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Cyber-Security: It's Not If, It's When

We are all at risk for a cybersecurity breach. Speakers from Michigan State University, ASK and Foster Swift will help you determine the legal and technical processes you need to have in place. Learn more in this short video. Read More ›

Categories: Cybersecurity, News

Common Legal Mistakes of Start-Ups

Business startups often make legal mistakes .The list below highlights some of the frequent legal mistakes made by start-ups. Blunders and mistakes are certainly a part of life and starting a business. But, we hope that the advice below will help you avoid a few. Read More ›

Categories: Startup

Big Hollywood Studios Win Injunction Against Streamer VidAngel in Copyright Infringement Case

A big legal battle has been breVidAngel Logowing between upstart video streamer VidAngel and Hollywood heavyweights Disney, Warner Bros., and 20th Century Fox. So far, the studios have scored a clean knockdown, if not a knockout.

VidAngel describes itself as a family-friendly video streamer that allows users the ability to filter language, nudity and violence from movies and TV shows. Its business model involves selling new movies to customers for $20, allowing customers to select which snippets of content to edit out, and then buying movies back for $19. The price VidAngel will pay to buy back the content diminishes by a dollar for each day the buyer keeps it. In other words, VidAngel does not license the movies from the studios who hold the copyrights to the content like, for example, Netflix does.

The big studios took notice, and in June filed suit, alleging that VidAngel was operating as an “unlicensed [video on demand] streaming service.” Among other claims, the studios requested that the court grant an injunction blocking VidAngel from continuing to stream films. VidAngel fired back with counterclaims alleging antitrust violations by the studios. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, Technology

Border Searches May Compromise the Privacy and Security of Company Technology

International FlightRecently, international travelers have noticed US Customs and Border Protection agents with increased interest in searching cell phones, laptops, and other portable technology. Employers should be aware that this trend increases the risk that an unauthorized individual will access sensitive company information, which could result in an inadvertent data breach.

Some international travelers have been asked by border agents to unlock cell phones or provide a password needed to unlock the device. One report included a customs agent threatening to seize a travelers' phone if he did not unlock his cellphone. Employers are rightfully concerned that these searches may allow unauthorized individuals to access sensitive company information. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News, Privacy

Fiduciary Rule update: the beginning of the end?

Shortly after our first article on the DOL Fiduciary Rule the White House issued an Executive Order that requires the Department of Labor (the "DOL") to revisit the Fiduciary Rule (the "Fiduciary Rule" or the "Rule") and the Prohibited Transaction Exemptions (the "PTEs") that were amended alongside it. President Trump's Executive Order requires the DOL to determine if the rule will adversely affect retirement investors or financial firms. If the answer is yes, the expectation is that the Fiduciary Rule and the related PTEs will not survive as currently written, and the DOL will rescind or revise the Rule. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News

5 Tips for Investigating and Purchasing Cyber Insurance

In 2016 Lansing, MI's Board of Water and Light fell victim to a cyber-attack that resulted in $2.4 million in costs, including a $25,000 ransom paid to the perpetrators. In the aftermath of the breach, BWL announced that it was filing for a $1.9 million insurance claim under its cyber insurance policy, including $2 million in covered losses, less a $10,000 deductible.

There is a lot at stake for businesses when it comes to cyber-crime, which is why more and more businesses are investigating and purchasing cyber insurance to hedge against the risks associated with cyber security and data privacy. Read More ›

Categories: Intellectual Property, News, Privacy, Technology

The New Fiduciary Rule and its Future

Financial advisingWith a sea of political change in Washington this year, many are speculating on what regulatory reforms the Trump administration and a Republican Congress will make in 2017. One reform in particular is commonly mentioned: a repeal, delay, or revision of the new Department of Labor ("DOL") fiduciary rule (the "Fiduciary Rule"). Given that the Trump administration is widely seen as anti-regulation, and the Fiduciary Rule is one of the most sweeping pieces of regulation regarding retirement investors and the financial industry since the implementation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") in 1974, speculation about the Fiduciary Rule's impending review and revision are not unfounded. Read More ›

Categories: Employment, News

Action Required to Keep Your DMCA Safe Harbor Protection

The U.S. Copyright Office recently implemented new rules (the “Rules”) governing the designation and maintenance of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) agent information under a new electronic system. The Rules went into effect on December 1, 2016, so electronic designations should be filed as soon as possible. Service providers who fail to submit electronic designations will be ineligible for the safe harbor protections from copyright-infringement liability provided by the DMCA. Read More ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News

Assembling Your Company's Data Breach Response Plan

Business TeamNo matter how carefully, thoughtfully and diligently a company works to prevent it, data breaches happen. Company management, IT teams and outside consultants can do everything right and still end up dealing with a breach. That means that knowing how to best respond when (not if) a breach happens should be part of every company’s data protection strategy.

We recommend that every company assemble a security breach team, consisting of individuals inside and outside of the organization who possess different skill sets. This may include technology officers, as well as staff from IT, human resources, communications, legal departments, outside counsel, and outside vendors. The composition of the team will depend on the type and size of the organization, but each member should be in a position and have skills that enable the organization to quickly and properly respond to an incident. The team must also be equipped, authorized and empowered to evaluate and immediately react to an incident once it has occurred. Read More ›

Categories: HIPAA, News, Privacy, Technology

Identity Theft: How to Reduce the Risk and Mitigate the Harm

Identity TheftAccording to the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”), an estimated 17.6 million Americans aged 16 or older were victims of at least one attempt or incident of identity theft in 2014. Identity theft takes many forms - from stealing someone’s identity to obtain government benefits to creating new financial accounts in another person’s name. The most frequent type of identity theft - 80 percent of all cases according to the DOJ - involves someone trying to take over an existing bank or credit card account. Tax-related fraud is also on the rise.

We are all at risk of identity theft. It seems like a week never goes by without a news report about a data breach at a major retailer or bank. Unfortunately, most people who are victims of identity theft - or suspect they might be - are not aware of the steps they should take to mitigate the harm from the theft.

This article identifies the steps that a person whose social security number is compromised should immediately take upon learning of a problem, as well as actions to take to protect against the risk of identity theft in the future. Read More ›

Categories: News, Privacy, Tax