The working world is in the midst of an unprecedented experiment that could transform corporate cultures and operational methods on a far-reaching scale. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, telework has become the go-to solution for many businesses regardless of whether they had ever tried it before.
Working from home brings with it a whole new set of challenges: job coordination, team building, information sharing, and learning curves for new collaborative tools. In the short term, the goal is of course to implement new methods efficiently. Over the longer term, either because the stay-at-home orders are extended or because workers have grown to appreciate skipping the commute to their workplace, legal issues will come to the forefront.
Sharing information and documents through business channels
The first change when telework is implemented is that more content is shared on digital platforms. Since it’s more difficult to speak with co-workers from home and written communications can be time-consuming, people are more inclined to share articles, reports and videos to illustrate what they want to say. With the growing number of videoconferences comes more PowerPoint presentations containing excerpts from reference material, photos and infographics.
In addition, to lighten the atmosphere, team members may distribute a variety of fun content such as illustrations, cartoons or music.
Is it legal for your organization to use content like that?
Content sharing is a necessity for any organization. It’s true more than ever in a telework context. Your team needs to share information to be productive and ultimately to relieve some of the pressure.
However, you’re still required to comply with intellectual property legislation governing content sharing, especially the Copyright Act. Many of the reports, scientific articles, graphics and photos you’re using were created by individuals and organizations outside your job setting. Intellectual property rights, including copyright, apply to that content.
What does that mean? It means your co-workers are probably sharing content without permission from the copyright owners. As a result, the content creators are being deprived of their ownership rights and the income that could be generated. What’s more, your organization is leaving itself open to legal action for copyright infringement.
Why copyright is important
The high-quality content you share was created by talented people who spent many hours working on it. Those people are often authors, journalists, professors, photographers and graphic designers who earn a living by creating original works.
In general, the content is produced by publishing houses, media outlets and research chairs that employ many individuals.
For them, copyright compliance is essential. It’s what enables them to continue working!
The content may also have been created by organizations such as yours. Even though content creation is not their main activity, they decided to invest resources to produce those documents. It’s important to respect their work and their intellectual property.
Imagine that your team produced a 60-page report, investing 100 hours of work worth thousands of dollars. You then discover that your report has been used by various organizations without paying any compensation. They’re enjoying free access and benefitting from the hours you invested. Is that fair?
Using content responsibly and complying with copyright
All work deserves to be compensated. That’s true for your own efforts as well as the work done by others. When you share information and documents, it’s your duty to comply with the Copyright Act and show respect for the hard work done by your fellow citizens, especially during these difficult times when royalty payments can make such a difference.
Copyright collectives exist for that very purpose: to help you in this process and give you the opportunity to use millions of documents conveniently and legally. During this pandemic and at any other time, our team is ready to meet your needs and offer you a range of solutions tailored to how you work. Learn more about our solutions and don’t hesitate to contact our team of specialists!