One surprising way your business could be breaking the law

As a business owner, you likely go to great lengths to avoid legal disputes and follow state and federal laws. You may have employment or independent contractor agreements with your workers, and partnership or joint venture agreements with your partners; if there are regulations with which you must comply, you might diligently review them and make any changes necessary to avoid fines and penalties.

However, you may not realize that you or your employees are doing something that could land you at the wrong end of a lawsuit claiming you are breaching copyright law.

A costly streaming misstep

As discussed in articles like this one from Forbes, businesses all across the U.S. are violating copyright laws by streaming music for commercial purposes without the appropriate license.

For instance, if you operate a business like a retail store, salon or coffee shop and have music playing to entertain your customers, you might be doing so with a service like Spotify, Apple Music or Pandora. And if you are like over 70 percent of business owners in the U.S., you might think that using a personal account to do this is okay.

However, streaming music for commercial purposes without securing a commercial license is a violation of copyright law.

Avoiding a lawsuit

To avoid a possible legal claim, businesses would be wise to secure a proper license to use a streaming music service for commercial purposes. These services are relatively inexpensive, and some even offer additional features that can appeal to businesses.

Is this really such a problem?

One survey reveals that playing music out loud without paying for a license to do so lawfully could be taking roughly $2.65 billion away from the artists, composers and musicians who create that music. This staggering number reveals just how big of a problem this really is.

And while many companies may not be concerned that they will face legal repercussions for streaming music without the proper license, it is a possibility. There are increasingly sophisticated tools that allow services to identify users who are likely misusing their licenses.

As such, making sure you're in compliance with licensing and copyright laws can help you and your customers get more enjoyment out of the music you play.

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