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Copyright Laws and your Business – are you on the Right Side?

How often do you think of copyright laws when you are running your business? Unless you are in a business that deals with intellectual properties, your answer is probably “not very often.” Whether you know it or not, someone might be taking advantage of your copyright – or somehow you may be infringing on another person’s copyright.

A lot of businesses celebrate staff birthday parties at their office space for lease Toronto on a regular basis because it is fun and boosts morale, but could you be doing something illegal? Well, maybe not illegal, but something that happens at most birthday parties may have legal implications. Can you guess? Here is a hint: what is often sung at these occasions? Yep, you got it, the “Happy Birthday” song!

Who would have guessed that it was copyrighted and that you need permission to perform it in a public place or a place that conducts business?  It seems this famous song was first published in 1893 as “Good Morning to All,” and was written by sisters Patty and Mildred Hill. People began singing the words as “Happy Birthday to You.” The song “Happy Birthday To You” was not registered for copyright until 1935, when  Chicago-based music publisher Summy Company, working with Jessica Hill, published and copyrighted “Happy Birthday.” Under current laws, the copyright protection of “Happy Birthday” will remain intact until at least 2030.

Does this mean that everyone who sings “Happy Birthday to You” to family members at birthday parties is engaging in copyright infringement if they fail to obtain permission from, or pay royalties to, the song’s publisher? No, because royalties are due for public performance, defined by copyright law as performances which occur “at a place open to the public.” Performing a copyrighted work in a public setting such as an office space Toronto, restaurant or a sports arena, technically requires a license. But you don’t need to look over you shoulder every time you sing “Happy Birthday” in your office for rent Toronto because such infringements are rarely prosecuted.

On a more serious note (no musical pun intended), there are a number of other ways that you, or an employee of your business, may be putting it at risk when it comes to the material used by your company. Most business have become online “publishers” by creating websites, blogs and social media to promote your product, service or offering. So when you start publishing online, you must comply with intellectual property (IP) laws, so as not to infringe on other people’s copyrights.

One of the most common ways you could be infringing on copyright is by posting graphics that you did not create, but just found on the Internet. Everyone wants to put images on their website and blog, but getting the right image can be hard to acquire. The easiest way is to take it from another website or google images…wrong! Taking someone else’s photo and putting it on your website, blog, Facebook page, Google Plus page, LinkedIn page or any other social account you have control of, is copyright infringement.

Over the next few blogs, we will be talking about how to make sure that your business is not in danger of a lawsuit because of copyright infringements. We will also be discussing how you can protect your copyrighted material that you created and posted on your website and blog. We will also discuss the software that may be in use at your executive suites Toronto or even your virtual office Toronto. Making sure that the software you purchase is legally licensed is another key element in protecting your business.

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