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General Advice

Business advice on everything from fire safety regulations to basic copyright matters.

Grey Fleet Management

Organisations that allow their employees to drive their own vehicles on business are walking a health and safety tightrope. Too many SMEs believe that if they allow staff to drive privately-owned cars or vans on work-related journeys then health and safety and duty of care regulations can be ignored. Wrong! Legally, any vehicle driven on company business – no matter who owns it – responsibility rests with the employer. Employee-owned vehicles driven on business are known as the ‘grey fleet’ – but the law is very black and white over where responsbility for the vehicle and driver lies in terms of occupational road risk management. Therefore, it is incumbent on all employers to have in place a robust ‘grey fleet’ management policy that will satisfy l... »

Ten Years On – Looking in the Rearview Mirror

John Sollars, founder & MD of printer ink retailer, Stinkyink.com I was 47 when I started Stinkyink.com, and now, 10 years on, seeing all those fresh-faced University graduates and twenty-somethings that seem to dominate the start-up scene these days I feel very old. The upside of working for 40 years is that the experience and lessons I’ve gained have contributed immensely to the stability and longevity of my present business, making it what I call a sustainable company which is efficient, profitable and where everyone enjoys coming to work. Here’s a few thoughts on what I have found important. Lesson 1 – Understand the basics It feels like a long time ago, but in a previous life I ran other businesses which weren’t as successful as Stinkyink is now, and in con... »

Renting Vehicles Delivers Business Transport Flexibility

Flexibility is key in business and never more so than when the future is shrouded in uncertainty. In terms of transport, short-term vehicle hire, historically known as daily rental but today extending to weeks and months if required, is viewed as providing the flexibility required by many businesses in what continues to be an uncertain trading environment. Simultaneously, companies remain in full control of their operations and with a fleet profile that can be quickly changed to meet changing demand. Short-term vehicle hire also delivers a number of other significant advantages including: Financial advantages Environmental benefits Helping businesses comply with their occupational road risk management responsibilities. Even if companies can access bank credit to buy new vehicles, the quest... »

Company Car Tax Bills to Rise, but Careful Model Selection Can Limit Impact

Tax bills for drivers of low emission company cars are set to increase by up to 50% from April 6, 2012 as a result of the Government’s radical restructuring of the benefit-in-kind regime. The changes, which chiefly impact on drivers of cars with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 100-120 g/km, also mean that employers will see Class 1A National Insurance costs increase. Although the measures, which effectively marks the end of the so-called QUALEC (Qualifying Low Emission Car) category in the well-established emissions-based company car benefit-in-kind tax system, were announced in the 2010 Budget and confirmed by the coalition Government in last year’s Budget, many employers and employees remain unaware of the increases. Steve Whitmarsh, managing director of specialist SME fleet management... »

Business Names

1. What is a Business Name? A “business name” is any name under which someone carries on business other than their own. In the case of a company or limited liability partnership, it means a name that is not its registered name. In the case of a sole trader, it means a name other than a surname with or without forenames or initials. In the case of a partnership, it means a name other than the partners’ names. 2. Which provisions of the Companies Act 2006 apply to my business name? Business names are not registered under the Companies Act but some of the rules included in the Act do apply, principally: restrictions on the use of certain words in the name and names that could imply a connection with a government department or public body Inappropriate and misleading use of a name ending, e.g.... »

Choosing a Company Name

This business advice article provides information about the restrictions, controls and requirements for approval of certain words and expressions when used in a company name. It includes guidance on name endings and company type; same as names; names that imply a connection with any part of government; punctuation and permitted characters; and sensitive words and expressions. Before choosing a company name you should use Companies House WebCHeck service to ensure your chosen name is not the ‘same as’ an existing name on the index of company names. You should also check the Trade Marks Register of the UK Intellectual Property Office to ensure that the proposed name does not infringe an existing trade mark. You can also seek advice from the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys. Can I choose any... »

Exploiting Copyright and Using Copyright

If a person or organisation wishes to use a copyright work in a way which will infringe the exclusive rights of that owner and no exception applies, they cannot do so without the permission of the copyright owner. The way in which permission can be granted varies (see If you have copyright, what can you do with it?). The copyright owner may refuse to give permission for use of their work. It is important to remember that buying or owning the original or a copy of the physical form of the copyright work does not necessarily give you permission to use it however you wish. For example, buying a copy of a book, CD, computer program and so on, does not necessarily give you the right to make extra copies (even for private use) or to play or show them in public. Some minor uses may fall within th... »

What is Copyright?

Copyright rewards the making of, and investment in, creative works while also recognising the need for use to be made of those works. In the UK, the works covered by copyright are: literary (e.g. song lyrics and computer programs); dramatic (e.g. dance and mime); musical (e.g. music composition); and artistic (e.g. painting and sculpture) works. Broadcasts, sound recordings (e.g. the recording on the CD or MP3), films and typographical arrangements of published editions (e.g. the layout of a book) are also granted copyright protection. If certain criteria are met (see What is protected by copyright?), copyright gives the creator (‘the author’) of the work exclusive rights over certain uses of those works. For example, the author of a work has the exclusive right to allow or pre... »

Copyright Contacts

Identified below are some of the main organisations who have an interest in copyright and may be useful if you are a creator, copyright owner or a user of copyright protected works. You may want to involve others to help exploit, develop or market your copyright. We do not give direct advice on this, but help is available from a number of organisations. These contacts are provided for your convenience. Inclusion here does not imply any warranty by the Government for the reliability, quality or effectiveness of any products or services provided by these organisations, or any endorsement of the views, information or products. This list of useful contacts is not intended to be exhaustive but can help identify some organisations that may be able to offer more assistance. Copyright Advisory Bod... »

Copyright Related Rights and Licensing

Internationally, related rights are covered by the WIPO Rome convention. Related rights are the rights of broadcasters, producers of sound recordings and some performers. In the UK, broadcasters and producers of sound recordings are granted copyright in their broadcasting and sound recordings, respectively. In the UK performers’ rights are considered to be a separate category to copyright. Performers’ Rights In the UK performers have property rights (e.g. right to make copy of recordings of their performance) non-property rights (e.g. right authorise the recording of their live performance and rights to remuneration) and right of remuneration (e.g. when a sound recording is played in public, the performer in the sound recording has the right to claim equitable remuneration from... »

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