western, Cengage Learning

United States Copyright Office. n.d. “Registering a Work.” Accessed January 3. 2017. https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-register.html#change

–. n.d. “Duration of Copyright.” Accessed January 2, 2017. https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ15a.pdf

–. n.d. “Copyright in General.” Accessed January 3, 2017. https://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html

Other Websites for Reference re: DMCA

The DMCA Takedown Notice Demystified

https://www.eff.org/files/2014/09/16/unintendedconsequences2014.pdf

https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap5.html#512

 

Empathy

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

This rhetoric is so much more poisonous than I ever could have dreamed. I just… I can’t do it. I am trying and trying to look at their side of this, and I am trying so fucking hard to understand. Every time, I just burst into tears because I’m apparently incapable of understanding. (So people calling me a crybaby for speaking up right now? Yeah. I am a crybaby. Thanks for the trauma, y’all. Didn’t have enough before this.)

I feel like in a lot of ways, we’re really seeing who people are. And it’s not even just about excusing racism, sexism, etc. It goes so much deeper than that. Our society, by and large, is comprised of people who put themselves above the greater good — because generally, we’re taught that we’re on our own. People who ask for help are criticized and denigrated. “Well, if *I* can do this, so can they…!”

So a lot of it, in my opinion, comes from these cultural expectations. We internalize a lot of it without even thinking about it, and we have to fight to get back out. And it isn’t easy. You have to want to do it, for whatever reason. I’m not going to say this is true of everyone, but I don’t think it’s rare. Sometimes it’s because of your own situation — race, orientation, etc. Or a loved one’s. Or maybe just that you aren’t okay with people being treated poorly, and it gives you the motivation to step up. I don’t know.

Point is, at the end of the day, it comes down to empathy. Prejudice comes down to (again, in my opinion) a) the inability to relate to people who are different and/or b) the need to put others down to raise yourself up. And that’s problematic for a multitude of reasons.

To be able to support someone who so flippantly talked about grabbing a woman by her pussy, who has several cases pending against him, demonstrates a lack of empathy — because honestly, of the women I’ve really gotten to know, the percentage of those who haven’t been assaulted in some way is quite low. He could have given a real apology instead of a non-apology. He could have said, I didn’t do this, but hey, isn’t this a great time to put a spotlight on sexual assault? He threatened to sue these women, said that they just wanted their ten/fifteen/whatever minutes of fame when they were dragged through hell for speaking up.

To be able to defend someone who has the full support of the KKK *and is unwilling to denounce them* demonstrates a lack of empathy. (It’s not necessarily that the KKK is supporting them — okay, it is, but let’s say for the sake of argument it isn’t because I see people saying he can’t help who supports him *bullshit* — but it’s that he hasn’t spoken out against their practices. In fact, he’s gone and appointed a white supremacist to an important position. Hate crimes have skyrocketed, and many are saying liberals are making it up or are staging them or that it’s always been this way (terrible argument, btw).

To be able to condone his positions on immigrants when our country has such a long history of welcoming immigrants and so many people are desperately seeking asylum or what they think will be better lives demonstrates a lack of empathy. Fear tactics have become so normal that people are quick to use them. I saw a straight white guy say he’s afraid for his life because terrorists might pull him out of his car and kill him — but he thinks it’s stupid for us to be afraid. What are the odds of him being attacked by terrorists versus the odds of minorities being attacked by their own countrymen?

To be able to get past the fact that there are notable similarities to Hitler, that people are trying to silence those speaking out against Trump (especially when those very people never shut up about Obama), that minorities and friends of minorities and for fuck’s sake, GOOD PEOPLE, are terrified, that he refuses to denounce violence in his name, that he hasn’t paid his taxes in years but criticizes impoverished people for not paying them, that he’s spent all this time spreading hatred and vitriol…

I’m so sorry to say it, but I personally am having a hard time keeping people like that in my life. I can’t teach empathy. I can’t teach compassion. Not at this point in time, when I’m angry and hurt and afraid. Yes, I want to fight like hell and help them to see the problem so we can change it together. But I can’t say I want them close to me.

