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Internet startupland redux:  how do I get seed/early capital, fast? 

What we hear all the time:  I need the money to ramp up my startup, I need to get it quickly, and I need access to the right angels and early-stage VCs. Just like back in the Internet glory (inglorious?) days of the late 90s startups seem to be launching right and left, and many [...]

By |June 1st, 2011|0 Comments

Can you Spam or can’t you?  CAN-SPAM and California’s CANNOT-SPAM laws

Many of us may have thought that, despite the advent of a federal statute governing commercial email, the CAN-SPAM law of 2003, spam or, to use the neutral term, unsolicited commercial email, was regulated not prohibited.  All that is needed is some care to appropriately use unsubscribe / opt-out language, using working links and addresses [...]

By |June 1st, 2011|0 Comments

Work-for-hire and the startup:  are startups treated differently from mature companies when they try to protect their IP? Does it depend on the form of entity…???

The Ninth Circuit in JustMed v. Byce found that a startup founder's former brother-in-law and part-time code developer was indeed an employee when he wrote the code -- and the code was therefore indeed a work for hire. This meant the company owned the code and the disgruntled former brother-in-law did not have any independent ownership rights in it.  This [...]

By |March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

So zip codes are protectible personally identifiable information? 

The California Supreme Court surprised a lot of us when it just recently found that retailers who ask customers for their zip codes are violating California's Song-Beverly Credit Card Act of 1971, which prohibits a merchant from requiring a consumer to provide "personal identification information" as a condition of accepting payment by credit card.  The [...]

By |March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

Cyberterrorism, online trademark fights, biogenetics and the law, IGF reports, smart meters and unanticipated legal issues, and more…

With the ABA cyberspace law commitee, I organized a conference in Austin, focusing on new and developing cyberlaw issues.  Highlights included new lessons in cyberterrorism prevention, recent cases dealing with the copyright work-for-hire doctrine and start-up tech companies, new strategies in dealing with domain name conflicts and anonymous online infringers, and new ways of thinking about privacy rights [...]

By |March 1st, 2011|0 Comments

Important tax break for investors sunsetting:  Exclusion of gain on startup investment

As part of the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, 100% of the gain from the sale of qualified small business stock acquired after September 27, 2010 and before January 1, 2011 (and held for more than five years) is excluded from income. If the stock is not "qualified" small business stock, then 100% of the gain [...]

By |December 1st, 2010|0 Comments

New Delaware decision: Do  LLCs give management greater protection against creditors than they would have in a corporation? 

More LLCs are formed in the US each year than corporations and partnerships combined. The reason:  maximum flexibility in profit sharing (LLCs allow corporate-type liquidation preferences or partnership-type profits interests), pass-through taxation (as in partnerships and S corporations), and the potential to reduce fiduciary duties or even to eliminate them (as has been suggested for [...]

By |December 1st, 2010|0 Comments

TechCrunch Disrupt – Day 3 tidbits:  Diller on Net Neutrality, Mobile Payments, Mobile Ads, and Disconcerting Social Networking Apps

The SF economy was humming at the Concourse Exhibition Center on Brannan Street last week, during the 3 days ofTechCrunch Disrupt.  The cavernous, stretched-out room was full, plenty of milling around was going on around the exhibition space where a dozen or so startups had set up shop, and the action on the main stage, [...]

By |December 1st, 2010|0 Comments

Work-for-hire and the startup redux:  are startups treated differently from mature companies when they try to protect their IP? 

The Ninth Circuit decision in JustMed v. Byce presents a new take on the perennial issue of confirming an early-stage company's ownership of its technology inventions. The creator of an original creative work is the owner of that work and all rights pertaining to it under copyright law.  The main exception is a "work-for-hire", a "work prepared by [...]

By |November 15th, 2010|0 Comments

California’s new “e-personation” law against online fake identities:  Penal Code Section 528.5

 Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger signed AB 1411, enacting new Penal Code Section 528.5, California's new anti-online impersonation law.   This statute prohibits knowingly and without consent credibly impersonating another person "through or on an Internet web site or by other electronic means for purposes of harming, intimidating, threatening, or defrauding another person."  For purposes of the [...]

By |October 20th, 2010|0 Comments