SpaceX Waives Copyright ~ Photos in Public Domain

SpaceX DragonRecently I read in Forbes that SpaceX wants the public to use its pictures. They have a Flickr channel where you can take a look at their photostream, then use the pictures as you like.

The photo pictured here shows the Dragon spacecraft being dropped by parachutes. The Dragon is the “only operational spacecraft capable of returning a significant amount of supplies back to Earth, including experiments.” Pretty cool, huh?

The general public may not be aware, but most photos found online are not free to use. They are probably protected by copyright and permission for any type of use should be obtained from the owner. At the very least, the owner of the photo should be credited. But that still may not be enough to protect from a claim of copyright infringement.

Since SpaceX is encouraging the public to use their photos for free, they have waived the copyrights to all their photos and have specifically stated that there is no copyright and the Creative Commons license is Public Domain. See the wording of the license below.

The person who associated a work with this deed has dedicated the work to the public domain by waiving all of his or her rights to the work worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.

You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

Waiving the copyright and using intellectual property in the public domain, is different from the fair use of intellectual property.

When copyright protected work is used without permission of the owner, sometimes a court may find that use was okay. The use was fair to the owner based on factors for the public good like, “criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship or research.”

As someone who creates content and has seen my work used by others without my permission, I’m very aware of copyright issues. Hopefully this quick little lesson may help others from making a mistake and using the work of someone else without permission. This is an issue that comes up a lot with bloggers!

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Disclaimer: While I am a Massachusetts licensed attorney, nothing written or shared here should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. I am not in private practice nor am I seeking clients for private legal representation. If you have a legal question, please contact a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

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Photo Credit: SpaceX

Recently Read: Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste

Book Cover, Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American TasteWhile looking at the new books section of the library, I happened to see Provence, 1970. The names immediately struck me and I was intrigued. The synopsis convinced me it would be good.

Provence, 1970 is about a singular historic moment. In the winter of that year, more or less coincidentally, the iconic culinary figures James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, Richard Olney, Simone Beck, and Judith Jones found themselves together in the South of France. They cooked and ate, talked and argued, about the future of food in America, the meaning of taste, and the limits of snobbery. Without quite realizing it, they were shaping today’s tastes and culture, the way we eat now. The conversations among this group were chronicled by M.F.K. Fisher in journals and letters—some of which were later discovered by Luke Barr, her great-nephew. In Provence, 1970, he captures this seminal season, set against a stunning backdrop in cinematic scope—complete with gossip, drama, and contemporary relevance.

Great change never happens in a vacuum and no one person does it alone. So it was especially interesting to read about how these great food writers all knew one another. They worked together and socialized together.  As I was finishing up the book last night, I put on the TV to see what was on and happened to catch the last hour of Julie & Julia. What serendipity!

The book discusses how this rarefied circle of friends sometimes were not so friendly. We also see how the torch was passed with the introduction of Alice Waters toward the end. As I thought about my recent blog post on food writers of color, it made me consider how many food stories have yet to be written about.

One of the things that I found especially sad and surprising about the book is how James Beard was described. When I think of James Beard, I think of the awards and picture a very large and smiling figure. Everyone was worried about him. His love of food was killing him. He was trying to lose weight and was under a doctor’s care. His legs were swollen and his mobility was greatly impacted. Beard is so famous for the food he cooked and wrote about, but he suffered for it.

If you love food and food writing, then I highly recommend the book. Or even if you’re just interested in a slice of life piece. Learning about a very distinct period of time in a particular place.

We probably all can remember a certain time and place with good friends that we will never forget. That forever may have changed who we were at the time and led us to become who we are now. Or maybe was just a good time that now serves as a beautiful memory when we need it.

While the book describes a lot of food, there are no specific recipes. However, towards the very end, there is a very delicious sounding cocktail, on page 282, that is mentioned. I’d like to try it. Maybe you would too. So below is an excerpt in which the author describes part of his July 2010 trip to Provence.

Yet another old friend — we had a full house, even after my father and grandmother had departed the previous week — joined us in the kitchen and announced that he would be making a cocktail, a new invention in fact. It would be called “The Plascassier.” Into the blender went a basket of raspberries, fresh mint, lemon juice, and vodka. This liquid was poured judiciously into the bottoms of glasses, and then topped with Laurent-Perrier champagne.

It’s still pretty cold outside, but this sounds like a cool and refreshing summer drink that I can imagine adapting to suit my taste. Believe me. It will be blogged.

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Photo Credit: Amazon

Mindfulness & Fidelity of the Breath

Since I started meditating on a regular basis a few years ago, I’ve become more mindful and aware of the present. Also more focused and calm. It feels like I’m in flow with the universe. Whether you believe in that or not I don’t know, but I feel like the timing of things is often quite right. More than before at least.

When I took a mini-mindfulness retreat a couple of years ago, I learned about the fidelity of the breath and blogged about it soon after. Here’s an excerpt below.

While everything in life changes, one thing we can always count on is our breath to be with us. It’s the one thing that we have had since the moment of our birth and we can count on until the moment we die. We will always have our breath and we can use it. Sit with it and learn to appreciate the present.

This short video “Just Breathe” is quite moving. Children are so often underestimated and spoken down to in our society. But here, several kindergarteners speak quite eloquently about how they feel when they are experiencing anger and how mindfulness meditation helps them to get control of their emotions and calm down. These kids really get it.

If you’re interesting in exploring this topic a bit further, click over here and Bill Murray, yes the comedian Bill Murray, will take you through a short mindfulness exercise like only he can. It’s worth a listen.

Have a great day! Namaste!

