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Communication Key to a Better Work Environment Everyone knows the story of A Christmas Carole. On Christmas Eve, poor Bob Cratchit, who is working late again, spends his day working up the courage to ask his boss, Mr. Scrooge, if he can have Christmas Day off from work to spend with his family. When he finally does get up the nerve to ask, Mr. Scrooge lets forth a tirade over lazy people using Christmas as an excuse to have a day a off from work. This fictional story unfortunately rings true for a lot of people who have to work up the courage to ask for things from their employers. An employee who has to feel about their employer the way Bob Cratchit felt about Mr. Scrooge is not a very happy and productive employee. To get the most of out of your workers, you have to create a much more hospitable working environment. To create a better working environment, keeping the lines of communication open is absolutely crucial. How does communication work in your office? Do you get the impression that everyone is walking around on eggshells around you? While this kind of fear from your employees may be good for your ego in some senses, it is really bad for your business. When your employees don?t feel like they can talk to you, you will lose control over what is going on with your business. You may be the boss, but your employees are the ones who are actually on the front lines. To know what is really going on out there, you need your employees to communicate honestly with you. If they feel that you are unapproachable, they will hide problems and concerns from you, and you won?t be able to act to fix them. You can?t expect to run your business with half of the information about what is actually going on, and so your business will suffer for your ?mean boss? routine. There are still other problems with creating an office environment in which your employees feel like you are unapproachable. In general, there will be a dark cloud over the office when you are around. The stress will keep employee morale low, and employees with low morale are employees with low productivity. Besides, who wants to work hard for someone they cannot approach or who doesn?t show they any respect? Shutting down those lines of communication will definitely affect your bottom line as employees ?phone it in? because they don?t feel invested in making your business a success. If you want a better working environment, you have to improve the lines of communication. If there has been a communication breakdown in the past, take the time to address it with your staff. If you staff is small, talk to them each one on one, letting them know that your door is always open and that you want more regular communication with them. If you have a larger staff, schedule a meeting to address the issue. Weekly office meetings are a great way to keep communication channels open and swap ideas in the office environment. If weekly meetings are not feasible, find some way of touching base with your staff on a regular basis, either through weekly emails or a weekly newsletter. Also, you should encourage your staff to communicate with each other. Sharing information among the staff is a great way to generate fresh ideas and fresh approaches to problems. If your office is suffering from a communication problem, make nipping it in the bud a priority. The pay off will be more productive workers and a whole lot less stress. Who knew work could actually be a pleasant place to be?

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.

Five Flex Time Options that Can Propel your Employee Productivity Flex time is something that is still very rarely used in the United States, but has many followers in other countries, especially European countries. Flex time in general means flexible working hours for employees of a company. They way the flexible working hours are implemented can differ greatly. But one thing is for sure, flexible working hours can greatly propel the employee productivity in your company. Take a look at five different ways to implement flex time in your company. The first and probably easiest way is to give your employees the option to come in to work and leave work within a certain time range. For example, so far your employees worked from 8am to 5pm, now you might give them the opportunity to come in to work anywhere from 7am to 9am, and of course, leave somewhere between 4pm and 6pm. This first model would give your employees an opportunity to be on time as long as they are within that range and their individual habits are considered in regards to being an early riser or a late sleeper. This first model would set the rule that there are 8 work hours plus a one hour lunch in a work day and these are not variables. Therefore, you only have to check their arrival and leaving times in one way or another. A second option is very similar to this, but you can expand the hours worked to a weekly or monthly check, where the employee is responsible to work 40 hours a week with one hour lunch everyday. Then he or she can come and leave in the morning and afternoon in the specified time ranges. For the employee, this means maybe on days that he or she is more energetic, they can spent more hours at work to get their work done and on days they do not feel so energetic or so good or they have family things going, on they can come in the minimum hours established from 9am to 4pm. This version of flextime is a much appreciated model by many employees, but for the employer, it means more work in tracking hours worked and arrival times, to make sure the required hours per week or months are worked. An even more advanced version of the first two flex time themes is a theme where the worker can accumulate time to take off at some point in the future. How specifically you are going to use this version is up to you. You basically are making sure that your employees are not working more than the required amount of hours. Why would you profit from this? Less time spent at the work place makes for more time to relax and regenerate and your employees will be more efficient and motivated throughout your work week. In some companies this flex time method allows the employee to accumulate hours up to a certain amount and then for example, they are allowed to leave after six hours for several days to be home for activities with their family. In an even more expanded version, a fourth version of flex time options, the employee can actually take full days off after having accumulated hours. These days are in general additional to vacation and holidays and can be taken in agreement with their supervisor. The fifth option that has been adopted by some companies actually gives the employees the chance to go into negative hours on their time account. This means if you do not have the required hours, you can still take a flex day off, but have to make sure that after a period of time, that the employer sets in the contract your account goes back to zero or higher. If the employer is a really generous person, he might allow you to completely choose the hours you want to work. You might be able to take work home or work from 10pm to 3am if you desire, as long as you have your assignments done on time and your hours are fulfilled.

Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Who are in Copyright Infringement Lawsuits? A copyright infringement lawsuit can be brought down for any number of reasons: someone using a song in a podcast or radio program, a writer ?borrowing? information from another work, the copying of video or mp3 off the internet without permission (or sometimes, even to another CD or DVD). Copyright infringement lawsuits are not generally brought to the average person, unless they?re downloading a LOT of music or movies, but usually for large operations: software pirates reselling goods on eBay or to some other unsuspecting victim, someone ?sampling? a song to make another, or maybe a person reselling mp3s online. When you understand the implications of it, copyright infringement lawsuits aren?t frivolous as some people may make it seem. For the most part, the average person?s familiarity with a copyright infringement lawsuit is taking down copyrighted material after receiving a nasty email. The use of works that are used in major record albums my major recording stars like Britney Spears or 50 Cent, people will begin copyright infringement lawsuits for songs that bear resemblance to another song. Usually these suits will be lost because it?s rather hard to prove inspiration, but they are rather costly and draining, especially if there isn?t a large backing legal team. Copyright infringement lawsuits for large enterprises can be rather costly and time consuming as well. If you work for someone, and you plagiarize someone on the company blog, the whole company can be sued, and you fired, for that infraction. Another large copyright infringement lawsuit is the eminent MySpace v. Universal Music Group, who is claiming that MySpace is knowingly committing copyright infringement by allowing it?s users to upload copyrighted material. Even then, Universal Music Group has been negotiating with MySpace and couldn?t come to an agreement ? then they filed suit. Universal Music Group has an agreement in place with YouTube, where YouTube agrees to follow Universal?s rules. It?s worked out well thus far, and I think with an agreement in place ?user created content? will retain a destination on the internet. This is a testament we all need to be with social networking sites and ?user created content.? We need to watch ourselves, because many times we may not realize the veracity of our actions. Sometimes, people break copyright laws on purpose. There is a huge market in the dealings of pirated software ? from Windows to Photoshop to The Sims. It?s very easy to share peer-to-peer, and because of that, people can resell ?pirated? for a high price ? all profit. Or they?ll download MP3 and resell them; or eBooks. These people who resell these items get nasty penalties ? with both copyright infringement lawsuits and criminal cases. They?ll pay a hefty fine and go to jail. As you can see, copyright infringement lawsuits can affect any one of us ? from our friends on MySpace to our employer, to the computer geek down the street. It?s very easy to violate copy rights, and you have to watch yourself. The chances are good that you won?t be involved in a major copyright infringement lawsuit, but you still need to ensure you?re following the copyright rules of engagement. Copyright infringement lawsuits are important in determining what is, and isn?t, applicable to copyright laws. Because of these lawsuits, our laws have changed regarding fair use, internet use, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and CreativeCommons.com has been formed. The lawsuits help us to understand what is, and what isn?t fair ? and these organizations have helped the masses to understand what?s so important about copyright, and why we need to defend our freedom of speech.