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Hi All - I have been an aspiring pet photographer for some time now and have noticed that someone else has the same business name Valérie Martin Photography (which is my full name). The only difference is I put an accent on the "e" in my name since I am French. I am wondering if I would down the line run into any legal issues?

This is my website: Ottawa Pet Photographer │Valérie Martin Photography

This is hers: http://www.valerie-martin-photography.com/

Thanks!
Valérie
 

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I am wondering if I would down the line run into any legal issues?
Difficult to say since I practice law only on the internet. :icon_jokercolor:

Have you done anything to register your business name and protect your images? Have you conferred with a real lawyer about setting up your business? Are you required to be licensed in your community? Do you regularly file your tax returns?

All of the usual regulations in effect will have your name, address, tax I.D., and possibly other differentiating identification linked to only you, so the fact that you both have the same name will not (in my opinion) create a problem.

This legal advice is worth every penny you paid for it. :)
 

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Let's put it this way: My registered business name is, "John's Photography". Toss that at Mr. Google and see what returns. In most countries, unless a business has a "unique" name, such as "Xerox" which can be trade-marked, they have no claim on exclusivity, further, businesses named based on one or more of the principles can have no claim against each other (You could have five different legal firms all named, "Smith, Smith & Smith" on the same street).
 
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I am wondering if I would down the line run into any legal issues?
Difficult to say since I practice law only on the internet. :icon_jokercolor:

Have you done anything to register your business name and protect your images? Have you conferred with a real lawyer about setting up your business? Are you required to be licensed in your community? Do you regularly file your tax returns?

All of the usual regulations in effect will have your name, address, tax I.D., and possibly other differentiating identification linked to only you, so the fact that you both have the same name will not (in my opinion) create a problem.

This legal advice is worth every penny you paid for it. :)

I have not registered by business name. It started off as a hobby and is becoming a part-time job now. I do not plan on doing this full-time. Since I make less than a certain amount of money I thought I didn't have to register my business or declare anything on my taxes (I am in Canada). I protect my images with a watermark, should I be doing something else? I am still quite new to this, I really appreciate your advice!
 

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I know nothing of Canadian tax law, but here in the U.S., we are required to declare all income, whether from a small part-time business or larger. We also are allowed to deduct business expenses which lowers our tax liability.

A watermark is no guarantee that your images are fully protected against copyright infringement.

My (free) advice is for you to go talk to a lawyer about your business. Yes, you will have to pay something, but in my opinion it will be money well spent.
 

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I have not registered by business name. It started off as a hobby and is becoming a part-time job now. I do not plan on doing this full-time. Since I make less than a certain amount of money I thought I didn't have to register my business or declare anything on my taxes (I am in Canada). I protect my images with a watermark, should I be doing something else? I am still quite new to this, I really appreciate your advice!
What you should do is find out what, if any permits or licenses are required. I have no idea about Ontario legislation, but in BC, almost every municipality requires you to purchase a business license if you want to run ANY sort of business or trade (other than garage sales). As far as reporting goes, Revenue Canada requires that you report all income, but it can be done on the "miscellaneous extra income" line of your tax return. What you don't have to do is collect/remit sales tax if your gross income is below 'X' dollars (refer to provincial legislation for exact figures), but you should keep very detailed records so that you can, if required demonstrate that your business income was below the limit.

As for registering a business name, that again is provincial, so I can't speak for Ontario. In BC, the whole process costs less than $100 (filing fees) and means that a business is "legitimate", in other words, if things did take off, you would already have the foundation in place to apply for your GST/PST/HST number, etc.

The single most important thing you need to do if you are taking money for services (and even if your only working on the barter system) is have insurance. The minute someone pays you ANYTHING for your work, they will assume you're a business (regardless of WHAT they may say to you), and if they trip over a light stand and chip a tooth....
 
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I know nothing of Canadian tax law, but here in the U.S., we are required to declare all income, whether from a small part-time business or larger. We also are allowed to deduct business expenses which lowers our tax liability.

