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Am I wrong for using "home or non-commercial use only" software?
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April 10, 2010
6:53 PM
Ashraf
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Yesterday a thought hit me: While I mainly use my computer for personal needs, I also use it to write articles for dotTech. dotTech has advertisements on it and by some may be considered a "commercial" enterprise (although I really don't make enough money from dotTech for it to compensate me for how much hours I spend writing articles). On my computer I run and use various "home or non-commercial use" only software. Previously I didn't think twice about using these software because I truly am using my computer for personal needs (or so I thought). However yesterday the idea that using my computer to write articles for dotTech may be considered "commercial use" struck me and I can't stop thinking about it.

So what is everyone's opinion on the matter? Am I right or wrong in using "home or non-commercial use only" software? I would like to hear what other people think.

April 10, 2010
7:39 PM
yourpalal
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Hey Ashraf!

Well, considering the little $$ you make, maybe you could refer to this as a……..

NON-PROFIT  organization!! Wink

===========================

But seriously, you could look into how to do that &/or separate certain business enterprises you have from the more non-commercial ones. Maybe someone here who has some insight into this, or a tax adviser, could give you advice on that.

For free reference material, the IRS website has down-loadable documents on these subjects, as well as a toll-free phone # to talk directly with them. Despite rumors to the contrary, they are usually quite helpful & friendly IMHO, & could also direct you to more detailed info. Below is just one link:

"Welcome to the forms and publications resource page, the official source of IRS tax products. The links below provide methods to access and acquire both electronic and print media."

http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/index.html

Al

Life is just a phase you're going through…you'll get over it.
April 10, 2010
8:08 PM
Pwnana
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I would read this and comment, but its doing the text-beyond-borders thing again! X_x

Could someone edit Al's post and take out the "==="s?  I think that is whats causing it.

You got Pwnd
April 10, 2010
8:13 PM
Ashraf
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@Al: It doesn't matter if I consider myself non-profit or not. Most, and by most I mean 99%, don't make an exception for non-profit vs profit – business is a business to them profit or non-profit. In other words, even non-profits aren't allowed to use "home or non-commercial use only" software in most cases.

@Pwnana: Done.

April 10, 2010
8:20 PM
yourpalal
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Pwnana said:

I would read this and comment, but its doing the text-beyond-borders thing again! X_x

Could someone edit Al's post and take out the "==="s?  I think that is whats causing it.


 

Oh man, sorry, Embarassed  I had no idea, it didn't look that way when I went to post it, but my bad. If I could, I would try an edit, but may be too late.

Sometimes I work on a message in Word 1st, as it has features that aren't available here, such as un-delete. If you copy & paste it to a word doc. it shows the whole message. Maybe formatting doesn't work both ways here. Still learnin' the hard way.

Life is just a phase you're going through…you'll get over it.
April 10, 2010
8:24 PM
yourpalal
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OK, as soon as I got done with posting my heart-felt apology, I see that all's better now.

Oh well, still learnin'.

 

Life is just a phase you're going through…you'll get over it.
April 11, 2010
12:14 AM
yourpalal
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Ashraf said:

@Al: It doesn't matter if I consider myself non-profit or not. Most, and by most I mean 99%, don't make an exception for non-profit vs profit – business is a business to them profit or non-profit. In other words, even non-profits aren't allowed to use "home or non-commercial use only" software in most cases.


 

I understand. Just trying to throw around some ideas. If I do that long enough,maybe one will actually be helpful!

BTW: If you ever decide to offer some stock, please put me on your priority list! Wink

Al 

Life is just a phase you're going through…you'll get over it.
April 11, 2010
3:49 AM
phoenix_rising
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@ Ashraf: Interesting dilemma – and one I wouldn't have thought of until you mentioned it. I imagine most tech blog writers would be in the same boat. I've done some searching online about it and came across at least one site that might be worth searching through for information about this. It's called Jurisdynamics … "Dedicated to the subjects and methodological tools that most vividly depict the law's interaction with societal and technological change." It's at http://jurisdynamics.blogspot.com/

From what I've seen thus far, I think the use of such software would come under the "appropriate use" category – 0r definitions thereof. But I may be way off base here …

Seems like a real grey area, although I'm sure there must be legal precedent somewhere … I'll keep my eye out for something. And hopefully there are some legal professionals who are members of dotTech who can give some solid advice.

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther King Jr
April 11, 2010
4:13 AM
phoenix_rising
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@ Ashraf: Ok, found a 2008 study by Creative Commons – "Creative Commons Launches Study of “Noncommercial Use”. The press release can be viewed here: http://creativecommons.org/press-releases/entry/9554

The report and definitions are available at: http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Defining_Noncommercial

Hope this helps.

