The Chevron doctrine is one of the foundations of administrative/regulatory law. In plain English, the doctrine stands for the proposition that courts will generally defer to an agency’s reasonable interpretation of an ambiguous statute. But what happens if the agency’s reasonable interpretation changes and takes the agency in an entirely new policy direction? In the communications realm, we’ve had an opportunity to see how federal courts handle such a scenario through the line of decisions relating to whether broadband service should be classified as an “information service” or a “telecommunications service” under the federal Communications Act.
THE CHEVRON DOCTRINE: HOW DO COURTS APPLY DEFERENCE WHEN AN AGENCY REVERSES POLICES.
Many people thinking about starting their own business get intimidated by the legal work that needs to be done to start a business. But if you are the sole owner of your company, doing the legal work necessary to start your business is the easy part. You shouldn’t need a lawyer to do it.
GOING INTO BUSINESS FOR YOURSELF? LEGAL IS THE EASY PART!
Security experts have long said that sharing intelligence about cyber-threats is essential to the defense of information systems throughout all aspects of our society: business, government, and community-based organizations. These systems are like the central nervous system for our economy and much of our society.
CYBER THREAT INFORMATION SHARING: WHO'S READY TO TAKE THE LEAP?
Non-profit organizations often receive donations for a specific purpose. For example, a donor might wish to restrict a donation for a particular capital project or pieces of equipment, such as a new wing of a building, or a vehicle. But what happens when the purpose of a restriction on a donation is no longer valid? What happens when the intent of the donor can no longer practically be carried out?
PITFALLS OF NON-PROFIT MANAGEMENT OF RESTRICTED DONATIONS IN MINNESOTA.
Most filmmakers just getting their start have very small budgets. But does that mean your only option is amateur talent? Before you call that old acquaintance from high school drama club whom you heard is doing community theater, wait.
MAKING AN "ULTRA LOW BUDGET" FILM WITH PROFESSIONAL TALENT.
The FCC's Open Internet Order was upheld by a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in June. Ironically, the most notable regulatory consequence of the Open Internet Order has not (yet at least) been the enforcement of the actual “net neutrality” rules (i.e. no blocking, no throttling, and no paid prioritization). Rather, the FCC has leveraged the regulatory reclassification decision to transform a legacy telephone regulatory subsidy program into a broadband regulatory program and to issue new broadband privacy regulations. What lies ahead for net neutrality, and what is the real legacy of the FCC's Open Internet Order?
NET NEUTRALITY: LOOKING AHEAD
The new MNvest law presents a potentially valuable mechanism for start-up businesses to raise capital. In particular, MNvest holds promise for niche industries, including artistic entrepreneurs accustomed to raising capital in small increments and for discrete projects. MNvest provides a way to promote such offerings, but not unless necessary IT infrastructure is built to enable such offerings. This article provides a general overview of what is required to create an essential element of that IT infrastructure - a MNvest portal.
KEEPING IT LOCAL: STARTING UP A MNVEST PORTAL.
Many non-profit organizations include the word “foundation” in their corporate or trade name. And some organizations may think that by naming itself a “foundation”, it is a “foundation” in the eyes of the IRS. Not necessarily true.
NOT ALL "FOUNDATIONS" ARE PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS IN THE EYES OF THE IRS.
A party does not need to prove actual confusion or misunderstanding under the Minnesota Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act (UDTPA) in order to establish a “likelihood of confusion” under the UDTPA. And there is very little case law decided by Minnesota state courts that sheds light on how to apply the “likelihood of confusion” test under the UDTPA. But a 1981 federal court decision provides a familiar framework and guidance with respect to the types of conduct that might give rise to claims under the Minnesota UDTPA.
ESTABLISHING A "LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION" UNDER THE MINNESOTA DECEPTIVE TRADE PRACTICES ACT.