And honestly? A lot of supposed Christians are supporting this hate speech, this vitriol, and it’s like they’ve forgotten that their savior advocated kindness and compassion, that he condemned judging because it’s their God’s place to do so, that he advocated on behalf of the poor and the persecuted… Because they see themselves as being persecuted and under attack for being unable to impose their beliefs on other people.

In the end, I think that’s the problem. Because all my life, I remember being taught to sit down and shut up. To keep my opinions to myself. Oh, he doesn’t know any better. Oh, she wouldn’t listen anyway. Oh, he’s old and set in his ways. Oh, if he found out you went to a dance with a black guy, he’d have a heart attack (true story). And our fear tells me that I’m probably not too far off on at least one facet — because if we believed people were empathetic to our plight, we wouldn’t be afraid of being attacked.

Being called hateful, intolerant, unwilling to listen to others’ beliefs, arrogant, selfish, unimportant, delusional, a fuck-up — all things I’ve been called lately — when I speak up is something I’m having to get used to. I don’t like it.

Okay, so tl;dr version: People who are able to support Trump lack empathy. I can try to teach that to them by educating them, and I will try. But when it comes down to it, I’m not optimistic in my chances. People have to want to change. And honestly, I’m not sure what to do about that. In the end, I think we have to decide if we want to try to teach them or if explaining and letting them go sends a more powerful message.

Musings on Being Better, Religion, & Things

Published / by R. Phoenix / 2 Comments on Musings on Being Better, Religion, & Things

I don’t make it a secret that I’m a very socially awkward person, or that I’ve come a long way since I’ve started to interact on FB. One thing I’ve been trying to do for a while is make eye contact with people and smile. It’s harder than it sounds, at least for me, but I see the response.

Today, I went to a Mexican restaurant, and I kept wondering if the staff is experiencing the sort of thing we are. It made me try just a little harder to be a little more attentive, to be a little more present, and to engage in ways that quite frankly scare the hell out of me. I’m not saying that to pat myself on the back, though I am proud of myself. I’m saying it because this is something I’ve never done before, and it’s scary, but I’m seeing a difference.

We tipped extra well, and I just wrote ‘thank you’ on the receipt. Nothing special. Just… simple things. My husband and I got into a conversation about it, because I mentioned what was running through my head, and he’s blunt about the fact that he’s only going to be nice to people who deserve it. That’s how he’s always been. And I just keep thinking.

I want to be the bigger person, the better person, but I’m honestly not sure this is the time for that. Like I’ve seen going around the Internet, this isn’t about what kind of coffee or chocolate you like. This is about human rights. I’ve done a lot of reading — and honestly, it makes my stomach turn — about why people voted for Trump. I’m trying to understand. And I just can’t.

I honestly don’t like the person I’ve become since this election started, but at the same time, I can’t understand. I just can’t. I’ve spent hours deliberating, reading, listening, crying, raging, lashing out, comforting, agreeing, disagreeing… and right now, I just don’t know if being a better person in the traditional sense — “respecting” others’ opinions, “agreeing to disagree,” and what have you — is the right response.

I don’t know. I think now, more than ever, is the time to say, “no, this isn’t okay, and I’m not going to agree to disagree.” Because to do that is to say that they have a right to hatred and prejudice. Who am I to say they’re wrong? Who am I to say that my opinion is more valid? It seems like common sense to me, but obviously it really isn’t. So… what then? What now?

Trump said he’d make America great again, and the message many people got was that he’d take us back in time — that he’d reverse rights and guide us to a more conservative-friendly nation where people could stick their heads in the sand about racism and rape culture (to say the least). That he’d return jobs. That he would put religion and conservative ‘values’ forward in a country that supposedly embraces freedom of religion.

Hillary said she’d move us forward, that we’d see progress, that we wouldn’t accept this state of things. And that’s scary to a lot of people. That’s unknown. The consequences and benefits aren’t always obvious. But to a lot of us, it represented hope — for a greater, more inclusive America rather than a greater, more divided America.