On Family: Boston, Politics, Love & Donuts

Kane's Donuts window BostonLast week I was stalking Kane’s Donuts. If you follow me on Instagram, it was quite easy to see.

Years ago, my cousin had told me about how good these donuts were and I never forgot.

When I heard they were opening in Boston last week, in the building where I was working in no less, I decided to seek them out.

My project ended the same day they opened. But I got a dozen donuts so I could try them myself and share as well. Their slogan is “Donuts are love.” Remember this.

Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now. ~ Fred Rogers

Also last week, I learned that my father has Alzheimer’s. donuts thru glassAs an NBC News article says, it’s hard to get a diagnosis for Alzheimer’s.

More than half a million Americans will develop Alzheimer’s disease this year, but as many as half will never be told their diagnosis, according to a new report.

Doctors are reluctant to give the bad news, are afraid of the reaction, or fear they won’t be believed, the Alzheimer’s Association says. But Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers say they want to know.

I’ve written about my father on my blog many times before. I perfected my chocolate birthday cake for his 79th birthday.  He and I did a tour of a rum distillery. I blogged his story of when he met Jalen Rose’s father Jimmy Walker on the basketball court back in the day. My Dad has so many stories. I’m so lucky to be his daughter.

I’ve been conflicted about whether to write about what my family is going through. I’m still not sure if it’s the right thing to do. I hope this isn’t a mistake. But for me, “writing it out” is therapeutic. My father has been so supportive of my writing and creative life. Even more so over the past couple of years.

My father is in denial and says nothing is wrong. Over the past five months, so many things have gone wrong. Horribly, horribly wrong. My mother and I could not ignore them any longer. Safety becomes an issue and denial is not an option. But it all happened so fast. One thing after another. We were not prepared. It is so hard. My heart is breaking.

My father will turn 83 soon. He played basketball twice a week until he was 79 years old. He was and in some ways still is the picture of health. He injured his shoulder and had to stop playing basketball. That changed everything.

This — Alzheimer’s, was not supposed to happen to him. Not to my father. He recites poetry from memory and has a story for every occasion. My father is special. This happens to other people. But each of us is “other people” to everyone else. Everyone is special.

The details of all that happened are personal and don’t really matter for the big picture. For everyone who develops Alzheimer’s, I imagine there will be similarities, but the exact details will be different. I’m trying to learn more about this disease, but it’s a steep learning curve and I know that to a certain extent I must still be in shock.

I’ve been a fan of B. Smith for a long time. When I learned that she had early onset Alzheimer’s I was stunned.

Strangely enough, when Smith went missing in November, it was around the time that things started happening with my father. She is becoming more public with her diagnosis and speaking out about Alzheimer’s. I had no idea that it was such a big issue for African Americans. There needs to be more diversity in clinical trials, according to a BusinessWire article.

Although older African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease as non-Hispanic whites, diagnosis and treatment are more likely to be delayed. In addition, Applied Clinical Trials reports African American participation in clinical trials of potential Alzheimer’s disease treatments has declined to only two percent. Despite an increasingly ethnically diverse US population, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities are under-represented in medical research. As a study published in Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders found, over 95 percent of subjects in a typical Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial are white.

It seems that the only way to deal with a big societal problem is for the people who are dealing with it to go public. Today I saw Angelina Jolie’s piece in the New York Times about her latest surgery and all the health issues and decisions she continues to go through. She is so brave and I admire her for it. I decided to follow in her footsteps and write here today.

As I’ve been helping my parents over the last several months, I’ve had to take time from work. The article that I wrote for The Atlantic about the Family and Medical Leave Act back in November has been on my mind and especially today. One of the issues is that most family leave is unpaid.

Today I read that Boston may soon have an ordinance for eligible city employees to receive paid parental leave. What a huge and wonderful first step!

But when I think of paid family leave, it should not only be for parents. Not everyone is a parent. I don’t have children, but I still have a family. The work I’ve missed was unpaid and I needed the money. But priorities. I do contract work and this type of legislation never helps those in my work situation. We are not “true employees” receiving benefits.

However, I hope that those otherwise eligible Boston city workers who take time off to help family can be paid regardless of parental status. Should an adult child’s time spent helping an elderly parent be deemed less important than the time parents spend bonding with their newborn? Aren’t they just opposite sides of the same coin?

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Maybe my writing this piece will help someone who is seeing signs in a parent or other loved one, but is unsure about what is happening and about what to do. I don’t have all or even most of the answers, but there is help. Me and my mother have been reaching out to family and friends, different organizations, doctors, nurses, social workers, and more. You name it. Keep reaching out and asking questions. Push for answers. Stay as organized as you can. Take time for yourself. Push for more answers. Appreciate the small victories.

honey dipped + plain donutsMy father has a sweet tooth. When I visited him last week, I brought him some of these donuts. I have never seen his face light up with such pure joy than at the sight of them. Maybe donuts are love.

On Family: Tradition, Obligation & Gender

part of the family from film

If you have about 12 minutes to spare, this film, Houshi Ryokan is worth taking the time to watch. Houshi Ryokan is a hotel that was founded in the Hokuriku region of Japan and is one of the oldest family businesses in the world. It was founded in 718 and close to 50 generations have kept it going for its 1,300 years.

The film profiles the family — an elderly couple and their unmarried daughter. The mother had an arranged marriage and wants something different for her adult child.

The daughter is seeking a life for herself, but she loves her parents and is feeling torn. Her brother died unexpectedly and the family is figuring out how to go forward.

Even though this family is so far away from me in terms of distance, language and culture, their story transcends all that. I feel for all of them.

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Image: Screenshot via Vimeo