Technology Law Blog

Copyright Basics: 3 Tips for Small Businesses Regarding Copyright

When it comes to copyrights, there are several common mistakes small businesses can make. If you are putting together marketing materials or a website and you download a photo online, often times that photo is protected by a copyright and is owned by someone else. This could lead to copyright infringement. Learn about a few other common copyright mistakes in the video below.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

Filming for TV Show Results in HIPAA Violation and $2.2 Million Settlement Paid by New York Presbyterian Hospital

HospitalIt’s not uncommon for “covered entities” such as hospitals and health systems to violate the Privacy Rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Protection Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”). A stolen laptop or misplaced file can expose information that should be protected. Rarely, however, does a violation arise from the filming of a television show. But that’s exactly what happened in the case of New York Presbyterian Hospital (“NYP”), which recently entered into a settlement with the Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) for $2.2 million. Read More ›

Categories: HIPAA, Hospitals, Privacy

Unpaid Internships Give Rise to Government Enforcement and Class Actions Against Employers

InternsThe misclassification of employees as independent contractors is a common and serious issue affecting employers and workers in the technology sector. We recently touched on the legal challenges facing “on demand” technology companies such as Uber and Lyft due to their classification of drivers as independent contractors.

But employee vs. independent contractor is not the only classification issue that technology companies and investors must grapple with. As reported by the Wall Street Journal, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Fenox Venture Capital, recently agreed to pay $331,269 in back wages after the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) found the company misclassified 56 workers as unpaid interns. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, Startup

Seven Social Media Principles to Live By

How do you get the most out of your social media content? Attorney John Mashni will discuss seven social media principles to live by in his presentation for the State Bar of Michigan Paralegal Section titled "The Marketing Lifestyle." The seven principles include: Read More ›

Categories: Social Media

Uber Pays $100 Million to Settle “Employee or Independent Contractor?” Class Action Case

Taxi NavigationIn January we updated you on the numerous legal battles Uber was fighting across the country related to its classification of its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees. Uber, the on-demand car service, recently put one of those battles behind it by settling a class action lawsuit covering 385,000 drivers in California and Massachusetts for $100 million.

Under the terms of the settlement Uber will continue to be able to classify its drivers as contractors. The company also made concessions allowing drivers to receive tips, and to form an association - although not a union - to discuss grievances with the company. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events

What is a Trademark?

What is a trademark? A trademark is the identity that you have in the marketplace specifically associated with your goods or services. Any name, phrase, identity, symbol or logo your company uses in conjunction with selling your goods and services is a trademark. There are two types of trademarks. Learn more in the short video below.


Categories: Intellectual Property, Trademarks

Intellectual Property: Copyrights

Business owners need to understand copyrights. The video below continues Foster Swift's Legal Basics for Business Video Series by explaining the basics of copyrights. Learn more about copyrights and how they are important to your business in this short video clip.

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property

What Vanna White, Albert Einstein, and Johnny Carson Have in Common: The Right of Publicity

On Camera - What are your Personal Publicity RightsVanna White successfully sued Samsung for placing a dressed up, metallic robot next to a Wheel of Fortune style letter board. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem sued General Motors based on an advertisement picturing Albert Einstein’s head connected to a shirtless, muscular body with baggy jeans and white briefs. A former starting quarterback for Rutgers University sued EA Sports over his characterization and depiction in a famous video game. Johnny Carson sued a portable toilet maker for using the phrase, “Here’s Johnny.”

What do all of these lawsuits have in common? The cause of action for each of the above disputes revolved around what is known as a “right of publicity.” The right of publicity refers to the right that an individual has to exploit the economic value of that person’s name, likeness, image, signature, performance, and other aspects of personality.  Read More ›

Categories: Personal Publicity Rights

Employee or Independent Contractor? Uber Wages Battles to Answer Critical Question for On-Demand Economy Companies and Their Workers

Employee or independent contractor? It’s a question many businesses grapple with, and the answer has significant legal and financial implications. Employee vs. independent contractor classification is becoming an increasingly important issue for many “on demand” technology companies such as Uber doing business in the fast growing “gig” or “sharing” economy.

Uber has been involved in a number of legal battles being waged over its practice of classifying its drivers as independent contractors, rather than employees. California has been a hotspot for litigation.  Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events

Help Drone Pilots Stay on the FAA's Nice List this Holiday Season

One of this year's hottest gifts now comes with a registration requirement according to newly-released Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

 On December 14, 2015 the FAA announced that drone owners must register with the FAA before their drone's first outdoor flight. The registration requirement applies to drones that weigh between 0.55 and 55 pounds. Noncommercial users may register through a new web-based system while commercial users must submit a paper application at this time. The $5 registration fee will be waived between December 21, 2015 and January 20, 2016, and all drones must be registered by February 19, 2016. The FAA will provide users with identification numbers which must be marked on any drones that a registered user flies.  Read More ›

Categories: News & Events