Promotional contests that give away prizes can be valuable advertising tools when used properly. But they are fraught with legal risk and must be constructed very carefully. They also must include well drafted, legally compliant rules.
Here are 7 things that can get you into trouble.
Cross-posted from Slaw]]>
When employees create stuff (“creative works” in copyright parlance) as part of their jobs, the employer owns it. That includes things like computer code, photos, artwork, promotional material, text documents, and web designs.
But if it is created by someone else, the default is that the contractor owns it, not the company. That includes every possible arrangement you can think of other than employment. It could be an outside design company, some people that you “borrowed” from your friend’s business because they had some spare time or expertise that you needed, or a person you paid to create something.
It is crucial to get in writing either before it is started, or when the material is delivered, an assignment of the material, waivers of moral rights, and promises that they really created it themselves and haven’t “borrowed” it from the internet or some other source.
Here are 7 things that can haunt you if you don’t document IP others create:
The parts about “Can I send CEMs to an email address I find online?”, “How can I prove I have consent?”, and “What records should I be keeping?” show how difficult, if not impossible, it is to comply with CASL in practice.
CASL and its interpretation is so granular and so nuanced that the average business doesn’t stand a chance of getting it consistently right. The email address publication relevance issue, for example, is so fraught with risk that it isn’t worth tempting fate with in most instances. And the level of proof and record keeping that is expected is simply impractical.
In my view CASL does the opposite of what it says it is supposed to do:
3. The purpose of this Act is to promote the efficiency and adaptability of the Canadian economy by regulating commercial conduct that discourages the use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities, because that conduct
(a) impairs the availability, reliability, efficiency and optimal use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities;
(b) imposes additional costs on businesses and consumers; …
The compliance costs in terms of dollars, time, and exposure to penalties are simply far too high, and it actually impedes “efficiency and optimal use of electronic means to carry out commercial activities”.
Cross-posted to Slaw]]>
Employee stock option plans can be valuable tools for employee retention and attraction, but for small businesses the pain usually outweighs the benefits.
Here are 5 reasons why.
The report is an interesting read and makes some valid points. In general, people fear new things more so than things we are familiar with. Like the person who doesn’t fly much being nervous about the flight when statistically the most dangerous part of the journey is the drive to the airport.
While a privacy panic for emerging tech is indeed common, we can’t summarily dismiss that panic as having no basis. The key is to look at it from a principled basis, and compare the risks to existing technology.
New tech may very well have privacy issues that need to be looked at objectively, and should be designed into the tech (called privacy by design).
Even if the privacy fears are overblown, purveyors of the technology need to understand the panic and find a way to deflate the concerns.
Cross-posted to Slaw]]>
Take a look to read about my spin on the iPad Pro vs the Microsoft Surface Pro 4.]]>
Incorporating a new company can be required in many situations. Maybe you are launching a new business. Your current business might be starting a different product line that for some reason needs to be isolated. There might be tax advantages to creating a new business.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind.
I blog mostly about tech legal issues, as that’s where my interests lie. But whether a business is in the tech area or not, there are some basic non-tech legal issues worth talking about.
Over the next few weeks I’m going to do a series of weekly posts that talk about some of these issues, many of which affect tech and non-tech businesses alike.
So today’s post is a bit lighter.
Courts in the United States have recently decided whether copyright applies to chicken sandwiches and to cheerleading uniforms. They decided that it applies to one – but not to the other.
If you guessed it doesn’t apply to the chicken sandwich, you got it right. In the US Court of Appeals the parties were fighting over rights to a sandwich consisting of a fried chicken breast topped with lettuce, tomato, cheese and garlic mayonnaise on a bun. The judge said that the “district court properly determined that a chicken sandwich is not eligible for copyright protection”. And that “A recipe—or any instructions—listing the combination of chicken, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayonnaise on a bun to create a sandwich is quite plainly not a copyrightable work,”
In a 2 to 1 decision, the US Court of Appeals decided that copyright protection does apply to cheerleading uniforms. The difference between the majority and the dissent hinged on what the purpose of cheerleading uniforms is. The majority decided that the design was decorative, not functional. The dissenting judge however felt that the function of the uniform was to identify a cheerleader as a cheerleader, and thus the design forms part of that function.
Cross-posted to Slaw