What Are Adverse Possession Laws?

Most states have certain laws pertaining to adverse possession. While these laws will differ from one state to another, there is a common basis to the law. Adverse possession involves claiming ownership of the property of someone else simply because of maintenance done to that property. In other words, if you participate in maintaining property that belongs to someone else, even without their permission or assistance, adverse possession laws may apply which would give you the right to take that property and legally own it.

The key word here is adverse. In order for adverse possession laws to apply, the person claiming the possession must have maintained or lived on the property without permission of the actual owner. An example would be if you were to farm land that belongs to someone else. If this land has been neglected in the past and you choose to begin farming it without speaking with the owner and gaining permission and that owner does not attempt to stop you from farming the land, you may be legally permitted to claim adverse possession. If however, the owner of the land agrees at some point in writing that you have permission to use that land for as long as you want, these laws no longer apply. If the owner grants permission for you to use the land then it is known as permissive use and you cannot claim adverse possession. You must be using property that belongs to someone else and using that property without any permission from them whatsoever in order for adverse possession to be considered.

There is another stipulation on whether or not adverse possession applies. If you are using the property of someone else, you have to be using it in an obvious manner. You cannot hide the fact that you are farming someone else’s land for instance. The maintenance that you are providing has to be done in a way that is obvious to the general public or to the person who actually owns the property. Adverse possession laws are designed to penalize landowners who allow their properties to go to waste. Owning property is a privilege in other words and a privilege that can easily be taken away. In the case of adverse possession, property ownership is granted to the person who is actually taking care of that property.

In some states there are timelines that must be followed in order for adverse possession laws to be valid. Some states dictate that the maintenance of the property must be done without written permission from the actual property owner and that this maintenance must be maintained for at least fifteen years. Different states may have different timelines. California for instance has a timeline of only five years while Virginia mandates fifteen years of open maintenance. If you feel that adverse possession laws apply to you, you should speak with a real estate attorney in your state of residence to determine whether or not you qualify for ownership of the property under these laws.

Protect Yourself Legally by Avoiding Common Copyright Myths

There are a few common misconceptions about copyright laws. In order to protect yourself from legal repercussions, you should know and understand copyright laws and how they pertain to you. One myth regarding these laws is that a copyright notice must be visible in order for copyrighting to have taken place. This is simply not true.

There were laws in the past that claimed that for something to be considered copyrighted, it had to bear a copyright mark. This is no longer true. Today, you should simply assume than anything you see, particularly when you are browsing the internet, is copyrighted. You cannot take copy or content from someone’s website and use it as your own even if it does not bear the copyrighted ©.

Another myth that some people believe is that if they are not making money from the content that they are using then it does not violate any copyright laws. This is another one that is not true. You do not have to actually be making any money from someone else’s work in order for copyright laws to dictate that you have stolen that work. Courts may actually order stricter sentencing when money is concerned. For instance, if you are taken to court for copyright infringement and you have actually made money from the work that you have used, you may face heavier fines. Even if you do not make any money from that work however, you are still in violation of copyright laws and you can still be punished by law. Common copyright laws that do not earn money for the violator include duplicating music files or video files through common file sharing programs or copying those items onto a disc for personal use.

Finally, there is a myth that many believe that involves creating something from the works of others. Many believe that if they use works and then do something to make them unique, no copyright laws have been violated. An example of this would be fan fiction. Even though you may be adding to the idea and making something unique, if you used the original works of someone else without their permission, you are violating copyright laws. The brand that you use to create your unique works actually belongs to someone else and this is where the violation occurs.

Some copyright laws can be difficult to decipher, particularly those involving internet works. If you are unsure of whether or not you are violating these laws or you feel that you have fallen victim to copyright infringement, it is important that you speak with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property laws. An experienced attorney can help you to determine if in fact a violation has occurred and what you can do about it.

In order to prevent violating copyright laws yourself, you should always request permission of the original author of any works before you use those works for your own use. For instance, if you want to add an article to a website, ask the original author’s permission before doing so.