Important Facts About National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

The Purpose of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month

Since December is one the busiest months of the year full of winter holiday celebrations like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, there are a lot more social events and late night get-to-gathers where alcohol is available. Sadly, driving under the influence is quite common during holiday season. Impaired driving puts drivers, passengers, and pedestrians at risk, and each year it claims the lives of thousands of Americans. In December, we observe National Impaired Driving Prevention Month to create more awareness on the issue.

Some Important Facts About This Month

It is reported that every year, around 30 million people drive while intoxicated and around 10 million drivers go behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs.

Nearly 25 people a day were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010. Drinking and driving can be deadly, especially for teens.

Young adults (ages 21-34) are much more likely to die in a car crash after drinking alcohol.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, 28 people in the United States lose their lives in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2014, of the 1,070 traffic deaths among children (ages 0-14), nearly 19% involved alcohol-impaired drivers.

Drugs other than alcohol are also a factor for traffic accidents.

Effective Preventive Measures

Prevention starts with our sense of personal responsibility. It is high time that drivers, irrespective of their age, start thinking about how they can practice safe driving and re-evaluate their driving habits.

Conducting school programs and educating teens on how important it is NOT to get in the car with a driver who’s under the influence would be an effective solution.

Electronically monitoring repeat DWI offenders also appears to be effective. Ignition interlocks in cars prevent operation of the vehicle by anyone with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above the specified level.

If you come across a possibly drunken driver on the road, immediately contact the police! Your timely action might save someone’s life.

Families play an essential role in putting an end to impaired driving. We should all educate our children about the risks involved in consuming alcohol or illicit drugs and especially how dangerous this is while driving.

If your holiday plans involve drinking liquor, make sure to always plan ahead for a safe ride home.

Every year, a higher volume of vehicles flood the roads. People rush to see their loved ones for the holidays and the odds of getting into a driving accident increase during these periods. While most people are well informed, there are still many other people who are not aware about how this easily avoidable problem could affect their loved ones. It is our personal duty to help people understand how dangerous this habit actually is.

Organize a local awareness campaign to explain the risks involved and how drinking and driving can affect families. Surprise the attendees with customized giveaways. Silicone wristbands are perfect for such campaigns because they are original, durable, long-lasting and inspiring. You can get them in different colors, fonts, sizes and styles. Wristbands carry messages. Choose from “Think and Drive”, “Never Drink and Drive” or come up with something of your own.

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7 Common Immigration Mistakes To Be Avoided

While applying for immigration benefits, there are some common mistakes people make, but can be avoided. These mistakes can sometimes cause serious trouble at the end of the road, like not being able to reunite with their family, loss of both the application filing fee and the immigration fee, being deported and inability to re-enter the US. So, caution must be taken to avoid these simple mistakes listed below.

1. Providing Incorrect information:

When applying for immigration benefits, it is necessary to provide all the right information. This is right from the point where the immigration forms are filed. Fraudulent information or misrepresenting any facts for obtaining the immigration benefits must be avoided.

2. Late Responses to USCIS queries:

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services needs any additional information for processing any immigration application, it sends a Request for Evidence (RFE) to the applicant. This request has to be replied with sufficient documentation within the stipulated deadline. Ignoring or missing the deadline for the RFE can lead to denial of the application.

3. Immigration Interviews and Court Hearings:

Attending the interviews set up by the USCIS and the court hearings is very important in the process of granting an immigration. Ignoring these interviews and court hearings can also lead to the application being rejected.

4. Filing application without the fee:

USCIS forms usually have a processing fee. Fee waiver is also available for most forms. Those who cannot afford to pay the fees, can send the application along with a request for fee waiver. USCIS does not process any application which does not have the fee or the proper fee waiver request.

5. Send the application to the wrong office:

The instruction form along with the application should be read carefully. The address to which the application form should be sent to is given clearly in the instruction form. The application must be sent to the correct address to avoid delay where the application is either returned to the sender or sometimes forwarded to the right address.

