Category Archives: Articles

Copyright and credit – What you need to know about both of them

Copyright and credit, it’s something we all know is very important, especially to ourselves, but what does it mean?

Copyright means exactly what it says; the right to copy something. When you create a piece of work, let’s say a drawing, you want the copyright for yourself. You want yourself to be the only one owning this piece of artwork, and to be the only one able to make prints with it, thus earning money with your own work, or just to be the only one having the rights to display it.

When someone else uses your artwork without permission, they are breaking the copyright law. Most people, who use other people’s artwork, are not breaking the law on purpose, and also don’t make money with it. Heck, I’ve used both fan arts and official artwork on my websites, and I still do it a little, although I know better. Of course, creating a fan site using official artwork from a series or movie, as long as you don’t make any money with it, can be seen as a greyzone. We all do that, don’t we? And as far as I know, only Disney gets butthurt when you do so. Using fan art or private artwork without permission however, is literally breaking the copyright of someone else. That is something we don’t want to do! We are not thieves, are we?

Yet, because it doesn’t hurt anyone (we think), we still do it. It’s so easy to browse a site filled with beautiful art, and wanting to create something with it. It’s so easy, to just save the image to the PC, which isn’t a crime in itself. But as soon as we upload it somewhere else, be it in its original form, or as something newly created, we are thieves. We are showcasing something that isn’t ours. Creating a design with a picture that isn’t ours, and then claiming the copyright for the work is not right.

This leads me to my next point; credit. Because this is where we stop being thieves.

If you get the permission to use someone else’s artwork, you have to give them credit, as you are still using the work of someone else. It doesn’t matter, if you ask the creator him/herself to get a written permission, or use something you downloaded on a site. Always credit the original creator! It’s the polite thing to do, and you’d want others to give you credit for your work too, am I not right?

But who do you give credit? It can sometimes be hard to find out, as some contributors work for the sites that offer the download you are using. If you cannot find a specific profile, the best you can do, is to link the site you found it at. Believe me; it’s so much better than just doing nothing. If you are browsing Deviantart though, it’s not enough to credit the site as a whole. Give proper credit, and link the profile page of the creator, or to the work itself. This also goes for Google Images! Yes, believe it or not, but Google is NOT hosting all of the delicious images you find on there, and many of them are NOT to be taken and used! When opening an image using Google, you will see a link to the original destination, and the site it is being hosted on. Visit that site, and see if you are allowed to use that image for yourself. Quite often, the images link to profiles on Deviantart, or other sites hosting a lot of images, and then we are back to the point, where we need to ask for permission.

We should all ask ourselves; “Would I like to see someone use something I created without permission?”. The answer should be “No!”. No, we don’t want others to just go and take what we spent time and effort on creating, and thus, we shouldn’t do that to others.

All in all, it’s quite easy to understand copyright and credit, yet so many people don’t know what it’s all about. Whether it’s because they are lazy, or maybe think it’s okay for them to do what they do, if they don’t earn any money with whatever they created with other people’s things. Making money with someone else’s creations is OBVIOUSLY against the law, but people still do it. Go figure.

My last words here will have to be; Respect copyright, and give credit where it’s needed. You’re going to feel good doing so, I promise 🙂

Ever had trouble with people who didn’t understand these rules? Or have you been one of those at some point? Share your story in the comments for everyone to learn more about this!

Surveys – My experiences with them, and why I love them so much

Although it’s nothing new to me, I’m surprised every time someone thinks surveys are useless and a waste of time. It’s as if they have a bad reputation, just because some of them are bad, but that’s no good reason to shun them all, is it? Because I’ve had a lot of fun with them, and actually got paid for my time.

Granted, one should not expect to get enough money to buy a boat by the end of the month, but if you want a little extra, and have time to kill anyway, I’d actually recommend creating an account on at least two or three sites that offer surveys, if not more.

Every country has their own sites that offer surveys for points and/or money though, so I can’t really make a list of the best ones, but I can give you the advice, to go look up the company that you want to sign up with, before you actually do so. Some sites might have reviews from users, and if they are positive, then go for it! If you are in doubt, you can always search for information directly on the site, as they usually state what kind of compensation they offer, and what you have to do to earn them. It’s usually just you getting a mail with a link to a survey though, and if you are qualified for it, it will give you money or points; according to the time it approximately takes people to answer all questions.

It’s recommended to answer honestly, as companies WILL evaluate your answers, and if you always just click whatever, you will most probably end up getting your account banned. Some companies even evaluate your answers before they pay you, so don’t cheat. Just… don’t. It’s dumb, and you won’t benefit from it in the end.

So, what kind of questions will you get? I usually get something about my interest in various new products, or how I tend to live my everyday life. Although rarely, I sometimes get very personal questions, and even though they are anonymous, I refuse to answer them out of my own personal choice. It’s always possible to ignore the survey, so don’t be afraid to do so if you don’t like the overall topic of the questions. I always close them right away, if the first question is something like ‘List all the airplane companies you can think of’, because oh gawd! I’ve never been on an airplane, and traveling is of absolutely no interest to me. Maybe you would love that question though?

