Master Class - A Legal Recap
It was the launch of a series of scheduled master classes by The Industry, a new feature to its annual progamme since its recent re-brand. The V&A Reading Rooms provided a relaxed environment while the presentation by Tahir Basheer, longtime member of The Industry, and his colleague Daniela Cohen from Sheridans law firm was inspirational and informative.
The audience was as diverse as it could possibly be, reflective of The Industry's ethos and mission to represent a real cross section of Britain's fashion industry. Corrie Nielsen, an award-winning fashion designer whose garments have recently been worn by Kelly Rowland on the X Factor; Dynasty occassionwear founder and managing director, Bhavin Shah, Reemé Idris, stylist and fashion journalist for The Collective, Derek Haughton, director of Iconic who supplies accessories to the High Street, photographers Vanessa Warren and Sam Atkinson, editors Hannah White and Sabina Emrit of Fashion Monitor and ACCESS-FASHION respectively and Lupe Castro stylist and champion of environmental practices in the fashion industry and many more.
Tahir, opened the Master Class touching on crucial issues such as copyrights and distinguishing between registered and unregistered. Tahir advised the group to keep a timeline of their ideas and aspirations particularly those that have been shared with a wider audience. Understanding that registered copyrights may easily be restricted by the allocated budget initially injected by the respective creators, a detailed and chronological documentation of ideas, creations and aspirations will protect to an extent all initial plans. Tahir also distinguished between UK and EU copyright laws advising all The Industry members that the EU copyright law protects ideas far more than that of the UK's. The same goes for design rights though these on the whole are far more complicated to prove their origins, uniqueness and originality.
Tahir advised that the registration of copyrights is something that should feature and be taken into account in all 5-year business plans.
Following Tahir's presentation Daniela embarked on the complications of employment law. Daniela touched on pressing issues such as employment confidentiality particularly concerning freelance contracts. In addition to this the growing practice of hiring interns. Though internships are a popular alternative particularly in the current financial climate, maintaining a casual relationship is a must especially when full time employment is not a prospect for the intern. Again, confidentiality clauses are mandatory even in the established casual relationship between the two parties. Daniela warned against any additional company perks being handed out to interns - as this may give the impression of prospective full-time employment.
In the case of freelance contracts the issue of paid holidays came up. Daniela warned members, many of whom are company proprietors, that holiday entitlement is mandatory, but the right is to paid leave rather than payment in lieu. Payment in lieu of holiday entitlement should only ever be an issue on termination.
The presentation from Sheridans law firm was an overview of many of the issues that creatives need to have in mind from the get go. Upon leaving, all present were offered legal advice outside of the Master Class with Daniela and Tahir sharing their contact details and extending future assistance and advice. On the whole, as a member of The Industry and as the proprietor of my own company The Industry's first Master Class left me itching for more information while at the same time more aware of the legislature involved that will undoubtedly guarantee a more sustainable growth and progress of my business.
By Penelope Sacorafou, Press Director of The Industry and Managing Director of Fox & Squirrel
Images by Rupsi Gill for The Industry