6. Not everyone who applies is successful:

Some of the applicants, even though they do not meet the criteria for immigration benefits, simply apply because their friends or relatives have applied and have obtained the benefits. Every applicant is evaluated and not everyone who applies is eligible for the benefit. Reading the instruction forms thoroughly clarifies the eligibility criteria and provides newer options available.

7. Eligibility:

Applying for an immigration benefit for which they are not eligible is a very common mistake. Reading the Instruction Form before applying and checking for an individual’s eligibility can be done before applying.

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Received a Copyright Infringement Notice? Now What?

Are you one of those who just received a TCYK LLC letter? In order for such a letter of claim not to become a TCYK LLC lawsuit eventually, it is a must to know some what-to-do guidelines when receiving notices for copyright infringement. So, read on; this article might help.

Let’s start with some FAQs:

Who sends a letter of claim?

Only 3 sources are authorized to send you a letter of demand for copyright infringement, and these are:

  • An exclusive licensee or someone who has an exclusive copyright license of a certain creative material
  • The owner of the copyright
  • The solicitor/s and anti-piracy entities who have been hired by copyright owners to chase infringers

In some territories and selected cases, the ISP may also have the right to send a copyright infringement notice to warn subscribers of their illegal downloading and/or file-sharing activities.

What to do next?

You need to respond to the letter of claim within the period specified on the letter. In England, it is a general rule to reply to a letter of demand or copyright infringement notice within 14 days after receiving the letter, whether you are guilty of the allegation or you are not directly responsible for the infringement. This is why proper understanding of the letter’s content is a must before even thinking of responding through email or phone call. Take your time knowing the details of the allegation, and consider seeking professional legal assistance if there are things you want to be clarified. Aside from asking legal advice from a solicitor, you may also get in touch with the letter sender directly through the hotline provided on the letter. This way you can easily get more information regarding the allegation against you as well as prevent any more serious consequences like litigation. Responding to a letter of claim immediately also lets you clear your name if ever you did not really commit the infringement.

So what should you do to stop receiving another copyright infringement notice?

  1. Stop downloading copyrighted materials. Yes, it is as simple as that. Most things you see online are owned by someone, and it is better off not to take something that’s not yours, unless you have already acquired permission from the rightful owner. However, there are also copyrighted materials that are made available by the copyright holders themselves through a Creative Commons License, which means you are actually free to make use of certain music and other creative materials online. Although there is this exception, it is still important to note that most free films you see online should not be really free and are still owned by people or entities, therefore you are most likely required to pay for downloading and/or sharing them.
  2. Check your internet connection usage. It is also important to know everyone who has access to your Wi-Fi connection to easily track the person/s responsible for any infringement, especially if you are very much aware that you haven’t really tried downloading or sharing copyrighted materials through your PC and other devices at home. You can check who accessing your wireless router by looking into its logs of connections, which most routers do have. You may also acquire assistance from your ISP in order to make sure that only you and your family or anyone in your household are the only ones accessing your internet connection, therefore not putting you at risk of any illegal downloading and other copyright infringement allegations.

These are just some of the basic precautionary measures you can do to stay away from letting a letter of claim turn into a TCYK LLC lawsuit.

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What You Need to Know About the Increase in Traffic Fatalities in South Carolina

In response to a recent report issued by South Carolina Highway Patrol, there has been an increase in traffic fatalities in South Carolina. South Carolina has seen a whopping 25% increase in deaths caused by traffic automobile accidents.

According to the National Safety Council, traffic deaths in the U.S. from 2014 to 2016 increased by 18 percent. However, the state of South Carolina saw a 25 percent increase. In North Carolina, the number jumped to 26 percent during the same two-year time frame.

More traffic, increased distractions, and poor road conditions lead to higher traffic fatalities across the state of South Carolina. Remember, it is easy to call a death in a traffic accident a “fatality”-which is a generic term. But imagine if it were your loved one, or close friend, who died tragically in a preventable traffic accident. Deaths caused by auto wrecks are an unnecessary tragedy. All of us have to remember that it’s not just a “fatality”; in fact, it’s a the loss of a human being-the loss of a father, mother, son or daughter, brother or sister – in a preventable situation. As an auto accident lawyer, I witness how car wrecks affect the lives of real people in our community. And it’s a terrible, terrible preventable tragedy.