You probably want to know how much money you can earn with these surveys now, don’t you? But I really can’t give you an answer to that question. It all depends on how many surveys you complete, and how much money the various sites pay you for your time. I usually get around 4 – 12$ a month though, and sometimes I get an extra 12$ from specific sites once every three months, as I’ve accumulated enough money for them to transfer it to me. It’s enough to pay my website bill once a year, and sometimes get to buy a product from a shop I like, because a site offered me points to do so, which is very nice.

If you’ve got a long bus ride to and from work or school every day, got time that is usually wasted on being bored, or just want to pass the time with something other than playing mobile games, I can surely recommend doing surveys. So throw your condemn over board, and try it out! It’s free, and you have nothing to lose 🙂

As stated above, it’s impossible for me to create a list everyone can use, but there are two sites that are pretty much global, so try them out if it’s possible to sign up in your country:

http://toluna.com – I really like Toluna, even though they have their bugs. It’s especially annoying when you open a survey on your phone, just for them to let you know afterwards, that it’s not possible to complete it on a mobile device. That survey will be gone forever, even when you log in at the PC. But you only need 20000 points to turn them into roughly 7$, which you can usually get once a month. The payout is very slow though, so don’t expect to spend that money within the next two months. You can however, spend your points on gift cards instead, if they offer some for your favorite shops.

https://yougov.com – You won’t earn any money here, but instead you get points, which you can use in their own shop. Shipping requires points too though, so expect to need more points than the product you want actually costs. Every completed survey gives you between 25 and 100 points depending on their lengths, and sometimes they are even split into two surveys, which you get 200 points for. Short surveys and required profile updates give you a chance to win in their lottery, where you can also bolster your chances by spending points on more coupons. And yes, it’s possible to win, that’s how we got our car, and I was just saving up points for a Moneyphant in their shop.

Got good or bad experiences with online surveys? I’d really love to hear your thoughts on them, so feel free to drop me a comment on this subject 🙂

Upcycling, Recycling, Downcycling – What is the difference?

In this day and age, where we are pretty darn good at using and throwing away, it gets more and more important to recycle. Luckily, it’s a very popular thing to do, and when more people start doing it, it helps the environment. On top of that, it’s cheaper to buy a used chair from someone who doesn’t need it anymore, than it is to get one at the store, who is only interested in making a good profit off of you. When you buy second hand, you can often get things that are not even available at stores anymore, and might even have a history to go with them.

I absolutely love visiting second hand stores and flea markets, and it also makes me happy, when a used item of mine can be reused by someone else. Some of the jewelry I make is partly recycled, as I buy old jewelry second hand, to use most of the parts in new creations. This results in unique and fun ideas, and jewelry not everyone owns.

It’s not always that easy to define what reusing is though, and today I’ll try to explain the three different methods of doing so.

Let’s start with that we all know most about, shall we? Recycling!

It basically means to reuse something that was already used, whether it is by you or someone else. If you go to a flea market and by a table, you are recycling it, as you are going to use that table after someone else already did. The item doesn’t even matter, as it doesn’t have to be something big or expensive. It’s also recycling, if you split something into its original pieces, and reuse some of those parts to create something new. This is very popular, as it’s not only limited to creative uses, but it’s also a good way to get spare parts for a greater whole. Like a used seat for a car, or an almost new tire for your bicycle, that someone didn’t need anymore. Recycling is good for the environment and your wallet, as you reuse a product or material, instead of just trashing it.

Now let’s have a look at something else, that is sometimes mistaken for recycling; Upcycling!

The word actually speaks for itself. If you upcycle something, it’s usually a material used for something it wasn’t produced for. Let’s say you got that recycled tire for your bicycle, and you use it until it has too many holes to patch up. Now, you can either trash it, or upcycle it, as it’s useless to recycle. Upcycling it would mean, to create something entirely new with it, like a handbag (handbags made of old tires are insanely popular), although it wasn’t initially meant to be used as a material for that product. Did you know that making a hat using newspaper is also upcycling? Chances are, you’ve already upcycled something, but didn’t even know it. Just as recycling, upcycling is very good for the environment, as you create something new, instead of trashing what you can reuse.

On to the last, and probably least popular method; Downcycling!

As you might have already guessed just by reading the word itself, this is not a good thing to do. Downcycling means, that you have some perfectly new and fine material, and create something with it, that wasn’t necessary, or is of less value than the original material. I’m sure you know of the method to create your own paper, don’t you? Tiny pieces of paper mixed with water, and then dried up to create a new sheet of paper. That’s a nice thing to do, if the paper you used was recycled, but using five sheets of brand new paper, to create one sheet of paper with less value, is exactly what downcycling is. Spending perfect material, to create new material of less worth is hurting the environment, so don’t do it, if you would like to stay on good terms with the bear outside your window.

That should clear up the differences between the three methods, and hopefully it helped you understand them better. Recycling is always a fun and good thing to do, but let’s do it the right way, and don’t waste materials on something that is not worth it. Got useless scraps left from your projects? Make sure you throw them into the proper recycle bin, as that is also a way of helping nature, and letting the industry reuse their own material, like refill bottles and recycled paper.

Are you recycling? What experiences do you have with it? Share your thoughts on this matter, and help motivate and inspire other people to do something good for our world 🙂