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Alexander: Bloggers may not own their own words

  • Article by: STEVE ALEXANDER
  • Star Tribune
  • September 10, 2013 - 4:32 PM

Q: I am thinking about starting a blog for profit on a shoestring budget. I know that Google’s Blogger service is free, but I wonder how using it affects my intellectual property. Would I retain full ownership of what I write on Blogger, both financially and intellectually?

Perkins Cashio, Maringouin, La.

A: Google says yes, but I don’t think it’s that clear-cut. Google gives contradictory statements about intellectual property in its terms of service for Blogger and its other services. As a result, you may not have control over how your words are altered or used.

Google’s terms of service (see tinyurl.com/csfcnam) say, “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”

While that sounds good, Google’s terms of service also say, “When you upload or otherwise submit content to our services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”

So it seems Blogger can use your material any way it wants without consulting you.

Q: My Brother printer that uses LC61 print cartridges has quit working. It just shuts down. The only way to fix it is to return my Windows Vista PC settings to an earlier date using System Restore, but after a few days the printer quits again. What should I do?

Harry Fradin, Tamarac, Fla.

A: You may need to replace the printer. But first try these potential fixes.

Check the expiration dates on the LC61 printer cartridges. Depending on how “smart” your printer is, it might refuse to use ink cartridges that are expired. (System Restore may give you a few extra days before the expiration date is checked again.)

In addition, use your printer’s automatic ability to clean the nozzles on your print cartridges. If a nozzle is clogged, you would either get a faint print or no print at all. See step by step instructions at tinyurl.com/ow6rrpb.

Alternatively, you may need to update your printer’s driver software so that it works well with Windows Vista. To find the free driver software, go to tinyurl.com/2sjj8w and enter the model number of your printer. If you don’t know the model number, click on “How to identify your model,” choose the picture that looks like your printer and you’ll get an illustration of where on the machine to find the model number.

Once you find the correct download for your printer, you’ll need to enter which version of Windows Vista your PC uses, 32-bit or 64-bit. To find out which one you have, go to Start, choose Control Panel and click System.

E-mail tech questions to steve.j.alexander@gmail.com or write to Tech Q&A, 425 ­Portland Av. S., ­Minneapolis, MN 55488. Include name, city and telephone number.

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