What are some of the reasons for these high statistics? The program Target Zero discusses the state of South Carolina’s goal of eliminating traffic related deaths to Zero. One of these factors is the increase in traffic due to tourism. Whether toting our gorgeous parks or our fabulous food, our state, especially the Upstate, has received a lot of positive media attention in the past couple of years. This has resulted in an increase in visitors.

Another contributing factor to the increased traffic could be attributed to people relocating here. In 2015, there was a 2.5 percent jump in the number of registered vehicles and a 2 percent rise in the number of driver’s licenses issued in South Carolina.

With more traffic on the roadways of course there will be more traffic-related accidents. Nevertheless, there are still other reasons for wrecks. Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and drunk driving are still factors in fatality related auto accidents.

So, please be safe out there and be a defensive driver. And follow this simple advice: Slow down. Give plenty of distance between your car and other cars. Get off the cell phone or smart phone. Keep your eyes on the road. Keep two hands on the wheel. Never drink or drive or drive while tired. Take safe driving seriously.

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Estafa Vs B.P.22 – What Is the Difference?

We’re pretty sure there’s a point in time that you became party to a transaction, either as payee or payer. Of course as payee, receiving cash is much preferred as you are sure that your payment was given to you in full sans any further action needed from your end. Now as payer, issuing a check is so much more convenient, especially for substantial transactions, as you would not have to worry about bringing cash and making sure that all your expenses are accounted and debited for, up to the last centavo.

It’s great if all transactions went smoothly without any hitch. However, with both parties making and receiving payment all in good faith. But what if you were conned by someone you had the mistake of trusting? Or what if you issued a check as a show of good faith to close out on a deal but at the time of issuance, the account has insufficient funds and you made a mental note to replenish the account as soon as you got paid. Alas, you then notice that your check bounced.

The above instances had surged over the years and has caused an unfortunate chain reaction which prompted the filing of either or both the following cases: Estafa and Violation of Batas Pambasa (BP) 22 or the Bouncing Checks Law.

Estafa Through Issuance of Unfunded Checks
The crime of Estafa is punished under the Revised Penal Code. One can be held guilty for Estafa by means of issuing a bouncing check with the use of false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:
“By postdating a check, or issuing a check in payment of an obligation when the offender had no funds in the bank, or his funds deposited therein were not sufficient to cover the amount of the check. (Article 315(2)(d) of the Revised Penal Code as amended by R.A. 4885)”

How can a person be held guilty for Estafa?

Under the RPC, the following elements are necessary to hold a person guilty of Estafa:

  1. Postdating or issuance of a check in payment of an obligation contracted at the time the check was issued
  2. Insufficiency of funds to cover the check, and
  3. Damage to the payee thereof.

The most important element here is the damage caused. Absent any of the following elements, a person cannot be held liable for Estafa.

Case in point:

Andres owns and operates a trading good business and bought merchandise from Bonifacio and issued an unfunded check in consideration of the goods received.

In this scenario, Andres can be held liable for Estafa because he issued a check knowing it to be without sufficient funds to pay the items he bought from Bonifacio. The issuance of the bounced check here was with fraudulent intent.

Bouncing Checks Law (BP 22)
Unlike Estafa which has its basis under the RPC, BP 22 is enacted through a special law. A person can be charged for violation of BP 22 when he commits the following acts:

  1. Making or drawing and issuing any check to apply on account or for value, knowing at the time of issue that he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment, which check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or would have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to stop payment;
  2. Having sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank when he makes or draws and issues a check, shall fail to keep sufficient funds or to maintain a credit to cover the full amount of the check if presented within a period of ninety (90) days from the date appearing thereon, for which reason it is dishonored by the drawee bank.

How can a person be held guilty for Violation of BP 22?

Violation of BP 22 can be filed against any person when the following are present:

  1. Making, drawing and issuance of any check to apply for account or for value;
  2. Knowledge of the maker, drawer, or issuer that at the time of issue he does not have sufficient funds in or credit with the drawee bank for the payment of such check in full upon its presentment; and
  3. Subsequent dishonor of the check by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit or dishonor for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid cause, ordered the bank to stop payment.

