Business

Top 5 Law Blogs You Should Follow

Let's fact it, the law has a tremendous impact on how you run your business and while you can count on us to stay informed, it is important that you also have your own eye on the ever-changing legal climate.  There are many law blogs out there and very little time to read them, so we took it upon ourselves to curate a top 5 list of blogs worthy of your attention.

1) Wall Street Journal Law Blog 

The Wall Street Journal is known for its heavy hitting headlines and ability to break trending news so it is natural that it's law blog would make our list.  The WSJ Law Blog compiles case law, updates and trends into an easily digestible format that will leave you feeling up to date on the current legal climate. 

2)  SCOTUS Blog

"SCOTUS" is an acronym for Supreme Court of the United States so it stands to reason that the SCOTUS Blog would address all you need to know about the U.S. Supreme Court's docket. This blog highlights key decisions and analyzes the reverberations those decisions have on future cases and the way our country interacts as a whole. 

3)    Election Law Blog 

Author, Rick Hasen is a Professor of Law and Political Science at U.C. Irvine School who has taken his knowledge and passion for election law to the web.  He examines legislation, voting rights, the Supreme Court nomination process and everything else you need to know to stay informed this election season.  

4) Above The Law    

Above The Law is a cult favorite of first-year law students and seasoned legal professionals alike.  The blog takes on law firm culture and industry updates to give readers an insider look into the inner workings of the legal field.

5) Lawyerist

This blog is similar to Above The Law in that it is written from a legal insider's perspective. Lawyerist gets down to the details of running a practice, offers advice and profiles successful business models.  This blog is worth a read if you want to know what the legal industry is buzzing about. 


 

 

California Steps Up To The Plate: The Country's Strongest Wage Equality Bill Signed

On Tuesday October 6, 2015, Governor Jerry Brown signed the country's toughest wage equality bill into law. Effective January 1, 2016, California's Fair Pay Act is amended to add more teeth to the problem of wage equality.   

Here are the most important highlights from the Fair Pay Act: 

1. The new standard requires that employers must pay workers equal pay for substantially similar work. No longer is the comparable employee's title or even work location a factor. 

2. The burden is now on the employer to show that the wage differential is based one of more of the following factors:

a. A seniority system.

b. A merit system

c. A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality or production. 

d. A bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience. This factor shall apply only if the employer demonstrates that the factor is not based on or derived from a sex-based differential in compensation, is job related with respect to the position in question, and is consistent with a business necessity. For purposes of this subparagraph, “business necessity” means an overriding legitimate business purpose such that the factor relied upon effectively fulfills the business purpose it is supposed to serve. This defense shall not apply if the employee demonstrates that an alternative business practice exists that would serve the same business purpose without producing the wage differential.

2. Employees can complain to the Labor Board if they believe they have been paid less than employees for substantially similar work. The Labor Board will investigate the matter, keeping the employee's name confidential.

3. Employees can not be discharged or retaliated against for seeking to enforce this law.

4. An employer can not prohibit employees from disclosing their own wages, inquiring into another employee's wages and encouraging employee's from exercising their rights under the law.

If you have questions about the new changes to the Fair Pay Act call The Rad Firm, APC at 310-461-3766. 

An Employee By Any Other Name, is Still an Employee

Classifying employees properly is imperative to avoid liability.  Ensuring employees are classified and thus paid properly should be of chief importance when starting any business.  American Homes 4 Rent, a company that owns and rents out 37,000 single family homes across the U.S., learned this lesson when it was slammed with having to pay over $400,000 due to misclassification of their employees, the LA Times reports.  The U.S. Labor Department held that American Homes misclassified employees by changing their titles in order to avoid having to pay said employees overtime.  

If you are building your business and are planning to take on employees or if you are already running a business with employees, it is advised that you contact a lawyer to ensure that you are properly classifying and paying those employees.  The attorneys at The Rad Firm, APC can make sure your employment relationships run smoothly, in accordance with both state and federal laws.   Contact us at (310) 461-3766 to determine whether you are properly classifying and paying your employees.

