MMA: Modifying the Future of Streaming

By: Amber Razzano

The passage of the Music Modernization Act (“MMA”) brings copyright law up to the speed of the modern era. The MMA consists of three parts: (1) Music Licensing Modernization; (2) Compensating Legacy Artists for Their Songs, Service, and Important Contributions to Society (“CLASSICS”); and (3) Allocation for Music Producers (“AMP”). The first part of this Act, Music Licensing Modernization, “replaces the existing song-by-song compulsory licensing structure for making and distributing musical works with a blanket licensing system for digital music providers to make and distribute digital phonorecord deliveries.” This is meant to allow easier payment to “rights holders” whenever their music is streamed online.

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The Conflict Between 3D Printing and Patent Law

By: Daniel Norton

zmorph-multitool-3d-printer-1221521-unsplashIn the past, science fiction books and television shows toyed with the idea of “replicators” and “matter compilers.” The idea was that people would be able to produce the tools or objects they needed in any given situation from the comforts of their own homes or starships. Mere decades after this idea was considered a fantasy it has become a reality as Americans have increasingly begun using 3D printers to create tools and objects they need from the comfort of their own homes. But the advent of 3D printers has not brought about the utopian freedoms things like Star Trek indicated. Instead, 3D printing technology has created entirely new challenges for the US patent system to grapple with.

The creation of an object using 3D printing is known as additive manufacturing. This process involves a 3D printer applying a given material in thin layers on top of each other to create an object dictated to it by a computer-aided design (CAD) file. While this ability was first created in the 1980s, it has exploded in popularity over the past few years due to the advent of “home” 3D printers. Continue reading »

U.S. Government: Back in Business?

By: Killoran Long

After a thirty-five-day partial shutdown, the U.S. government is finally getting back to business. What started on December 22, 2018, as a disagreement over border security funding, became a shutdown, showdown between President Trump and Congress that finally came to an end on January 25, 2019. The thirty-five-day shutdown became the longest shutdown in modern history, surpassing the previous shutdown record of twenty-one-days that was set in the mid-nineties.  Continue reading »

Targeted Job Advertisements, Failing the Fine Line of Title VII Discrimination Charges

By: Amber Razzano

Social media sites have the ability to provide tools for employers to assist with their search for candidates with specific qualifications, however, the improper use of this information is a blurry line. The EEOC’s position remains that personal information “may not be used to make employment decisions on prohibited bases, such as race, gender, national origin, color, religion, age, disability, or genetic information.” recent months, the EEOC issued a Charge of Discrimination brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against Facebook. The Charge alleges the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (“Title VII”) with its employment advertising, recruitment, and hiring, as well as state and local anti-discriminatory statutes. The City of Greensboro has also been charged for distributing ads for a number of different positions via Facebook’s ad platform, including the position of Officer at the Greensboro Police Department. The charging parties accuse Facebook of “enabling, encouraging, and assisting a number of employers and employment agencies, including Greensboro, to unlawfully target their advertisements based on sex and age, and for delivering the ads in a discriminatory manner” in exchange for payment. Facebook and other social media platforms have become dominated by advertisements, especially in relation to the labor market. This alleged discriminatory practice could profoundly affect those individuals, regardless of which gender they identify as, in search of a job. Continue reading »

Merchant Cash Advance Regulations: Everything You Need To Know

By: Simon Reed, Guest Writer*

Small businesses regularly find themselves strapped for cash and in need of a financial injection to build and grow their operations, particularly in these ultra-competitive times.

And while traditional financing options definitely exist to help small business owners that have sterling silver credit, all kinds of assets, and at least a few years of success under their belt already new business owners, new entrepreneurs, and those pioneering new industries are going to find banks and credit unions at least a little bit reticent about handing over any decent chunk of change.

That’s where merchant cash advance financing packages come into play. Continue reading »

Veblen, Schumpeter, and employee inventors: lessons from the US and Germany

By: Neal Orkin, Guest Writer*

(This article first appeared in the December 1990 issue of Managing Intellectual Property.  It remains relevant today.)

Why should bright and innovative youngsters want to enter engineering and science when the incentives are so small?

Neal Orkin, inventor of ‘Orkinomics’, looks at this question through the eyes of Veblen and Schumpeter and explains why so many US patents are now being granted to foreigners.

“Competitiveness” is the new buzzword that we Americans use to fend off those damned foreigners who “steal” our technology or trade “unfairly”.  While erudite authors and smug commentators – those Captains of Competitiveness – speak in terms of such euphemisms as better education for workers, labour-management cooperation, and new far­sighted management, we lose sight of one of the basic causes of our competitiveness problem – rewards and recognition for creative engineers and scientists. Continue reading »

The Importance of Cybersecurity in Mergers and Acquisitions

By: Nathaniel Reiff

In 2016, Marriott International, Inc. acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide for $13.6 billion “creating the world’s largest and best hotel company.” Little did Marriot know that Starwood’s guest reservation database provided unauthorized access of more than 500 million guest’s information. The leak revealed customer names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, passport numbers, and potentially credit card numbers and card expiration dates.

“Marriott International Inc.’s revelation of a hack . . . highlights the hidden cybersecurity risks involved with mergers and acquisitions. . . . Even companies that thoroughly vet their targets can’t entirely avoid the possibility that they’re inheriting risks.” claims Bloomberg Law’s Privacy and Data Security reporter, Sara Merken. Such naivety engenders lawsuits against the acquirer, imposes damage to its reputation, and costs the company millions to remediate the hack. Continue reading »

ICO-Funded Startups Succumb to SEC’s Wrath

By: Nathaniel Reiff

Once considered a popular alternative method to funding a cryptocurrency startup, Initial Coin Offerings (“ICO”) have recently faced the ire of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). A joint investigation by Yahoo Finance and Decrypt revealed that the agency sent out a series of information-seeking subpoenas to cryptocurrency startups, inquiring into their failure to sell their token, distributed cryptocoins purchased with fiat or virtual currency, exclusively to accredited investors. The SEC’s objective is to exert enough pressure on these companies to settle, in which dozens have already conceded by paying fines and refunding investors.

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Recent Lawsuits Could Pioneer Gig Economy Reform

By: Nathaniel Reiff you are an economist or financial analyst, the term “gig economy” might be foreign. However, the “gig economy” is growing readily more important in our daily lives with the prominence of mobile phone apps coupled with our desire for rapid convenience.,.

A gig economy is a free market system in which organizations and companies primarily contract with independent workers for short-term engagements. Non-profit business-research organization, Conference Board, defines gig workers as those who perform “non-core functions” that don’t require institutional knowledge but involve specific well-defined tasks where output is easily measured and monitored. Prominent companies that employ gig workers include Uber, Airbnb, and Grubhub. Although the number of independent contractors, temporary workers, and contract workers has actually remained relatively unchanged since 1995, according to Yahoo Finance, the transportation sector has seen a major increase in the percentage of self-employed workers over the last two decades. Continue reading »

Uber Trucks Towards IPO Hauling New Debt

By: Amber Razzano

The impending initial public offering of Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) in the coming year has sparked an inquiry into their current business model. Uber is known for its ride-hailing services, a seemingly unprofitable business connecting drivers with passengers. However, Uber has made attempts to diversify their portfolio. Uber has implemented new platforms such as Uber Eats, while also making investments in a self-driving car unit, bike-sharing, and electric-scooter sharing. Uber is also entertaining the addition of a new tractor-trailer rental business to help truckers haul freight throughout the country. As of September 2017, UberEats was the most profitable division of Uber. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi stated UberEats is growing over 200%, on track to book $6 billion over the next 12 months given current rates. In an interview with CNBC, Khosrowshahi stated, “Going forward, we’re deliberately investing in the future of our platform: big bets like UberEats; congestion and environmentally friendly modes of transport like Express Pool, e-bikes and scooters; emerging businesses like Freight; and high-potential markets in the Middle East and India where we are cementing our leadership position.” The company has recently been valued by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley at $120 billion based on these diversifications.  Continue reading »