Vanna 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? 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 ›
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
In a previous blog post, we discussed the key highlights of the new Title III crowdfunding rules. In short, businesses are now permitted (subject to certain rules and restrictions) to use equity crowdfunding to offer and sell securities to non-accredited investors.
One of the key investor protections of Title III is that crowdfunding transactions must take place through an SEC-registered intermediary – either a funding portal or a registered broker-dealer. Broker-dealers are likely to be hesitant to serve as an intermediary in a Title III crowdfunding campaign. The reason is that broker-dealers are subject to extensive rules and regulations. Broker-dealers usually pass along their regulatory compliance costs to customers. However, Title III crowdfunding campaigns involve such small amounts (i.e., $1 million or less) that broker-dealers will likely find it unprofitable to serve the market. Read More ›
Employee or independent contractor? It’s a legal distinction that has significant implication for both workers and employers. Take ride-sharing service Uber, for example. It’s now defending a class action lawsuit filed by its drivers who claim they are misclassified as independent contractors. Should plaintiffs be successful, they may be entitled to damages including reimbursement for expenses they incur, such as gas and vehicle maintenance. Read More ›
Tech continues to test the elasticity of the law and use case precedent as its own disruptor. The Google Goliath, YouTube, is moving forward to pay several video content creators’ legal fees in copyright infringement disputes that use the defense of fair use.
A copyright is an expression of an original idea through words, music, pictures, computer programs, or any other method conveying ideas as works of authorship. The copyright is governed by federal law and is, unlike many of our laws, explicitly identified in the U.S. Constitution. A copyright gives authors the exclusive control of their works of authorship, including derivative rights. An author controls whether or not the copyright – work of authorship - may be used or displayed.
There is, currently, one minor exception: fair use. Read More ›
The long awaited SEC Title III crowdfunding final rules have arrived.
The new rules will open the equity crowdfunding gates to non-accredited investors. Non-accredited investors include individuals: (A) with a net worth less than $1 million, or (B) who have an annual gross income of less than $200,000 (or $300,000 together with their spouse). In other words, businesses will now be permitted to utilize crowdfunding to raise capital by selling their securities to “everyday folks.”
Below are some of the key highlights from the new rules. Read More ›
In an effort to improve the accountability of drone users, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced plans to require drone users to register their "unmanned aircraft systems." Additionally, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta announced the creation of a task force to finalize the details of the registration system, including which drones must be registered. The task force may create a streamlined process for commercial drone users and recommend additional rules by November 20, 2015. Read More ›
Categories: News & Events
There are four basic kinds of intellectual property that you can protect: trademarks, copyrights, patents and trade secrets. At the very early stages of starting a business you will want to protect your business name or brand through a trademark. Learn more about intellectual property basics and what you need to protect, in the Youtube video below.
Employers often seek to enter into a covenant not to compete with employees. In many cases, the covenant is the best way to protect the employer from future harm. Also, many purchase agreements include covenants not to compete. Learn about covenants not to compete in the video below.