Same with Estafa, the presence of all these requirements is important. Otherwise, the charge of BP 22 will not attach. Note that knowledge of insufficiency of funds is presumed when it is proved that the issuer received a notice of dishonor and that within 5 days from receipt thereof, he failed to pay the amount of the check or make arrangement for its payment. Additionally, in BP 22, good faith is immaterial. Meaning, the mere issuance of an unfunded check already consummates the crime.

Using the same example above, Andres can also be charged for Violation of BP 22, other than Estafa, because BP 22 cases also cover issuances of bouncing checks for value received.

Where does the disparity lie?

It is Estafa when, among others, you issue an unfunded check with fraudulent intent in consideration of something of value you received. Here intent is material and good faith may be used as a defense.

It is a case for Violation of BP 22 when you issue an unfunded check whether or not it is for an obligation you contracted prior to the issuance of the check or not. Simply put, you are liable for BP 22 whether you issue a check for a present or a past obligation.

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How to Complete a Self-Health Assessment Following a Car Accident

As soon as you are involved in a car accident, the first priority is to have your health and over-all condition assessed by a professional emergency medical technician on-site or at the hospital. For less serious car accidents, it is still important to assess your own health to be sure you are not suffering from a head, spine, or neck injury. The issue with these kinds of injuries is that they can become evident or worse as time passes. So you might seem fine after a car wreck, but can then start to develop symptoms later on that point toward neck and back injuries.

There are signs and symptoms to look for, as well as, tips to learn how to identify the difference between vague soreness and tenderness of muscles, and an actual serious injury. Continue reading for a post-accident health assessment guide and information about filing a car accident injury claim for injuries and damages sustained in a serious collision.

Checking On Your Health

Once you have been involved in a car accident, whether it was your own fault or not, is to seek immediate medical attention. As a car accidents happens, authorities are usually alerted almost immediately; either by someone involved in the wreck or a bystander. Police will ask if you or your passengers need to go to the hospital if it is not obvious or evident that someone is hurt. You can make this assessment yourself, or you can simply have an EMT check you out at the scene of the accident or at the hospital.

You can choose to ride in an ambulance for a faster commute to the hospital for emergencies, but for less serious and less evident injuries, you may choose to take yourself or have a loved one drive you. In other cases, you might feel like you are not injured enough for professional medical care, and pass up the opportunity to go to the hospital altogether. Once you are familiar with how to assess your own condition after an accident, you will be able to responsibly make the choice of seeking further medical assistance, or to care for yourself.

Here are some symptoms to look for immediately after, as well as, the days following a motor vehicle accident:

  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Soreness or Tenderness of Neck
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Mental Confusion
  • Pain or Tenderness in Lower Back
  • Pain in Neck or Spine
  • Difficulty Standing
  • Pain When in the Seated Position
  • Swelling of Neck, Back, or Head
  • Redness or Abrasions on Body
  • Nausea or Dizziness
  • Blurred Vision
  • Slurred Speech
  • Bleeding
  • Broken Bones
  • Immobility

Any of these symptoms could be a sign of a more serious injury or internal damage. If you are experiencing more than three of the above symptoms, it is strongly encouraged to go to the hospital or to request an EMT at the sight of an accident. Concussions are one of the most common and overlooked head injuries that results from car accidents. And the problem with this type of injury is that a person can seem fine at first, only to later suffer serious consequences and health decline as a result of a neglected head, brain, or spine injury.

Filing a Car Accident Injury Claim
Contact a licensed personal injury lawyer for information about filing a car accident injury claim against a negligent party that caused you or a loved one serious harm following a traffic accident or collision. You may be entitled to compensation.
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Is the Cost of Bail Higher for Felony Charges?

Discovering that your loved one has been arrested is not an enjoyable experience. No one wants to get this phone call; especially because your first thought is likely about the expense it will cost you. Finding out that your loved one was arrested on serious felony charges is even more disturbing, and can cause your mind to go into a whirlwind of questions and concerns. As history shows, many people want to know if a felony charge will increase the cost of a bail bond. The answer to this question, however, is not cut and dry. Continue reading to learn how the cost of bail is calculated, and whether or not the severity of the crime affects the total price of bail.