 

LAX to Allow Uber and Lyft

As the less-expensive alternative to taxis, Uber and Lyft have taken over immediate transportation industry yet still are not allowed to pick up passengers from LAX.  All this could change though, as early as next month. Click here, to find out more about what this could mean for Uber and Lyft.

Are you in the Uber or Lyft industry and need advice about anything employment related? Feel free to give us a call.

The Perils of Periscope and Meerkat for Content Creators

Logos owned by Meerkat and Periscope.

Logos owned by Meerkat and Periscope.

Meerkat and Periscope are attempting to make live streaming fashionable. Despite reservations about poor quality video and grainy user footage, showcasing life in real time is unquestionably the next popular trend in social media. Technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace. Don't forget-- It wasn't that long ago that cellphone cameras were ubiquitous with low resolution photos, before their quality rivaled that of high-end cameras. It is only a matter of time before Meerkat and Periscope offers the premium viewing quality audiences have grown to expect from visual media. Unfortunately when there's a popular trend, someone is going to figure out how to game the system. In the case of Meerkat and Periscope, it's Internet Pirates. 

Are Meerkat and Periscope going to evolve as the preferred method of internet pirates? Generally, as in the case with YouTube, a take down notice is sent from a copyright owner and Youtube then removes the content. The owner of the channel who posted the video can then submit a response to explain why the video should be put back up. Studios and other large corporate content creators have entire departments dedicated to sending take-down notices to YouTube. Independent content creators, don't have the time or money to sit on YouTube, let alone Periscope or Meerkat to scan for piracy. Here are 3 hurdles independent content creators may need to overcome to try and stop the livestreaming of unowned content beyond the companies requesting users to report infractions. 

1) The Digital Millennium Copyright Act currently doesn't apply to live streamed content, only content redistributed. 

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is hardly a favorite legislation of internet piracy advocates. For much of the 21st century, it has been the act which empowers the US government to take down popular piracy sites in the name of content creators. 

One problem: the DMCA only applies to content that is recorded for redistribution for illegal means. In the case of Meerkat and Periscope, users are never recording content, yet the threat of illegal redistribution is equal to that of sites which host illegally recorded content. 

2) It's going to be difficult to prove that a user is sharing content illegally. 

Proving that a user is hosting illegal shared content may be of extreme difficulty due to current technological limitations.* As preferred in any case which goes to court nowadays, photo and video evidence can sway a jury or judge in ways simple argumentation may not. This is where an issue may erupt with these platforms, as any user who seeks to protect their rights will probably need to find a way to record content not meant for recording in order to prove that someone is illegally distributing content they do not own. Doesn't that sound like a chicken and egg situation? We think so.

3) We can't just rely on users.

Meerkat and Periscope's response has been to listen to user requests for copyright infringements. Once receiving word of a violation, the app shuts the offending user down in an attempt to curtail the damage already done. Both Meerkat and Periscope are operating on blind faith of users stepping up, which leaves a potential for abuse by users and the problem of illegally streamed content not being found by systems administrators. If the apps are focusing on users to step up, that is a surefire way to understand that current law is insufficient.

* Update June 23, 2015: Persicope began allowing replays of the live streams for 24 hours after the stream ends. 

 

A New Take On Uber

There is no way around it; entrepreneurs have to be creative. One entrepreneur created opportunity for himself when he turned his Uber gig into a way to get the word out about his real passion. Gavin Escolar came to the United States to start his jewelry business and ended up as an Uber driver to make an income. Gavin soon learned that his Uber car provided the perfect showroom for his jewelry. 

Gavin, based in San Francisco, found his passengers often asked him questions about himself during the drive. When Gavin mentioned his jewelry business, his passengers would ask for a business card to learn more. Gavin took it one step further and began to wear some of the jewelery in his line such as bracelets, so his passengers could see the jewelry in person. Gavin currently has brochures in the car for his passengers to peruse during the drive. Gavin went from using Uber to pay the bills to using the service to meet and connect with potential customers for his company. Last year, between Uber and his jewelry sales, Gavin made $252,000. 

