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Business Law Articles

Practice the art of responding to negative reviews

As a business owner in the internet age, you know a negative online review can discourage people from using your business. Research from Mintel indicates 70 percent of Americans go online to seek out reviews before making a purchase. Data from BrightLocal suggest 84 percent of people trust an online review as much as a recommendation from a friend. There’s a distinct art in learning to respond to negative reviews in a way that can help,

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Get website content the right way

Content marketing is becoming a go-to tool for businesses, but generating enough quality content to keep your blogs and social media posts populated can be a challenging proposition. Here are some guidelines to avoid copyright infringement issues when buying and repurposing content. Assume copyright: When you find information, pictures, video or music online, you should always assume that material is protected. Using content without permission can lead to copyright infringement lawsuits and monetary damages. Get permission:

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Know who owns your business IP rights

If intellectual property is a pivotal component of your business, you need to ensure you own the rights to that property. Demonstrating legal ownership does more than protect your IP from infringement; it adds to your business value when securing investors or new ownership. There are times in your business when you cannot assume ownership of certain intellectual property. Special consideration should be paid to IP as part of employee and contractor agreements, in third-party relationships

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Take caution when offering credit monitoring

If your business is involved in an information breach, you are not generally required to offer credit services to your customers. However, many organizations do, offering services such as credit reporting, credit monitoring, identity theft insurance, and identity restoration services. Recognize that many data breaches do not actually involve risk to the consumer’s credit. Offering such services do not protect your customer from any harm that might result from the breach. What’s more, some courts have

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Text messages could be binding contract

As more business communication is conducted via text messages, businesses need to be aware that they can have legal ramifications. In the eyes of the law, text messages may not be as informal as you think. An issue is emerging regarding whether a text message can constitute a binding contract. Many states have no legislation or case law on the issue. However, most states have adopted the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act, which stipulates that electronic writing

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Data security and the vulnerability of the company car

By now, you’ve probably heard the horror stories about hackable cars. The most publicized concern is that digitally connected cars are vulnerable to hackers who could disable the engine or even take control of the steering. But while this kind of physical threat grabs headlines, a different risk goes relatively unmentioned: data security. According to a recent post in the online publication Motherboard, our cars may be housing an alarming cache of unsecured data. Reportedly, a

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OSHA recordkeeping rule stalled

In May of 2016, OSHA enacted amendments to its recordkeeping regulation that would require establishments with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA 300 logs and 301 forms electronically. But now that change is in limbo. At the time the change was announced, OSHA said the forms would be published on its website, with employee names and other personal information redacted. According to the agency, “making injury information publicly available will ‘nudge’ employers to focus on

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Tax reform impacts pass-through entities

Previously, net taxable income from pass-through business entities such as sole proprietorships, partnerships, certain LLCs, and S corporations was passed through to owners and taxed at their standard rates. Now, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates a 20 percent deduction for this business income. The proposals on pass-through business entities were a hot-topic among lower and middle market businesses and were closely watched during the final months of negotiation over the tax reform bill. The

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Businesses benefit under tax reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act contains a bevy of tax breaks, and most business owners will come out ahead. However, some tax breaks were reduced or eliminated to make room for others. Here are some of the most significant changes for businesses:

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Internet contracts must be apparent to be enforceable

If you do business using the internet, you want to ensure your internet contracts are enforceable. To do that, terms need to be presented in such a way that users have reasonable knowledge of them. Your internet agreements may cover a range of terms including: allowable use of the site, privacy policies, subscriber agreements, terms of sale, and credit card agreements. These agreements can impact where a lawsuit is adjudicated and whether arbitration is mandatory, among

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