Cost of Bail

Bonds are set by judges who consider various factors before deciding on an amount. These factors include, but are not limited to, the defendant’s criminal history, the severity of their crime, and whether or not they are a flight risk. So in short, “yes”; the cost of bail is absolutely affected by the severity of criminal charges. This is for many reasons.

Bail Schedules

Most states have bail schedules with predetermined bond amounts for certain categories of crimes. For instance, shoplifting might come with an automatic bail schedule of $1000, while domestic violence might have a $10,000 bond or more. The more serious the crime, the higher the bond amount set by the judge. If a charge is a violent one, such as assault, battery, domestic disturbances, and child abuse, you can guarantee that the bond will be set high. Furthermore, all preset bond amounts, however, can be increased upon the judge’s discretion depending on the previously discussed factors. But not to worry, our U.S. Constitution protects us from excessive bond amounts. So they will be fair.

Bail Bondsmen

Unless you want to pay the jail or courts the full bond amount in cash or property, you will need to hire a bail bondsman. They charge a nonrefundable fee that is a set percentage of the total bond amount. For felony charges, bond amounts will be higher, which means the cost of a bail bond will be too. The premium a bail bondsman is allowed to charge is controlled and regulated by the State’s Insurance Department. Currently, this rates are set between 10 and 15 percent. This means that the total allowable premium that bail bond companies are allowed to charge can be anywhere between these percentages. They get to choose how much they charge within this range. If a person is facing a felony charge and they have a history for fleeing, a bail bondsman will charge on the higher end, closer to the 15% marker. For first time or minor offenses, most stick with the 10% charge.

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Three Categories of Family Law Documents

This branch of the law covers all legal matters that pertain to a family. This can include marriages, divorces, prenuptial agreements, adoption, civil unions, property settlement, child custody and visitation and more. To become an attorney that deals with family law you have to first get your bachelor’s degree, attend law school and then pass the bar but if you plan to specialize in family law there are many different specialties to choose from, including adoption, neglect, abuse, divorce, paternity, custody and visitation, paternity, and more.

Marital unions

Under this category marital unions include civil and traditional marriage unions. It rarely includes formal pleadings. The reason is that this area of the progress of family life is less contentious. This means that not many couples at this stage are filing actions against each other. Some of the documents include:

  • Name change forms
  • Certificates of marriage
  • Prenuptial or premarital agreements

These documents may be called by other names in different jurisdictions but they all cover the same area. Some jurisdictions may also enable other types of actions under the category of martial unions but the general concepts as to what is handled by these forms, agreements, and certificates are common in all jurisdictions.

Marital termination

This category is where you will find most of the documents. These documents deal with marital terminations and include divorce, separation, and annulment. One of the parties will initiate a court action to sue for relief. These particular documents will mirror the types of pleadings that are filed. In addition to asking for termination of the marriage the documents can also include replies to the court action filed and any counterclaims. Some of the more common documents can include motions to restrain a spouse from deleting the marital assets, temporary alimony, and court costs. This category of family law documents include all the attachments and forms that are used to establish the marital estate as part of the proof that will be needed to reach an amicable and fair divorce settlement.

Parent-child relations

In this category are the actions that will do the following:

  • Appoint a legal guardian
  • Establish paternity
  • Deal with the issues of support, custody, and visitation
  • Removing a child from a home for cause

The petitions can also include motions to modify an order for child support, and motions for contempt for failure for either party to comply with any prior court orders.

As you can see there are many different documents that a family law attorney has to deal with so that is why many specialize in one particular area although some may practice in more than one area. To be sure which specialty volunteer to work for a family law firm.

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Can a Habitual Traffic Offender Seal Their Public Driving Records?

Becoming a habitual traffic violator doesn’t happen overnight. But it also doesn’t happen only to bad drivers. Those who drive often for work, whether all day commuting or long-distance travel, are often faced with time crunches, leading them to drive a little faster than they would if they were not limited by time restrictions and deadlines. Realtors, contractors, salesmen, and more are all common victims of speeding and seatbelt tickets because they are often traveling from one obligation to another.

