Start-ups often find themselves in a David vs Goliath situation after an initial taste of success. Corporate giants often seize every opportunity to maximise and secure their competitive advantage and market monopoly or power. The years of legal dispute between Telstra Corporation Limited (“Telstra”) and Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd (“Phone Directories”, now Local Directories Pty Ltd), demonstrate how relentless corporate giants can be. Start-ups need to be prepared to respond in kind.
How can the fair use doctrine in U.S. copyright law be used for academic research? We recently and successfully advised an Australian academic on this subject.
Our client had prepared a major, lengthy and heavily illustrated scholarly article for publication in a U.S. academic journal.
Copyright law has been designed so that only some uses of copyright work require permissions or fees paid.
The law balances the rights of copyright work owners or rights holders with copyright users. The balance is like a scale that has operated internationally and for centuries.
On one side of the scale, copyright owners or rights holders have exclusive legal rights to their work.
Private companies need to be very careful about payments to their shareholders or associates.
This is especially so at the close of each financial year when getting it wrong can have disastrous future consequences.
In essence, if it is not properly arranged under an appropriate agreement, borrowing money or assets from your own company is a risk due to Division 7A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 (Cth).
This is a brief technical guide to those risks under Australian tax law and how to avoid them.
There are several small business concessions in Australian tax law. They cover many types of tax - income tax, capital gains tax, GST, fringe benefit tax and payroll tax.
When business decisions are made many businesses lose the tax benefits of small business concessions without realising it at the time. They should have sought tax law advice.
I've learned a great deal from competition strategy specialists as a contract drafter for now 30 years. This is because the best contracts I draft apply business model innovation, or other elements that build or at least support a client's competition strategy.
This is the case even in drafting simple confidentiality agreements (aka non-disclosure agreements).
In drafting more sophisticated contracts I often blend concepts I draw from separate industries and then re-model into clauses and other contract language. This creates novel contracts, that solve problems in a new ways. This feeds my healthy addiction to learning about drivers for competition.
The Corporations and Markets Advisory Committee (“CAMAC”) has released its very useful though wordy final report titled “Crowd sourced equity funding”. This is probably its last before being abolished by the 2014-2015 federal budget.
The report follows CAMAC's discussion paper of September 2013 which received about 40 public submissions.
Internet access is a basic necessity in business, perhaps even of existence in civilisation. So it is important to carefully consider your contract to receive internet access services.
A recent survey of ISP use by ISP Below, found that “Around 90% of respondents say they would be lost without the internet. The majority rely on it for directions and nearly 60% look for places to have dinner or take a date. Almost a third check health symptoms online, and 80% head there first for cooking advice.”
Zareh Nalbandian has called for the 16.5% tax offset to encourage international projects to shoot in Australia to be increased to match the 30% incentive for visual effects work.
Nalbandian is the managing director and co-founder of Animal Logic, and NSW's first "creative laureate" (announced as part of the Vivid Sydney festival).
The Sydney Morning Herald recently report that the The Lego Movie, a product of Animal Logic's animation studio, "...has taken almost $500 million around the world, has the company negotiating to make both the sequel and Ninjago, a spin-off centering on Lego's ninja characters, for Hollywood studio Warner Bros."
I'll be keeping a watch for more news having been an adviser to film makers for decades, including software copyright advice for Animal Logic.
Throughout law school, law students are required to regurgitate case law and legislation in essays and exams. In a law exam, a problem is presented, and students only have to identify legal issues and apply relevant laws.
Law students graduate expecting work in a commercial law firm to involve tasks like this:
1. Client seeks advice on a particular area of law
2. Lawyer reads, listens and applies legal knowledge, avising and solving the client's problems.
3. Client follows that legal advice.
4. Lawyer bills, client pays, case closed.
Classic legal tasks one to four are only one dimension of what is required by clients, particularly start-ups and small and medium-sized businesses. These classic tasks were evolved in what has been called the purely bespoke or artisan era of legal practice.