Dear Sun Spots: The Program for Grieving Children and Teens will start its winter session Jan. 9 at St. Phillips Church in Auburn. The session will run for 10 consecutive Tuesdays from 7 to 8 p.m. We offer peer-to-peer support groups for families who have suffered the loss of a loved one. These groups are provided to the public free of charge. Preregistration is required, so phone before Jan. 2, if possible. Contact Jake at Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice 777-7740, ext. 1302, for more information. – No Name, No Town.

Dear Sun Spots: Although I am only an occasional Sun Spots reader, this might be the perfect forum for my search.

I have a rather extensive “old English village” Christmas set of porcelain. My particular set was “Ye Olde Village” bought at the Ames stores. I’ve been unable to locate a seller since its closure. I am willing to buy pieces or sets at a fair price. Please, only new condition pieces. You may phone or e-mail me at 897-2642, [email protected] Thank you for this forum. – Mike Castonguay, Livermore Falls.

Answer:
In addition to responses from readers, Sun Spots located some items online at http://the-doll-shoppe.com/christmas_village.htm. The site notes that the lighted hand painted porcelain village buildings and accessories were Limited Edition collectibles carried by the Ames Department Store. The closing of the Ames stores has made finding these collectibles difficult. The buildings and accessories offered below were purchased at an estate sale. All are in mint condition and come with the original box and light, unless noted. Check out the Web site for more details. There were also several references to eBay which you might also consider checking out.

Dear Sun Spots: A close friend would like to know about getting a patent on a few songs he wrote. He’d also like to know the cost. – No Name, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots believes you are in fact referring to copyright and not a patent in this particular case. Copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phone records of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

The copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevent others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. To register a work, submit a completed application form, a nonrefundable filing fee of $45, and a non-returnable copy or copies of the work to be registered. Registration forms may also be downloaded from www.copyright.gov. However, you may also get forms from the Copyright Office in person, by mailing in a request, or by calling the 24-hour-a-day forms hot line at 202-707-9100. They may be reached at U.S. Copyright Office, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. Washington, D.C. 20559-6000, 202-707-3000. You should note there is a mail disruption and check the site for details on this.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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