The best part, Uber is completely on board, stating it helps to fuel their mission to support local economies. 

To learn more about Gavin's story, click here

What do you think about Gavin's ingenuity? 

Golf Caddies Bring Class Action Against PGA Tour

ODin /Flickr

ODin/Flickr

Golf caddies have brought a class action against Professional Golfers' Association Tour (PGA) for being forced to wear the logos of corporate sponsors without compensation. While the caddies are not hired by the PGA Tour, the caddies are required by the PGA to wear bibs that have corporate sponsor's logos on them. The complaint alleges that the PGA Tour makes $50 Million annually from the logo laden bibs. 

The complaint also alleges that golfers, the ones who actually hire the caddies, have been contacted to determine if they would agree not to terminate caddies who refused to wear the bib. 

You can check out the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California here.  

Has Cord-Cutting Finally Hit Its Stride

Scott Swigart /Flickr

The concept of cutting the cable cord has been an ever-growing trend over the past few years. As a cord-cutter myself, I enjoy the freedom to watch content when and where I choose for a much lower price than traditional cable. Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime have all become staples in the cord-cutter repertoire. Traditional content providers are finally understanding that cord-cutting is more than a passing phase. In late 2014, HBO announced that it would be offering subscriptions to its popular HBO GO app for users without the requisite cable subscription, and cord-cutters rejoiced. 

Dish Network became the most recent and interesting company to jump on the bandwagon when it announced its new app Sling TV in January 2015 . Sling TV allows cord-cutters to pay $20/month to have access to a bundle of cable channels. These 12 channels include CNN, ESPN, ESPN 2, Disney Channel, Cartoon Network, TBS, ABC Family, TNT, HGTV, and Food Network.  Users are only allowed to watch channels live and are not able to pause or rewind. The app is currently compatible with iOS, Android and Roku platforms. There are additional packages of channels that can be purchased for an additional $5. 

I'm interested to see how and if Sling TV takes off. I applaud Dish Network for actually paying attention to trends in the industry. Albeit a bit late, it's still the first of the cable/satellite providers to do so. The biggest drawback it seems is the inability to play shows when the user wants to. 

What do you think? Will Sling TV save Dish Network as the cord-cutting trend continues to grow?  

LA's New Entrepreneur in Residence Program Launches

downtown-skyline-daytime-712.jpg

On Monday May 2, 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the inaugural run of the Entrepreneur in Residence Program. The program lasts for one year and the entrepreneurs chosen will focus on building the economy and creating jobs in the in the city of Los Angeles.

This year's entrepreneurs are Krisztina "Z" Holly and Amir Tehrani.  Holly is the creator of the very first TEDx in 2009 entitled TEDxUSC, the founding executive director of Deschpande Center for Technological Innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an advisor to the Obama administration and the world economic forum.  Tehrani served as a US Delegate to the G20Y summit in France, co-chair of the G20 Summit in Washington DC, a founding board member of HUB Los Angeles and Co-Founder of the Legacy Foundation. We can't wait to see what these dynamic entrepreneurs will bring to the city of Los Angeles.

From Wash Rags to Riches: Downtown Los Angeles Carwash Owner Makes Big Bucks on his $500k Investment

The LA Times has reported that a one-time carwash owner is now a multi-millionaire.  No, this isn't the story of Walter White from Breaking Bad, it is a preview of great things to come for Downtown LA investors.  With all of the development, do you think he sold too soon?  Check out the full story by clicking here.

 

Foursquare Divides Into Two

Often times we see the large tech companies purchase or absorb smaller companies to build their overall brand and portfolio. Today Foursquare decided to do something a little different when it announced that it will be dividing the popular app into two separate apps. The first of these apps is called Swarm, an app that allows users to find nearby friends. Swarm allows users to still check-in to locations like good 'ol Foursquare was known for. Foursquare itself will be revamped and unveiled in its new form in roughly a month. The new Foursquare will no longer allow for check-in capabilities, but rather will present itself as a competitor to Yelp. 

What are your thoughts on this new change to a giant in the social networking game?