A watermark is no guarantee that your images are fully protected against copyright infringement.

My (free) advice is for you to go talk to a lawyer about your business. Yes, you will have to pay something, but in my opinion it will be money well spent.

Good idea. I have a friend who is a Lawyer I will ask her to help and/or recommend someone to me.
 
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I have not registered by business name. It started off as a hobby and is becoming a part-time job now. I do not plan on doing this full-time. Since I make less than a certain amount of money I thought I didn't have to register my business or declare anything on my taxes (I am in Canada). I protect my images with a watermark, should I be doing something else? I am still quite new to this, I really appreciate your advice!
What you should do is find out what, if any permits or licenses are required. I have no idea about Ontario legislation, but in BC, almost every municipality requires you to purchase a business license if you want to run ANY sort of business or trade (other than garage sales). As far as reporting goes, Revenue Canada requires that you report all income, but it can be done on the "miscellaneous extra income" line of your tax return. What you don't have to do is collect/remit sales tax if your gross income is below 'X' dollars (refer to provincial legislation for exact figures), but you should keep very detailed records so that you can, if required demonstrate that your business income was below the limit.

As for registering a business name, that again is provincial, so I can't speak for Ontario. In BC, the whole process costs less than $100 (filing fees) and means that a business is "legitimate", in other words, if things did take off, you would already have the foundation in place to apply for your GST/PST/HST number, etc.

The single most important thing you need to do if you are taking money for services (and even if your only working on the barter system) is have insurance. The minute someone pays you ANYTHING for your work, they will assume you're a business (regardless of WHAT they may say to you), and if they trip over a light stand and chip a tooth....

I am trying to find this information online and it's very confusing. I will ask my friend who is a lawyer if she can help or refer me to someone. I was also able to get a referral to an insurance company for businesses through my current home/car insurance. I will give them a call. I am using a program online to generate receipts it's called "wave", is that sufficient?
 

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..I am using a program online to generate receipts it's called "wave", is that sufficient?
I'm not an accountant, and only play one on the Internet! ;) Seriously, talk to someone who can answer with expertise for your municipality/province.
 

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When you go talk to your lawyer, take along a sample receipt and any other business-related items for an evaluation. Don't forget to ask the lawyer to prepare a preliminary contract and model release.
 

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The only time you can get into issues, well there are many such as:

You are using a name that is the same as some trademarked name for that "region". And you may have some type of similar product. "Region", being some contracted stipulation to hold the rights for that name which includes the region you are operating. but generally in photography that's not an issue (except for the last example).

Also, say you are in the US
If you operate without a county tax id then you may have the same name as someone down the road, who also may not have a county tax id. Thus people would confuse the two of you. Of which the person with the name first could, maybe coax you to change names (but it's hard without that tax id).

If you have went to the county and got a DBA (Doing Business As) to operate under that assumed name, then the person with the DBA has rights over you using that name for that particular business category.

If you went to the state and got a Corp, Incorporation, LLC etc, then that organization has the rights over that name in the state for that particular business category.

if you are a National or International organization you will try to protect that name in the regions you operate. But sometimes you have to use an alternate name. Such as the reason Apple's Watch is not called an iWatch (owned by an Irish software development studio) and even though a different market entirely Apple decided to stay away from a potential lawsuit.

If, say, your last name is Sears and you advertise as "Sears Portrait Studio", you can expect a legal recommendation to change your name from the Sears company which wants it's name, solely to represent itself. Sears could easily show that you could get business by operating with a name that confuses a potential client into thinking they are receiving the quality of "Sears" versus you, irrelevant if your quality is higher. Just "operating as" you would lose probably irregardless if they even operate in your area.

So in the end it really depends how a organizations "name" is being protected and the region it may or may not be protected.

You have to do a state name search, county name search and stuff like that to make sure your name is not being used within the state. Then do other searches to find similar names to hopefully not breach those too .. if you really wanted to be safe.

I'm not a lawyer. I only think about this stuff while making poptarts & toaster strudels in the morning ... so take the information accordingly.
 
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