Technology Law Blog

Showing 60 posts in News & Events.

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

Title III Crowdfunding: What is a Funding Portal?

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 ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

Remedying Past Employee/Independent Contract Misclassification Through IRS’s Voluntary Settlement Program

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 ›

Categories: Employment, News & Events, Tax

YouTube Will Pay Content Creators’ Legal Fees in Defense Of Fair Use

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 ›

Categories: Copyright, Intellectual Property, News & Events

SEC Finalizes Long-Awaited Title III Crowdfunding Rules

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 ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

FAA and DOT to Require Registration for Drones, Additional Rules Coming Soon

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

U.S. Supreme Court Addresses Criminal Liability For Facebook Threats

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal law that prohibits sending threats over the internet requires some level of intention by the sender. The ruling leaves some issues open but is significant for those who engage in hyperbole online. Read More ›

Categories: First Amendment, News & Events, Social Media

Free Speech on Social Media: FTC Updates its Guidance on Social Media Endorsements

Social media is a great tool for companies to build their brands. Many have moved from nearly invisible to viral superstar status, thanks to a well-timed Tweet, Facebook post or clever YouTube video. But with this power comes risks.

One tried and true marketing tactic - both in social and traditional media - is leveraging the power of endorsements. If others are happily using or consuming a product it must be worthwhile, right? While the law and regulatory framework regarding social media promotion is still evolving, social media endorsement is an area that has recently received additional scrutiny from government regulators. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Social Media

Fraudulent Kickstarter Campaign Leads to First-of-its-Kind FTC Legal Action

A drink cooler that doubles as a blender and stereo system. A card game called “Exploding Kittens” for “people who are into kittens and explosions and laser beams and sometimes goats.” A motion picture starring Kristen Bell. These are a few of the inventions and initiatives that have received the most funding on Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding site.

Kickstarter is an online platform that allows project creators to seek financial backing. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing - a project must meet its funding goal to receive any money at all.

I have previously written about the tax implications of Kickstarter campaigns here.

While there’s always a risk that a project won’t make it from concept to completion, most backers have an expectation that their monetary pledge will be used in good faith and for its intended purpose. Read More ›

Categories: Crowdfunding, News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding