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Copyright Ownership Is Contentious, So Here’s How To Avoid Disputes

Copyright is plagued with a lot of misconceptions and myths that lead to a lot of misgivings.

In a business world where outsourcing for content is more frequent than ever before, it can also lead to legal issues as to who exactly owns said content.

If a business hires an outside writer to create blog posts for their business, does the business own the copyright to that content, or does it still lay in the hands of the writer?

If they are a part of your internal staff and it is created during their employment as a part of their job, it is usually the employer who owns the copyright. If the content creator is an independent contractor (freelance or an outsourced business), they will usually retain the copyright unless there is something in writing that transfers copyright ownership to you.

If you have not made an agreement about how you may use the material, you would usually be entitled to use it for the purposes that it was commissioned for, but may not be entitled to use it for other purposes.

To avoid the legal kerfuffle that can follow an accusation or a misappropriation of IP usage, you should always discuss with the parties involved exactly what the copyright terms are.

Create A Contract Before Commencing

Make sure that IP ownership and the copyright is clearly defined before beginning a collaboration. A contract or written agreement can work in outlining the legal rights of the parties when it comes to this issue.

The contract should include:

  • confidentiality clauses/agreements
  • non-compete clauses in employee contracts (employees today may become competitors tomorrow).

A written agreement should clearly state who owns the IP rights to the material created by an employee or contractor will reduce unnecessary confusion and befuddlement.

The agreement should include:

  • whether, and when, transfer of ownership will take place
  • who has the right to exploit it
  • who is to pay for it
  • whether improvements or modifications are allowed.

Create a policy for Employees

Policies and regulations on IP for employees should contain provisions on:

  • the categories of inventions that fall in the field of the employer’s business
  • the employee’s obligation to notify the employer of inventions
  • the employer’s procedures for handling such notifications
  • confidentiality requirements and patent prosecution
  • remuneration for the inventor. 

Seek Professional Legal Advice

It is essential to get the right advice about IP and copyright before entering into any agreement with employees or contractors. Speaking with professional counsel about the matter will assist in allaying most concerns.

If you’re someone who often finds it difficult to make large lump sum payments for goods or services, you may want to consider looking into “Buy Now Pay Later” services.

Buy now pay later essentially means that, rather than paying in a full lump sum payment for a product or services rendered, there may be an option to pay through instalments of a certain amount over a set period to make the sum of the full amount in total. This method should allow you to pay in full for the product or service without overly straining your finances – you pay back what you can, as agreed upon when you begin the buy now pay later service.

Some popular buy now pay later services include Afterpay, Zip Pay, Brightepay, and some credit card networks such as  Mastercard and Visa, can offer buy now pay later arrangements.

Though it can be a convenient, immediate solution, it may be challenging to juggle the necessary repayments with other financial commitments. It’s not always the most appropriate method for people, and you should bear in mind your situation and ability in paying back the amounts. 

Before you sign up, keep in mind: 

  • It becomes easier to overspend with buy now pay later services, so know your limits on what you can and can’t afford.
  • You will be charged fees and costs to use the service, which can add up to a princely sum in and of itself.
  • Keeping track of your payments can be tricky if you’ve signed up for multiple services.
  • It could affect your loan applications for a car or mortgage as lenders consider buy now pay later spending just as much as your credit score.
  • Late repayments can appear on your credit report, which affects your ability to borrow money in the future.
  • Layby can be a cheaper alternative to buy now pay later, with no account-keeping or late fees to consider

If you are someone who could make use of BNPL services, you may wish to:

  • Ensure that when using the BNPL service, you stick to a set limit on what you spend so that you can comfortably pay it back later. 
  • Aim only to have one BNPL account at a time to manage payments through, rather than confuse yourself with multiple payments across different providers.
  • Always budget for bills, loan payments and BNPL payments, and 
  • Rather than use your credit card for payments to your BNPL account, consider linking to your debit account instead.

If you would like assistance in planning your financial future, help in managing your budget or some friendly advice, see us for a chat about what we can do for you.

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John Briggs

Jane Noller has been my accountant for the last 15 plus years. I can testify to Jane’s professionalism and expeditious manner in dealing with the day to day issues that surrounds our business accounting.

John Briggs

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