Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week 6: IPO’s, Shareholder Rights, Online Privacy Legislation, New Seattle Tech Incubator, etc.

IPO’s and Shareholder Rights

Carlyle Group to Ditch Provision That Would Have Restricted Shareholder Rights Two weeks ago, in the Corporate Governance Lawyer’s blog (an iVLG satellite blog), we wrote about how the Carlyle Group’s IPO may have massive implications for shareholder rights. Their registration statement included a mandatory arbitration provision that would have prevented shareholders from filing lawsuits. However, last Friday the Carlyle Group decided to ditch the controversial provision. Many, myself included, are speculating that the Carlyle Group abandoned the provision after pushback from investors.

Online Privacy Legislation

Report: Congress Unlikely to Pass Comprehensive Online Privacy Laws in 2012 A Bloomberg BNA report suggests that while online privacy legislation remains a frequently discussed topic on Capitol Hill, any comprehensive legislation on the subject is unlikely to...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Five: Initial Public Offerings, Insider Trading, Technology Contracts, Corporate Finance

Initial Public Offerings

Facebook Files Registration Statement As I’m sure you’ve heard, Facebook filed its registration statement today. The social networking giant is looking to raise $5 billion in a public stock sale that could occur this spring. Depending on demand from potential shareholders, the company could be valued at anywhere from $75 billion to more than $100 billion. The float (the publicly traded equity) of 5%, if the valuation ends up near the $100 billion mark, is unusually low for an IPO, and suggests that Facebook went public at least in part because it was hitting the 500 shareholder mark that increases regulatory requirements regardless of a company’s public or private status. Also, the company already has nearly $4 billion in...

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Business Startup

Amending Online Terms of Service

A New Way for Consumers to Negotiate Favorable Terms of Service Online service providers typically require users to agree to their terms of service before rendering any services. Every time you sign up for a new online service you have to click “I Agree” to an agreement that can easily exceed 20 pages in length and is usually both legally binding and widely ignored. Most consumers probably believe that they have to agree to those exact terms in order to be able to use the service. But this may not be the case any longer.

A new online bookmarklet may allow consumers of web-based products to amend terms of service agreements. The program TOSAmend, designed by web application builder Kevin Owocki, is...

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Business Startup

News Roundup 2012 Week Four: Apple, Executive Compensation, Online Privacy, Venture Capital

Apple in the News

Apple has huge quarter; launches revolutionary textbook platform; includes draconian terms in book publishers’ end user license agreement

Lots of Apple news this week. The technology giant posted its best quarter ever with revenues of $46.3 billion per quarter and a $13.87 net profit per share. The company sold 37 million iPhones and over 15 million iPads.

Apple also had exciting news about launching a new platform for textbooks. Apple has partnered with text book producers such as McGraw-Hill to make interactive textbooks for iPads. Textbooks in this format will be cheaper, easier to update, more environmentally friendly, and more portable. The interactivity and format will surely be a better and more exciting platform for those trying to learn...

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Intellectual Property

Bid Farewell to SOPA

The chief sponsor of SOPA, Lamar Smith (R-Texas), reported Friday that SOPA will be pulled “until there is wider agreement on a solution.” Smith said he has heard all the criticism andconcerns regarding the proposed anti-piracy legislation. He said “it is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

It’s not surprising that the bill was pulled Friday, following widespread Internet protests, White House opposition, and several key players in Congress dropping their support for SOPA and PIPA. Both bills have been pulled for now.

It’s interesting how quickly things change in Congress. Just two days ago, Smith told the Wall Street Journal that he would...

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Intellectual Property

Co-Sponsors of SOPA and PIPA Abandon Ship

As promised, we’re bringing you the latest SOPA (and PIPA) updates. The latest news came late in the day Wednesday, a day where major sites including Wikipedia, and Reddit (and the Google banner) blacked out their sites to protest the overly broad anti-piracy legislation, SOPA and PIPA. SOPA co-sponsor Ben Quayle (Arizona), and PIPA co-sponsor Marco Rubio (Florida) announced they will no longer support the bills. Sen. Quayle pulled his name Tuesday, while Sen. Rubio didn’t pull his name until Wednesday.

Sen. Rubio announced his withdrawal through Facebook, noting that he believed the bill was being rushed through Congress and is likely to have unintended consequences if passed. Rubio is also trying to persuade his fellow co-sponsor, Harry Reid (Nevada), to...

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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

Top Five News Stories: 11/24-11/30

Amazon & Ebay Weigh In On Online Sales Tax Currently online retailers only have to collect state sales taxes if they have a physical presence in that state. If the retailer doesn’t collect the tax, it’s up to the purchaser to send the sales tax to the state. However, this rarely happens. Across the nation lost sales tax revenue from failure to collect online sales taxes is estimated at upwards of $23 billion.

There are a number of bills that have been introduced in Congress this year to create a national scheme for collecting state sales tax in online transactions (e.g., The Marketplace Fairness Act which is currently in the Senate). On Wednesday representatives from Amazon and Ebay testified before congress on...

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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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