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Thread: You and the law

  1. #1

    Default You and the law

    I find it more an more amazing that people these days buy a camera or video camera and after a month think they are David Baily.

    Ok, I know, we all had/have to start somewhere, but why do the most important things get overlooked, like "legal requirements".

    I am sure many will expand on this topic but remember when you start to do anything for "income", even if not for income, if it is seen as work of any kind, or classed as "work" you have a LEGAL obligation to

    1. Inform your car insurance company that you are using your vehile for business purposes
    2. Only a fool would not have public liability insurance (of course) you could always lose all you have, house/car, when sued), and for what 90 a year
    3. The law is and will clamp down on drone use, I have passed my 2,500 flight training and qualifications have you
    4. Trading name and licence, get one
    5. Register with HMRC even if you don't make a living

    Don't place signs on your car or modify it in any way without checking the law, insurance, even fitting a tow bar to some insurance companies, yes a tow bar, is a modification.........
    Last edited by JR1; 03-28-2016 at 10:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    I'm not disagreeing, JR1, but i'm intrigued as to what prompted you to post the above???

    As for
    Quote Originally Posted by JR1 View Post
    4. Trading name and licence, get one
    That's a new one on my. I've been a sole trader for 20 years (nothing to do with film/video) and have never heard of a requirement for a trading license. I was also advised (by a solicitor) that it didn't matter what name I was trading under (unless obviously posing as someone else) so long as my invoices gave my name and address as proprietor.

    Of course that was more than 20 years ago so things may have changed. Please advise.

  3. #3


    One example, a "trading name" is important, very, eg JRS Photography,

    Sole traders

    The easiest way to start a business in the UK is to become a ‘sole trader’. This means that only you own the business and you can work alone or employ other people.You will need to register for ‘self-assessment’ tax, which means you (or your accountant) calculate your own tax.How to do it

    To become a sole trader you must:

  4. #4


    For trading licences it depends on your chosen "trade"

    And as you will kno0w as a sole trader you need a trading name..... HMRC

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by JR1 View Post
    And as you will kno0w as a sole trader you need a trading name..... HMRC
    HMRC don't care if you don't have a trading name (as explained in the link you provided). What they're interested in is getting tax revenues and they can't do that if you're not registered.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    A Trading Name is useful if you're running a business but it's not essential. It's certainly not a "legal obligation".

    So yes, register with HMRC but you are under no obligation to have a "trading name".


    On this forum we may seem a bit pedantic about legal stuff but we pride ourselves on being accurate. We're not having a "pop" at you but trying to avoid internet rumours and urban myths starting, especially about the law.

    So, I agree that only a fool would have a business involving contact with the public and yet not have proper insurance, but it's not a "legal obligation".
    In the same way, it may be wise to inform HMRC that you are trying to earn money from videography, but it's not a "legal obligation" unless you are claiming or earning. HMRC understand that people often "give it a go" and do work for nothing, or to gain experience before informing HMRC that their hobby is now up and running as a business.
    HMRC are actually not the ogres which a lot of people assume. I've had loads of dealings with them and they are actually very helpful and will advise you over the 'phone.

    There is nothing to stop you from putting out leaflets, making a website, contacting local businesses and generally trying to get a videography business off the ground without any form of "licence" (you don't need any form of licence, registration or permission to be a videographer or a photographer).
    Anyone can call themselves a "Videographer", "Photographer" or suchlike, without having any formal qualifications, completed an apprenticeship or done anything apart from bought a camera and had cards printed.
    In fact since every first term student nowadays calls themselves "Director of Photography" as soon as they have a video on youtube, I advise people to avoid anyone under 60 who calls themseves a "DoP" like an ebola carrier!

    The bit about car insurance is the only bit which is, strictly speaking, a legal obligation.

    So yes, it is annoying that unqualified individuals can start a video business. That they can mess up weddings, corporate events and generally give all videographers a bad name. It's not actually "illegal".
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 03-29-2016 at 12:29 PM.

  7. #7


    I agree that a lot of people overlook these basic things. Petty use of your camera for money is fine, at least in my opinion. But, if you see your camera as a side job, then it's important to take the time to make sure you are obeying the law!


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