Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Are You Ready for a New Canadian Privacy Law?

As if we weren’t already confused by COPPA, CCPA, and CPRA, we may soon welcome CCPA as the newest addition to the “A-C-P” alphabet soup of data privacy laws.

Here is a primer to avoid confusion:

COPPA = Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act 

CCPA = California Consumer Privacy Act

CPRA = California Privacy Rights Act 

CPPA = Consumer Privacy Protection Act 

On Nov. 17, 2020, Canada’s federal government introduced a bill to enact new legislation to strengthen data privacy protections for individuals. The proposed legislation, known as the Consumer Privacy Protection Act (CPPA), would be the first major overhaul of Canada’s privacy laws since the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) became effective in April 2000. If passed, CPPA will provide data privacy rights to individuals similar to those afforded under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CCPA, and CPRA. 

CPPA will bring significant changes to PIPEDA including:

Enhanced Individual Rights: The CPPA would expand the rights of Canadian consumers in relation to how organizations collect and process their data. Similar to GDPR, consumers will have the right to request deletion of their personal data and to withdraw consent for any further use of their information. Consumers will also have the right to request transfer of their data from one organization to another. Businesses will be required to transparently describe to individuals any use of an automated decision system — such as algorithms and artificial intelligence — to make predictions, recommendations, or decisions about individuals that could have a significant impact on them. Individuals will also have the right to request an explanation as to how information about them was obtained as well as how any prediction, recommendation, or decision was made by an automated decision-making system.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Some People Try to Find Love by Casting a Wide Net; Dating Apps Use the Same Strategy to Get Your Business

Many people recently celebrated Valentine’s Day with that special someone. Others celebrated Singles Awareness Day on February 15. And, although only a few days have passed since Valentine’s Day, it’s very likely there are some recently single folks out there who were not single on February 14. For those single people, after you’ve had a good dose of some classic country heartbreak hits (try Hank Williams – “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” or Miranda Lambert – “Kerosene”) to see you through these bleak times, take heart and read on. This article is here to help you understand the lay of the land for dating apps, so you’ll be ready for February 14, 2022.

Numerous iconic brands that surround us on a daily basis are owned by a relatively small number of large conglomerates. The auto industry is a great example. Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Maserati are just some of the brands owned by Stellantis N.V. Volkswagen AG owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche and Volkswagen, to name a few. There are large players with huge brand portfolios that dominate the alcohol industry. ABInBev’s massive list of brands includes Goose Island, Michelob and Modelo. The consumer goods industry is no different. Brands that Proctor & Gamble has an ownership interest in include Charmin, Febreze and Tide. Unilever plc counts Dove, Lipton and Ben & Jerry’s as some of the recognizable names under its roof.

Just as these automobile, alcohol and consumer goods conglomerates have a wide spectrum of offerings, so do dating apps. Dating apps have been designed to be inclusive and cover a wide swath of users’ backgrounds. As parent companies acquire dating apps for their brand ownership portfolios, they increase their reach and are able to capture more users. As seen in the examples below, many of the commonly known dating apps are just one of many in a portfolio owned by a parent company. However, there are some key players that are notable exceptions to having a portfolio of many brands. One such exception is Bumble, which was listed on the Nasdaq exchange on February 11, 2021 and was valued at $13 billion.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Celebrating Public Domain Day 2021

The end of 2020 was widely anticipated for many reasons, but January 1, 2021 was not just notable for being the first day of the New Year. January 1 is also “Public Domain Day,” the day on which creative works enter the public domain and are no longer protected by the exclusive rights of copyright. 

If you haven’t heard of this day, it might not just be because it is only celebrated by intellectual property nerds. Public Domain Day was a foreign concept here in the United States for a couple of decades: we didn’t have a Public Domain Day from 1998 until 2019. This is because in 1998 Congress extended the term of copyright protection for 20 years, resulting in a public domain drought for two decades. 2019 was an exciting year for those interested in copyright, and two years later in 2021 the thrill has not entirely worn off. In fact, this yearly occurrence should be of interest to anyone who wants to be able to freely use and adapt creative works, including entrepreneurs and small businesses.

What is the public domain? As previously discussed on this blog, copyright grants the authors of creative works — such as books, songs, paintings, photographs, articles and movies — a set of exclusive rights. If anyone else wants to use, copy, reproduce, distribute or create derivative works from a creative work, they need permission from the copyright owner. However, copyright has a limited term. Once a work is no longer protected by copyright, it enters the public domain and no permission is needed to use the work.

Monday, January 25, 2021

The Corporate Transparency Act: A New Federal Reporting Requirement for Businesses

Warning: This post is pretty lawyerly, and certainly more technical than is the case for most entreVIEW content, but we thought the potential implications of this new law were worth detailing.

As businesses prepare for the year ahead, that planning should include analysis of compliance with the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The coverage of the CTA is very broad and requires certain business entities to submit a report to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Although there are exemptions, those exemptions essentially apply to entities that already have fairly extensive reporting requirements (i.e., banks or large companies), which means that smaller companies not currently subject to such reporting requirements will likely need to comply with submitting the reports. Although the CTA recently became law, FinCEN must issue regulations to implement the new ownership reporting requirements within one year (by December 31, 2021).

I. Main Rule

The main CTA reporting provision requires each applicant forming a corporation, limited liability company or similar entity to file a report with FinCEN containing a list of the beneficial owners of the corporation, limited liability company or similar entity that identifies each beneficial owner by:

1. full legal name;
2. date of birth;
3. current residential or business street address; and
4. a unique identifying number from a non-expired passport issued by the United States, a
        non-expired personal identification card or a non-expired driver’s license issued by a State.