So whether a product of vocational lack of time, or simply an unmindful driver, 10 traffic offenses in a period of 10 years, with 1 being a major violation (i.e. DUI, reckless driving, driving while suspended, etc.), will eventually suspend you of your driving privileges and mark you as an official habitual traffic violator for at least 5 years.

Sounds harsh, doesn’t it?

But it’s not so bad if you live in a state that allows record sealing and expungement. If you qualify to have your driving records sealed from the public, it can help you get your license back, that job you’ve applied for, that promotion you’ve been working toward, or obtain a professional license that was inaccessible before.

Qualifications vary from state to state, and not all states even offer the option, but the most influential factors are time and severity of offenses. Talk to a criminal record expungement lawyer to see if you are eligible for record sealing in your state. In the meantime, continue reading to learn more about habitual traffic violator driving records and personal privacy.

While Awaiting Eligibility

After you are convicted as a habitual traffic violator, you must remain one for at least 5 years; however, you can petition to get a probationary drivers’ license after only 3 years. In order to qualify for a probationary license, one must have:

  1. Never previously been granted a probationary license as a habitual traffic offender;
  2. Never been guilty of more than 3 unrelated major traffic offenses in one 10-year period;
  3. Never been guilty of a major traffic offense that resulted in bodily harm or death of another;
  4. Never been guilty of violating the habitual traffic offender probation guidelines.

In some cases where the offender is a person who operated a vehicle for the purpose of business, such as a traveling salesmen or delivery person, the waiting period may not apply since their poor driving record may be partly a result of their frequent commuting. It is important to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney to ensure you are receiving due justice in traffic court. 

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How Digital Technologies Improve Filmmaking

Breaking into the current film industry holds a greater challenge compared to classic filmmaking. The digital era has certainly catered to the universal passion of moviemakers for making motion pictures. Today, digital technology changed the way how movies are made. Digital filmmaking opened new opportunities and possibilities to filmmakers of both small indie films and big budget blockbuster films. This also includes the same way that copyright infringement software protects these films. Therefore, if you’re a filmmaker, whatever outcome or type of film you want to accomplish, you can play around using the latest technological advances.

Digital Vs. Traditional

In general, films are extremely flammable yet they are quite expensive. Directors have to look for major studios that could invest a big amount needed to produce a movie. As for digital filmmaking, the digital motion picture cameras may be expensive, but it is a significant investment.

Digital filmmaking is a type of filmmaking where you use digital cameras or a computer to create characters, environments and other extensive features. Digital storage has reduced and simplified the costs of making movies. Compared to films, storage in digital cameras cost less, lasts longer and is safer. Over a long period of time, films degrade and will actually decompose. Improper storage and protection may destroy the print of the film which ultimately results to losing classic movies forever.

The move from celluloid to digital has opened up huge opportunities for special effects resulting to the growth of fantasy movies and science fiction. Film characters are not limited to explore only our world. Now, filmmakers have the tools to visually depict imaginary worlds with digital technology. Movies feature computer generated imagery (CGI) while some combine both CGI and live action using revolutionary new motion-capture techniques. As a result, movie creations are more out of this world than ever.

As we’ve gone digital, the public’s movie experience has become a lot different. In the past, everyone was used to watching films without color. Each motion picture was black and white. But at present, anyone can enjoy a movie in full color with surround sound. They can even have a 3D experience if they choose to. The number of options given to every movie goer is just one of the things that prove that filmmaking has really improved.

Aside from the internet, the widespread use and application of digital technologies are shaping the future of film. At present, the way movies are consumed and distributed has also changed. People can stream or download the videos, and with video-on-demand services like Netflix, everyone can watch their favorite shows and movies whenever they like. Unfortunately, some people choose to share copyrighted materials without the owners’ permission, which is illegal. When you download a movie, you are stealing from the content owner’s compensation. So, content owners and their partners use copyright infringement software to detect any digital piracy.

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