“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” – Martin Luther King Jr
April 11, 2010
5:46 AM
karen
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@Ashraf – My non-legal opinion is that your use of the "personal or non-commercial" software is ok. And I think that lots of the developers/companies that you get software from know what you are using the software for (personal and evaluating it for dotTech). I think if those companies thought you were violating the non-commercial use policy they would stop providing the software to you.

April 11, 2010
9:48 AM
Wheezer
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I'm in agreement with Karen on this.

You said: "I mainly use my computer for personal needs"

To me that means that your computer is a personal computer. Even if you do use it sometimes for stuff for dotTech.

In the past when I've owned a pickup truck, I've used it to help friends move to new homes or apartments, and let them pay me for the gas used to move them (in fact, sometimes I insisted on that). I felt no need to register with the IRS or the State as a business because of it. Because the majority of the work the truck did was personal.

I know, weird comparison. But look at your question from different angles and  I think you'll see where I'm coming from. I think most of us do the same thing with some stuff we own, in some way. I'd say don't worry about it.

                       wheezertech.forumotion.com
April 11, 2010
10:46 AM
ebony
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@ Ashraf:

Let me address your question from this angle

Consider your computer a vehicle, if you use your vehicle for personal use and then sometimes deliver pizza part-time, you do not have to buy commercial ins. since pizza delivery is not the main use of your vehicle.

You have stated that dot Tech is a hobby, a hobby is not defined as a money making venture, even though sometimes there is financial gain from a hobby.

IMO I do not see a problem.

BTW, I like this site Wink

Ebony Cool

April 11, 2010
11:11 AM
Pwnana
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I think since you do not use this software with the express (or even secondary) purpose of making a profit of any kind, then it still counts for personal use.

You got Pwnd
April 11, 2010
2:00 PM
calebstein
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Agreed with Ebony

It's me
April 11, 2010
7:20 PM
ebony
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Hi calebstein and Welcome to dot TechSmile

I hope you enjoy the site as much as I do. You will find good info here and some light hearted chatter as well.Laugh

Ebony Cool

April 11, 2010
11:28 PM
Ashraf
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Thanks everyone for the feedback, especially the analogy to the insurance/cars. For now I think I will continue to use the software unless someone has a compelling argument as to why I should not.

April 12, 2010
3:47 AM
Jabtano
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Ashraf.

The wording here is what is key, personal use. Meaning,the use on a personal machine. However that does not mean that one cannot use theirpersonal machine to do work on it from home. It means that the machine you areusing is your home machine. It is not stuck in some cube in some officebuilding somewhere. So you are both legally safe and morally in the right.so carry on.

In the end everything will be OK. If it's not OK then it's not the end.
April 12, 2010
4:06 AM
yourpalal
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karen said:

@Ashraf – My non-legal opinion is that your use of the "personal or non-commercial" software is ok. And I think that lots of the developers/companies that you get software from know what you are using the software for (personal and evaluating it for dotTech). I think if those companies thought you were violating the non-commercial use policy they would stop providing the software to you.


 

I believe that's a good way to see it; any company can plainly see the intent & purpose here, & compare it to other program reviews/forum sites. If you owned a company, wouldn't you look to here 1st, over a site (like GOTD?) Wink

 What good would it do to put out your products to any site (oh, say, like….. GOTD)  that spends less time & effort with helpful commenting & focusing on the program being reviewed, as they do picking at & bashing each other?

I must say I'm grateful to GOTD; for one thing, it brought me to here! Laugh

Life is just a phase you're going through…you'll get over it.
April 19, 2010
3:42 AM
Orchid
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Hi Ashraf :)

 

I have to agree with the others on this as well.  You use your computer for home use and your enjoyment.  It's not at a work site nor do you use it for only work related purposes.  dotTech is not your primary job nor does it pay your bills.

 

Your hobby and some free time is spent posting, chatting with members, and  providing reviews and opinions on software….software that many developers have chosen to offer here on your site due to how great the site is….through special giveaways, free licesnes, promotions, contests, etc.

 

Another way to look at the blogs, forums, sites that you have is this….

Most games now have members creating sites for the game (clans, factions, fan sites, etc) and many times having one is required for those who run clans/factions.  While this isn't a game site, it's a community that comes together and spends a great deal of time together socializing on various topics surrounding tech…..although there's other topics as well just like on those other sites. ;)  This is really no different than those.

 

There is no reason for you to question ethics, morals, or ligitimacy in using the "home or non commercial" versions or types of software.  Keep using them and keep up the great things you do and provide here for all of us.  :)

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