Everything on the Internet is in the Public Domain

Actually NOT everything on the internet is in the public domain but it seems that a lot of people do not know this or simply don’t care about copyright laws. Since creating my website more than 10 years ago, I’ve come across numerous other websites that have copied my tutorials without asking permission or giving me credit. Then I found out copies of my tutorials were being sold on Ebay. In the past few months, I’ve also discovered someone selling Kindle books on Amazon and someone else selling a crappy iPhone app, all stolen from my tutorials. I sincerely hope that no one has wasted their money on these illegal copies.

I have never given permission for commercial use of anything on my website. Everyone is free to use the tutorials, photos and mp3s at home or in the classroom, but no one is allowed to make money off of them.  The only product I currently sell is the French Language Tutorial, but everything else on ielanguages.com is free for personal use. If you find other webpages or ebooks that have blatantly copied any part of my website or blog, please let me know.

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I know that I am not the only webmaster or blogger to have problems with thieves stealing their work. Unfortunately it is a very common problem since it is so easy to copy and paste. Expats in France will probably remember Polly-Vous Français?’s fiasco a few years ago when an author quoted one of her popular blog posts and did not ask Polly for permission beforehand, nor did she attribute the work to her in the actual book (claiming that she couldn’t find the blog online because she’s apparently never heard of Google) nor did the publisher offer any financial compensation to Polly for having used her work.

Perhaps the most ridiculous example of someone truly believing that “everything on the internet is in the public domain” is Cooks Source editor Judith Griggs who was actually quoted as saying that the entire internet is considered the public domain. Think about that for a second. She’s been a magazine editor for 30 years. And she thinks she can just copy whatever she wants from the internet, as long as she credits someone as the author, but without asking for permission, telling them, or paying them. I wish I were making this up. Gawker, BoingBoing and NPR all picked up the story a few months ago if you want to read the unbelievable e-mails the woman sent.

What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content is a good explanation of what webmasters and bloggers can do when (not if) someone copies their website. Any other bloggers out there have problems with intellectual property theft? How are you handling it?

Swearing in French and Degrees of Vulgarity

Swearing is another cultural concept that is difficult to master when learning a language. Exact translations among swear words are hard to come by since a lot of the meaning depends on the situation and tone of voice. What is considered vulgar in one language may not be in another. In French, merde is usually […]

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National Foreign Language Week & Promoting Language Learning

This week (March 7-13) is National Foreign Language Week in the US.  It was begun in 1957 by the Alpha Mu Gammar Honor Society to help make students aware of how vital foreign language study is. Of course, if you visit my website and read my blog, then you already know how vital it is […]

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Bureaucracy in France: Frustrating for Foreigners and the French

Every year in March I have to renew my residency card in France. This involves collecting paperwork and a trip to the préfecture with David (since I am a resident of France thanks to the fact that we are PACSed) at least two months before the current carte de séjour expires. Every encounter with the […]

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France has a new département d’outre-mer: Mayotte

As of March 2011, France now has five overseas départements instead of four. Mayotte was previously a collectivité d’outre-mer, but now it is officially a département d’outre-mer joining Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and La Réunion – all of which also have the status of région. So where is Mayotte? Geographically it is the 4th island in […]

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Knowledge of French popular culture: m’a tuer

An example of French popular culture: the phrase m’a tuer I figured even Voici wouldn’t have made such a glaring grammatical mistake on their cover (it “should” be Twitter m’a tueé, using the past participle and agreeing with the preceding direct object) so I asked David what it referred to. He told me about the […]

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International Mother Language Day & Recent Foreign Language News

February 21 is UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day, which “has been celebrated since 2000 to promote all the languages of the world. This Day represents an effective mobilization opportunity for linguistic diversity and multilingualism.” Spread the language love! If you don’t already know why being multilingual makes your life better: Being bilingual may delay Alzheimer’s and […]

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Review of Mango Passport & On the Go and Free Product Giveaway for Twitter Users

Last fall, I included Mango Languages for Libraries in my review of language learning websites. If you do not have access to Mango through your library or would like your own personal copy of the program that is not dependent on an internet connection, Mango Languages now offers Passport software and On the Go mp3 […]

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More French Cultural Vocabulary: Proprietary or Brand Names

Proprietary or brand names are also a cultural aspect of learning languages. Many times people aren’t even aware that a word they use for a certain object is in fact a brand name and not the generic name. In English, we have several brand names that have become more common than the original terms, such […]

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Culturally Relevant Photos of French Objects: Learning the Cultural Significance of Words

Following up on my recent post about cultural differences in photos, I have begun taking pictures of culturally relevant objects in France as an extension to my realia project that originally included written objects in French, such as signs, brochures, menus, receipts, etc. Now I want to add realia pertaining to visual differences among cultures and […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at a university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling and being an American abroad.

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