I had another conversation today about our tendency (at least in the United States) to put ourselves above the greater good. Maybe it’s true; maybe it’s European bias. 😉 Either way, I think that’s what happened in this election. People were so focused on one issue, or hell, even a few, and they didn’t think about the repercussions for other people.

They didn’t care.

This doesn’t make sense to me. Those who accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior seem to forget that a common view of him is that he promotes love, forgiveness, avoiding judging, considering wealth and poverty, hypocrisy, prayer… And yet the loudest Christians are those who focus on isolated verses, primarily in the Old Testament, in a book that’s undergone translations and cultural bias as well as different representations of certain ideals.

Homosexuality is (in theory) a sin. So is divorce. So is eating shrimp. Judging others is a no-no, and yet many feel the need to judge others and impose their own values on them. Many are pro-life, but how many of them adopt children who have no homes? How many accept the murder of doctors who perform abortions? How many are willing to sacrifice the mother — whether it’s her life or her quality of life? I saw someone not long ago say that she was thinking of the babies. What about adults? Yes, children need our protection, but we don’t lose value because we become adults. We don’t become less deserving of love and respect.

Some worry about trans folks raping others (or people masquerading as trans folks to get into places where they can), but we have a man accused of rape about to enter the White House. Those who are supposedly representatives of God have gotten away with rape on many occasions.

These are the ‘traditional’ values I hear about a lot. And no matter how many times I think through it and deliberate and go through my early life as a Roman Catholic, I can’t figure it out. Honestly? I’m not sure I want to. I’m really not sure I want to understand how people can justify seeing some people as lesser, or less deserving of love and compassion. I’m not really sure I want to understand how people can attack others based on who they love.

Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, yet casting that stone means that judgment has been done. Judge not. That’s not our place. Yes, the real meaning of this is often debated and deliberated and discussed, but so much of the Bible and faith are.

We’re willing to sacrifice the livelihood, the well-being, the *lives* of those who don’t believe as we do. And I suppose what it comes down to for me is the willingness of some to impose their beliefs upon others. I don’t like or accept their prejudices, and yet… I can’t change that. All I can do is resist their efforts to force me to believe as they do or suffer the consequences.

Someone once told me that I lack faith because I’ve been failed by so many people in my life — that if tangible people can’t earn my trust, how can a concept? I’m not sure if she was right, but it’s never quite left me. Now, in particular, I think about it a lot, because my belief in the basic goodness of people was shattered in this election. Yet here I am, pushing myself to smile and make eye contact, to work towards being able to put myself out there and push to demand positive change, to demand that love and compassion hold more value than hatred. If I didn’t believe that people were essentially good, I wouldn’t bother.

Right now, I’m quick to cut someone out of my life who supported Trump, because they’ve shown me that even if they support human rights, it’s not the most important thing to them. The act of supporting this man is the act of telling me that you’re willing to accept him despite (or because of!) the hate and terror he perpetuated.

I won’t support a president who represents hatred.

I won’t support a vice president whose flawed religious views dictate his denigration of others.

The world is watching, and one way or another, we’re going to be held accountable for how we handle this. As I was reminded during a particularly low episode last night, though, we aren’t alone in this. As strange as it is for me to think about needing the intervention of global human rights organizations, it’s comforting to know they’re there. We may not be ‘as bad off’ as other countries, but it’s our responsibility to ensure that we don’t start down that slippery slope.

American values tell us that if you work hard enough, you can be anything you want, you can do anything you want. Right now, we’re seeing how that’s true for those who would push us down, but I have to remember the flip side, too — that if we work hard enough, we can make a difference, initiate change, and ensure our quality of life is what it should be.

Work in Progress

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

Hey, guess what! I’ve been working on a contemporary romance. Yup. Me. Shocking, I know. My brain needs to be checked. Here’s the first excerpt! (Though the book will have warnings for domestic violence and abuse, this snippet only has warnings for really bad humor.) I’ll share more information as I get closer to finishing.

###

He stops, and I run into him again.

“We have to stop meeting like this,” I say feebly.

