Business Startup

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and Your Business

Are you about to launch a new app with youth appeal? Are you hoping that your new game will trend with tweens? Hold on—you might have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The government isn’t known for being on the cutting edge with technology, but the Federal Trade Commission seems to be well aware of apps such as Candy Crush and Snapchat. And it is continuously developing rules to regulate online services that collect data from users, especially children.

Just last year, revisions to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act took effect. The rule broadened its definition of personal information to include photos, audio recordings, geolocation, and persistent identifiers, including cookies that track activity online.

In this post, we’ll...

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Business Startup

iVLG News Roundup Week 25: Securities Regulation; Mergers and Acquisitions; Local News; Etc.

Securities Regulation

Congress Examining IPO Process in Wake of Facebook Offering A bipartisan group of congressional members are calling for an overhaul of the initial public offering process after Facebook’s stock dropped precipitously after it became listed on a public exchange. In a June 19, 2012 letter to Mary Schapiro chairman of the SEC, Rep Darrell Issa chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, expressed concern that under existing securities laws:

“underwriters have discretion to determine the price of an IPO, while subject to conflicts of interest stemming from economic relationships with those institutional clients that ultimately will purchase the bulk of an issuance. In conjunction with this discretion, communications restrictions and legal liability enable underwriters to provide information to institutional...

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Business Startup

Social Media Legal Issues: (Post Number 3): Privacy Law, Privacy Policies, and Your Company’s Social Media Strategy

Privacy law is important for the vast majority of business owners and managers to understand, particularly those whose businesses operate online and employ social media as a marketing tool. Privacy law is not one of the areas of law we consider “overhyped,” as running afoul of privacy laws can be exceptionally costly to your business. Accordingly, your social media strategy, including your company’s social media policy, should be created with privacy law in mind.

Unfortunately, “privacy law” is also an incredibly broad subject that cannot be given due treatment within the confines of anything less than a legal treatise. Nevertheless, keeping the answers to the following questions in mind as you define your social media strategy (and your online strategy generally)...

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Business Startup

It’s Time to Grow Your Business: A Discussion on Franchising and Other Business Expansion Options

Is 2012 the year you’re going to expand your business? If so, have you considering franchising your business? Franchising your business is, arguably, the most successful way to increase your distribution channels. Most business owners understand the idea behind franchising, but many of those business owners aren’t aware of the extensive federal regulations pertaining to franchising a business.  Today’s post discusses some of the legal requirements you should be aware of when deciding whether or not to franchise your business, initial steps you can take to simplify the franchising process, and some other alternatives for growing your business.

What’s a Franchise? It’s important to understand what exactly a “franchise” is. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a franchise is any continuing...

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Business Startup

Social Media Legal Issues: (Post Number 2): Honesty, Transparency, and the FTC’s Impact on Your Social Media Strategy

“Advertising” and “marketing” via social media are an inherent part of any business’ social media strategy. After all, devoting  your valuable resources (time, money, and talent) to a social media campaign without garnering business is unsustainable. Like those who employ traditional media, companies who employ social media to advertise and market their business must be concerned with the laws and regulations that govern how companies can present information to consumers. But the viral nature of social media and the fact that your employees may be “advertising” and “marketing” without management’s knowledge  can translate to costly mistakes for your company. The Federal Trade Commission‘s (“FTC”) “Section 5” and the regulations promulgated under its authority largely govern how your business must conduct...

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Business Startup

Creating a Social Media Policy?: An introduction to our series about the legal issues you should consider and how to avoid the legal hype.

At some point every business will need to decide whether to adopt a comprehensive social media strategy, including creating guidelines for employees to follow while using social media. While not every company will necessarily require such a strategy, the vast majority will benefit from adopting social media as a marketing tool. Accordingly, the vast majority of businesses will want to define how social media is used to promote their brand. And even those companies that decide not to adopt a comprehensive social media policy to promote their brand will still want to define how employees and others within the company must behave while using social media (even in their personal lives), in order to prevent costly social media gaffes.

The web...

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Business Startup

Privacy Policies in the U.S.

A privacy policy discloses some or all of the ways a company gathers, uses, discloses and manages customer data. Businesses that collect personal information from customers should adopt a comprehensive privacy policy in order to maintain full disclosure.

There is currently no specific federal regulation establishing universal implementation of privacy policies in the United States (U.S.). However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces terms of privacy policies under Section 5 of the FTC Act which prohibits unfair or deceptive marketing practices. The FTC’s Fair Information Practice Practices provide details relating to critical issues that should be covered by a company’s privacy policy, including notice, choice, access, security, and enforcement.

Notice: data collectors must disclose their information practices before collecting personal information from...

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