Emerging Markets Law

Showing 6 posts from March 2015.

Georgia House Approves Renewal of Georgia Angel Investor Tax Credit

Posted In Government, Industry

My tax partner, Julian Fortuna, pulled together this primer on the Georgia Angel Investor Tax Credit program and its pending extension in the Georgia House of Representatives.

On March 11, 2015, the Georgia House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve HB 237, a bill to renew the “angel investor tax credit” that is currently set to expire at the end of 2015. If passed by the Senate and signed by the Governor, the bill would extend the tax credit for another five years. Since 2011 when the tax credit law was first enacted, 225 qualified startups and early-growth companies have registered with the Georgia Department of Revenue to receive qualified investor tax credits. The program has created more than 200 net new jobs in Georgia with a payroll of about $10 million. Currently, 26 other states offer some form of tax credit for accredited investors who take a stake in early-stage companies. Advocates claim that renewal of Georgia’s qualified investor tax credit law is important to attracting business and maintaining the health of the state’s economy.

Continue reading Georgia House Approves Renewal of Georgia Angel Investor Tax Credit ›

Intrastate Crowdfunding Rules Summary

Wolters Kluwer has published this very detailed summary of the intrastate crowdfunding rules applicable in the District of Columbia, Idaho, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Since the SEC has dragged its feet for over two years in issuing its rules for interstate crowdfunding under the JOBS Act, the states have taken up the slack by issuing their own rules for crowdfunding within their own jurisdictions.  A crowdfund offering that satisfies the requirements of SEC Rule 147 is jurisdictionally intrastate and exempt from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 by virtue of Section 3(a)(11).

March 17th: Legal and Binding E-Contracts: What Works in a Digital World

Please join Mitzi Hill and me for a webinar on March 17 entitled: Legal and Binding E-Contracts: What Works in a Digital World.

What Constitutes an E-Agreement? Key Considerations to Remember

  • E-signatures defined: What's binding, what's not?
  • How to establish proper formations of e-contracts
  • Potentially unfair terms: What not to include
  • Essential provisions for a successful e-contract

Prevent Business Risks for Your Clients: Ways to Solve Evolving Issues

  • Issues surrounding apps and customer registration
  • Stay informed with the renewal on changed terms
  • Understand evolving issues surrounding data security & privacy
  • Latest rulings concerning e-commerce transactions

Drafting and Enforcing an E-Commerce Agreement: Actions to Take & Avoid

  • Best practices: "magic words," online terms & more
  • Regulatory issues that must be considered: Privacy rights, forms of consent
  • Recognizing the pitfalls of e-sign disclosures and deliveries
  • How to minimize privacy and fraud concerns

FCC Issues Net Neutrality Order

Posted In Government, Industry

The Federal Communications Commission yesterday released the full text of its net neutrality order, extending the FCC's regulatory authority over a host of Internet services.

FCC Chair Tom Wheeler says that the purpose of the FCC order is to preserve the ability of consumers to get access to Web content without interference from broadband providers.  He wrote, "The record reflects that broadband providers hold all the tools necessary to deceive consumers, degrade content, or disfavor the content that they don't like."

Continue reading FCC Issues Net Neutrality Order ›

California Crowdfunding Proposal

Posted In Crowdfunding

Legislators in California have proposed a bill that would enable intrastate crowdfunding there.

Assembly Bill 722 was introduced at the end of February that would permit intrastate crowdfunding with a $1 million per year cap per issuer.

As would be expected, the California legislation is more complicated and more onerous than similar bills adopted in other states.  In the draft California law:

  • The per-investor cap is the lesser of $5,000 or 10% of the investor's net worth;
  • Crowdfunding sponsor are prohibited from conducting unsolicited telephone solicitations for the offering; and
  • There is a filing fee equal to $200 plus 1/5 of 2% of the aggregate value of the securities being offered.

There can be no guarantee whether the measure will pass but it's a signal of the strength of the intrastate crowdfunding movement that even California is giving it a go.

Data Privacy: Know Your Data

As we told you earlier this year, we are running a twelve-part series on cyber hygiene habits for 2015.  The first installment covered knowing what laws govern your business and your jurisdiction.  This second installment will cover knowledge of the data your business uses, and understanding what might be sensitive or legally protected.

Data Audit

If you do not already know what sensitive data you hold, it may be worth planning and conducting a data audit of your business and electronic networks.  Your goals are to discover the following things: WHAT data do you have; HOW do you use it; and WHEN/WHERE do you use it?  Spending some time talking with your employees about what you have and how you use it can help you be prepared to deal with a loss or breach.  You will have already an idea of where to look for problems, and an understanding of what might be at issue in the loss.

Sensitive Data That May Be Legally Protected

Nearly every business has certain information that is likely to be legally protected by data privacy laws: employee data.  You almost certainly have their Social Security numbers.  You may have some banking information in order to effectuate direct deposit.  If you have anyone who delivers goods for your service, or you have a fleet of vehicles, you may have employee driver licenses.  You may have credit card information via issuance of a business credit card (which attaches to the employees' identities and credit reports).

What else might you have that is protected by data privacy or data security laws (or by your privacy policy)?

  • Customer and vendor data, including banking or credit card information.
  • Contracts stored in electronic form, especially if they contain confidentiality provisions.
  • E-mail addresses of customers and/or employees, especially personal e-mail addresses.
  • Preference data such as newsletter subscription opt-in or other marketing personalization data.
  • Photographs, videos or other submissions created by consumers that may depict them or their friends (e.g., submissions to a sweepstakes).

This is not an exhaustive list; and to some extent, what you gather and how you use it may be covered by your privacy policy rather than by state or federal law.  It is increasingly important to understand and follow you privacy policy, however, because several companies have been investigated (and fined) by the Federal Trade Commission for not doing so.

How and Why Do You Use Sensitive Data?

Understanding how you obtain this information and how you use it is an important goal.  Your audit should consider on-boarding of employees and customers, online interactions with customers (sign-up forms, e-mail communications, etc.), electronic transmission of files and data in the normal course (such as to cloud storage vendors), payment processing measures, and other electronic/online forms of data use and gathering.  These are important to know, because they can help you pinpoint places to look for a leak if you ever have a problem.

They also can help you consider whether you actually need all the information you gather: do you need customers' e-mail addresses for recurring communication, for instance, or could you dispose of them after a single use (such as making of restaurant reservations)?  In other words, do you actually use the sensitive data you collect, or is collecting it a hold-over or a case of "maybe we'll find a use for it one day"?  If you can limit what you collect, you will by definition narrow the scope of any potential data loss.  Likewise, if you can limit the time for which you keep it, or the use you make of it, you may limit any exposure you have (especially under any privacy policies you may have in place).

There is a term in the industry for these considerations: Privacy By Design.  It means pretty much what it says, that a system involving sensitive data was designed with data privacy (and security) in mind, and that collection, use and storage are limited to only what is necessary.  Using PbD principles to understand your data and your habits can make your workflow more efficient; and they can give you some peace of mind about what you face in any data loss or breach.

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