Technology Law Blog

Showing 57 posts in News & Events.

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

The Department of Justice Issues Recommendations for Preparing for Cybersecurity Threats

The recently formed Cybersecurity Unit of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) recently issued guidance regarding best practices for organizations to protect against and respond to cybersecurity risks. The guidance, titled “Best Practices for Victim Response and Reporting of Cyber Incidents,” was drafted with smaller organizations in mind, but has relevance to larger ones as well.

What to Do in Advance of a Breach

The DOJ urges organizations to prepare an incident response plan before a breach occurs, and recommends that an organization do the following: Read More ›

Categories: News & Events

Virtual Currency Startup Slapped with $700,000 Fine by U.S. Treasury

You’ve likely heard of Bitcoin, the virtual currency that has made headlines over the last couple of years for its increasing popularity and wild swings in value. However, you may not have taken notice of other, lesser-known virtual currencies being developed by startup technology companies. But the U.S. Department of Treasury is watching closely.

Ripple Labs, which manages its own cryptocurrency called XRP, and which has raised over $34 million in venture capital from investors, was recently slapped with a first-of-its-kind $700,000 penalty by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). The fine comes as a result of a settlement with FinCEN and stems from violations of regulations under the Bank Secrecy Act and for failure to register with FinCEN despite operating a money service business. The company is also being penalized for not implementing an anti-money laundering program. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Venture Capital/Funding

FAA’s Takedown Orders Don’t Fly: Do You Need to Take Down Your Drone Videos?

Unmanned aircraft systems - drones - are become increasingly popular and less expensive. From drone pilot hobbyists to online retailers, recreational and business use of drone technology is likely to increase over the coming years. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has taken notice. Read More ›

Categories: News & Events, Social Media