New guidelines for the establishment of information sharing assistance organizations (ISAOs) were released by the ISAO Standards Organization (ISAO SO) on Friday, September 30, 2016. This article summarizes the new guidelines and provides a link to the full set of guidelines released on Friday.
GUIDELINES RELEASED FOR ESTABLISHING CYBER THREAT INFORMATION SHARING ORGANIZATIONS.
A new article authored by Tony Mendoza was published today in the September issue of Attorney at Law Magazine. The article reviews the FCC's Lifeline Modernization Order which shifts the focus of low-income telephone subsidies to broadband services.
FCC EXTENDS "LIFELINE" TO LOW-INCOME CUSTOMERS
As a corporate director, board or committee member, officer, or employee, it is important to understand your rights to indemnification and advancement if and when you are ever threatened with personal liability for business related activities.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS WHEN YOU ARE THREATENED WITH PERSONAL LIABILITY FOR BUSINESS ACTIVITES
The FCC has become one of a long list of federal agencies that consider cybersecurity enforcement to be part of their jurisdiction. Since July 2015, the FCC has issued two major enforcement orders and opened up a new rulemaking docket on broadband privacy.
FCC DELVES INTO CYBERSECURITY
Up until this past legislative session, local governments in Minnesota lacked statutory authority to donate certain types of property it no longer needs or that it can no longer use to a non-profit organization. However, this past legislative session, a new law was passed that expressly authorizes counties, home rule charter cities, statutory cities, towns, and joint powers entities to donate “surplus equipment” to one or more non-profit corporations which are tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
MINNESOTA PASSES LAW PERMITTING DONATIONS OF CERTAIN SURPLUS EQUIPMENT BY LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Hoping to fly below the radar of cybercriminals is not an effective cybersecurity defense strategy. The value of digital assets and information can and does, exist independently of a business’s size or revenue. From company or customer credit card data to banking, financial, or personal health-related resources, if there is a business imperative to keep information confidential and secure, it holds value and your business should protect it.
WHAT SHOULD BE IN YOUR SMALL BUSINESS CYBERSECURITY TOOL KIT
In a decision with major implications for musicians, recording artists, and sound engineers, a federal district court judge in California decided last week that remastered analog recordings from recording artists including Al Green, Andy Williams, The Everly Brothers, Mahalia Jackson, Jackie Wilson, and King Floyd constitute new, separately copyrightable derivative works.
CALIFORNIA JUDGE RULES REMASTERED SOUND RECORDINGS ARE NEW DERIVATIVE WORKS
The State of Minnesota has enacted a new law establishing an alternative process for utilities, including telecommunications companies, to obtain permission from railroad operators to cross or parallel railroad right-of-way. For a summary of the new law and a copy of the text of the new statute click on the link below.
MINNESOTA ENACTS RAILROAD RIGHT-OF-WAY UTILITY CROSSING LAW
In December 2015, the U.S. Copyright Office issued a Notice of Inquiry and a request for public comments to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of the “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The comment period closed on April 1, 2016. Over 92,000 comments were filed. Positions among the commenting parties broke down on familiar lines.
“EMPTYING THE OCEAN – ONE TEASPOON AT A TIME” – A Review of Comments Filed in the U.S. Copyright Office’s Study of the “Safe Harbor” Provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Tony Mendoza testified today in support of the establishment of a right to publicity for artists under Minnesota law. The so-called PRINCE Act (Personal Rights in Names Can Endure) was passed out of the Minnesota House Civil Law and Data Practices Committee yesterday and was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee today. A copy of Mendoza's testimony on behalf of the Minnesota Music Coalition can be downloaded below.
MENDOZA TESTIFIES IN SUPPORT OF PRINCE ACT TO ESTABLISH RIGHT OF PUBLICITY FOR ARTISTS UNDER MINNESOTA LAW
A profits-only interest can be an effective method of rewarding key service providers to an LLC and incenting both their relationship with the company and continued high performance. However, the benefits can be tempered by the array of tax and related accounting implications that flow from an LLC’s granting of such interests.