Furthermore, if the applicant is not a beneficial owner, the report must also provide the identification information described above relating to such applicant.

II. Definitions

The following are some of the definitions in the CTA:

applicant — any natural person who files an application to form a corporation, limited liability company or similar entity under the laws of a State or Indian Tribe.

beneficial owner — means a natural person who, directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship or otherwise:

1. exercises substantial control over a corporation, limited liability company or similar entity;
2. owns 25 percent or more of the equity interests of a corporation, limited liability company
        or similar entity; or
3. receives substantial economic benefits from the assets of a corporation, limited liability
        company or similar entity.

III. Timing of Reports

It is anticipated FinCEN’s subsequent regulations will describe in detail the timing of reports; however, based on the CTA, businesses should be aware of the report timeframe for the following:

  • Existing Entities — Any reporting company that has been formed or registered before the effective date of FinCEN’s regulations is to submit a report within two years of the effective date of such regulations.
  • New Entities — Any reporting company that is formed after the effective date of FinCEN’s regulations will be required to submit a report when formed.
  • Annual Reports — Not only must entities make an initial filing, but they must also make an annual filing listing the current beneficial owners and the information required in the initial report as well as any changes in beneficial owners during the previous year.

IV.  Exemptions

Not all entities must comply with the reporting requirement as the CTA provides certain exemptions. Those exemptions largely apply to companies that already face existing reporting requirements. However, just because a company meets an exemption does not mean the entity can take no action. The CTA requires an entity claiming an exemption to identify the specific exemption it is claiming, state that the entity meets the requirements for the exemption and provide identification information for the applicant or prospective officer, director or similar agent certifying the above information. There are additional clarifications for the exemptions below, but for brevity’s sake, those have been removed. As such, the listing should be used for purposes of understanding the general nature of the exemptions and not as an authoritative guide for specific requirements of each exemption.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Helping You Fulfill Your New Year’s Resolutions: The Smart Home Gym

For many, the start of 2021 means a brand new set of New Year’s resolutions. At the top of the list of most popular New Year’s resolutions is, as you’d expect, getting more exercise. According to a study conducted by Statistica in late 2020, a staggering 44% of participants in the study were planning to start 2021 with this resolution. But with many gyms closed due to the global pandemic (or due to the anxiety caused by going to a gym in a global pandemic), sticking to this popular resolution may be more difficult than in past years.

Enter: the smart home gym. Most people have heard of home gyms and many probably own one or more of them, whether in the form of a treadmill, exercise bike or otherwise. In recent years, though, the options for home gyms have expanded greatly. You can now find a home gym that offers just about any workout you can imagine running, biking, weight lifting, kickboxing, etc. Home gyms have also become significantly more advanced and technologically innovative in recent years, some even with Artificial Intelligence.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Greg Sestero & Tom Bissell, The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside the Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (Simon & Schuster, 2013)

In my book reviews over lo these many years, I’ve often expanded on the commonly accepted notion that entrepreneurial activity is exclusively economically oriented — that an entrepreneur is someone who builds a successful business starting from scratch, typically as a result of exploiting a new-found market niche or, more prosaically, by building a better mousetrap.

And now, as Monty Python would say, for something completely different.

The blurb for this book describes the subject film, “The Room,” as “the Citizen Kane of bad movies.”  I have to confess that I haven’t seen it.  My curiosity was piqued when James Franco won a Golden Globe in 2017 for his appearance as Tommy Wiseau, the driving force behind “The Room,” in the movie made from this book.

The typical entrepreneurial scenario involves someone with a great idea but not necessarily the financial wherewithal to exploit it, leading to a story filled with successive rounds of venture financing and innumerable compromises along the way. “The Disaster Artist,” by contrast, is the story of a man with a dream and plenty of money, enough that he doesn’t need to refine his vision to satisfy others. The statistics tell the story: the film had a budget of $6 million, and box office receipts of $1,800 (yes, that’s the correct number) in its original release.

The film has gone on to achieve cult status as the best bad movie ever. The book is an entertaining view of what happens to an entrepreneur and his idea when he or she does not need to deal with the reality check that is the marketplace.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Syringe Saves Santa

In a year where we have heard a lot of “no,” one recent development had people (children, mostly) across
the world excitedly yelling “yes!”

Santa, who is arguably one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time, had a tough task ahead of him this year. Like all good entrepreneurs, Santa adapted throughout the holiday season, including by hosting gift-giving brainstorming sessions remotely in lieu of his annual mall visits. Even with his adaptations, however, maintaining social distancing and avoiding unnecessary travel would have made Santa’s already challenging task of delivering gifts to children across the world impossible.

As a frontline worker, Santa recently had an unexpected visit to the North Pole from Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. Dr. Fauci saved the day, explaining, “I took a trip up there to the North Pole. I went there and I vaccinated Santa Claus myself. I measured his level of immunity, and he is good to go. He can come down the chimney, he can leave the presents, he can leave, and you have nothing to worry about.” 

With the go-ahead to travel (by reindeer, of course), Christmas was saved by Dr. Fauci and a team of scientists. Santa Claus did, in fact, come to town — masked and vaccinated!

Hang in there, entrepreneurs. If your adaptations don’t solve all of your problems, the cure may be just around the corner.