He barks out a laugh, shaking his head. “Well, that’s embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?” I ask. “Inquiring minds need to know.” I back away from him a little, half-expecting to feel eyes on me and know that someone saw me too close to someone who isn’t Gabriel.

“I’m going to guess… both.”

“Damn it,” I respond, gathering myself again. I like this banter. It feels good to relax after being so keyed up since I got that email asking for a meeting. “You caught me. But yeah, I’m just here for a meeting. Not to sleep through Algebra.”

“So it’s probably a bad idea to tell you that I teach math,” he says, grinning at me. I like the sight of it. School would have been infinitely more interesting if I’d had more teachers like him when I’d been here.

“Bet I could sleep my way through your class too,” I reply cheerfully. And I feel a little guilty for thinking in more ways than one.

He laughs again, shaking his head. “I’m Dexter Weston,” he says, offering his hand out to me.

I arch a brow. “Dexter? Like the serial killer?” Nice, Sky. Really nice.

“Like the fictional serial killer, yes,” he says, and his voice is more than a little dry. Well, I doubt I’m the first one to say something about his name.

I take his hand, and the touch sends something warm coursing through me. I ignore it, shaking his hand and marveling at the controlled strength in it before releasing it. “Skylar Orion.” I eye him. “Don’t even,” I tell him before he can speak.

He laughs again, and it sounds genuine, like something natural. I like it as much as his smile, and both seem to be quick to make appearances. “I would never.”

I snort.

“Come on,” he says, nodding toward the office. “Let’s get your visitor pass so no one else mistakes you for a student and tries to put you in detention. Then we can go chat.”

Right. The chat. The whole reason I’m here to begin with. I think I liked the bantering better. “Am I going to be wishing I was in detention by the end of it?” I ask as he opens the door for me. I step inside, flashing him a smile.

“That would be telling.”

Temper Release Day & Blog Tour

Published / by R. Phoenix / Leave a Comment

Happy Temper Release Day! <3

Temper: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story [Book 5] is now available, and the first leg of the blog tour has been kicked off. Be sure to join me over at Joyfully Jay and the Dark Arts today.

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July 1, 2016: The Dark Arts
July 1, 2016: Joyfully Jay
July 2, 2016: Lily G Blunt: Author and Reviewer of MM Romance
July 2, 2016: Attention is Arbitrary
July 3, 2016: Diverse Reader
July 4, 2016: MM Book Escape
July 5, 2016: The Novel Approach Reviews
July 5, 2016: Love Bytes Same Sex Book Reviews
July 6, 2016: Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews
July 6, 2016: Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter
July 7, 2016: Molly Lolly
J
uly 7, 2016: Kimi-Chan Experience

Also, don’t forget to enter my giveaway!

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Happy reading,

-R.

 

Updated Bought Release

Published / by R. Phoenix / 2 Comments on Updated Bought Release
The updated version of Bought: A Ripples in the Status Quo Story is live. It’s now 9 chapters long and approximately 19,600 words (up from around 12,600 words). See below for obligatory ramble and potentially useful acquisition info.
 
Here’s the thing. If you’ve already downloaded it off of Amazon, it won’t be updated for you. For that to happen, I would have to submit it through a manual process for physical review, and well… As we know, the new draft flirts with the edges of the banhammer as it is. I’m pretty much resigned to the fact that it’s eventually going to happen, but let’s not hasten its demise.
 
So if you have it already from Amazon and you want a copy of the new version, you have a few options:
1. Download it from All Romance Ebooks*. (You can send it straight to your Kindle if you’d like. They also have a bunch of free books, and some of them are really good!): http://bit.ly/1q5WtBN
2. Download it from Smashwords*. http://bit.ly/22KJKSN
3. Send me a message and tell me what format you want.
4. E-mail me at raissa(dot)phoenix(at)gmail(dot)com and tell me what format you want.
 
*If you downloaded it from ARE/Smash originally, you can just re-download it and get the newest version.
 
And if you haven’t read it yet but want to give a dark erotic horror book a shot, you can get it at the above links or at http://amzn.to/1UqAxbS.
 
I’m anxious to see what y’all think of the additions, so if you get the time and inclination, please let me know!