It is very important when starting a new business that you gather all available information and stay current in your field by maintaining memberships in industry specific associations. The International Nanny Association is an extremely valuable resource, and it is your connection to the in-home child care industry.
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We have become aware of several recent incidents in the nanny agency community involving copyright infringement. Several agencies, some new, some in business for quite a while, have been charged with the use of materials developed and published by other agencies. Two of the more recent incidents were settled in accordance with copyright law when the offending agencies withdrew the expropriated documents and website format.
Copyrights are intended to protect all creative expressions that are not slogans, names, titles and short phrases (these items are covered by trademark law). A copyright comes into existence as soon as a creative work or idea takes a tangible form, such as the establishment of a website or the printing of a document.
Other examples of creative works that take on copyright status as soon as they are made public include the language and graphics on website pages, forms, questionnaires, guidelines, tips, advertising, catalogues, price lists and speeches. Many other forms of creative expression are similarly protected,
Since an agency’s documents are an expression of its philosophy and method of operation, and since an agency owner knows how his or her business operates better than anyone else, it makes good sense for an agency to create its own distinctive documents. Doing so will provide that agency with its own set of copyrights. If possible, the agency should enlist the help of an attorney or other expert consultant. That strategy will help avoid disputes and exposure to legal fees and damages for infringement, which could be a lot more expensive.
The copyright owners referred to above were very protective of their copyrights and aggressive in their responses. Our advice to those thinking about infringing upon another’s copyright is DON’T DO IT!!!