Discuss the impacts and applications of intellectual property and copyright in business situations, differentiating between commercial and personal use.

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Apply relevant aspects of law to current business situations

 

Scenario

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AW Photography

You are a new attorney, and your client, Amy Watson, is looking for legal recommendations to support her in understanding her rights and responsibilities as a photographer and as a business owner.

She would like to use her photographs on her website to showcase her work, but she feels nervous about potentially violating copyright and intellectual property laws. She also wants to make sure she does not violate employee rights if there is an employee who does not want their photograph online. When Amy comes into your office, she brings a copy of her contract with Firm X that was drafted by another attorney she had been working with previously. Below is an excerpt from Amy’s contract with Firm X.

COPYRIGHT AGREEMENT

The photographs produced by AW Photography are protected by federal copyright law (all rights reserved). If the client purchased an image DVD, the DVD purchase entitles the client to use the photographs on social media and websites as long as the images remain unaltered and textual credit is explicitly given to AW Photography. AW Photography maintains the right to its photographs, the company website, and social media sites to promote its business.

REPRODUCTION

The photographs taken are individual property of AW Photography. Photographs may not be reproduced in any form, or sold without prior explicit written permission from AW Photography.

Future Considerations

Currently, Amy operates her business as a sole proprietorship. She is the owner and has no employees. However, due to the growth of her business, her vision for the future includes potentially hiring someone to help manage day-to-day operations including scheduling, website maintenance, keeping of financial information, and oversight of potential future employees. In addition, she would like to hire two or three photographers so that she can book more photography sessions. Before she moves forward with her growth strategy, she is wondering if her new manager should actually be a business partner, and if her business should operate as a partnership instead of a sole proprietorship.

Amy would like your legal support with business applications as she considers moving her company forward. She travels widely for her business and has recognized a market demand for reasonably priced portrait and event photography. She is typically booked over a year in advance. She believes that there is a good business opportunity to either partner with other photography businesses or open other studios and hire studio managers to run those.

 

Directions

· Legal Contracts: Amy asked that you explain the elements of the legal contract.

· Describe basic elements that should be included in the contract for informing involved parties about legal issues and expectations.

· Explain the purpose of the contract for informing involved parties about legal issues and expectations. Include the following in your response:

· Does the current contract allow public use of the photographs? For example, could Amy post the photographs on her website for promotional purposes? Explain elements of the contract and describe their legal implications.

· Intellectual Property and Copyright: Amy would like you to explain what she, as a commercial photographer, needs to know about intellectual property and copyright law.

· Discuss the impacts and applications of intellectual property and copyright in business situations, differentiating between commercial and personal use.

· Describe how Amy may legally use the photographs taken for Firm X. For example, may she use them for commercial and personal use, such as on social media?

· Describe how Firm X may legally use the photographs that Amy took. For example, may it use them for commercial use? And may employees use them for personal use, such as on social media?

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