The High-touch Legal Services® Blog…for Startups!

© 2009-2015 Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law

“Happy Birthday” May Be in the Public Domain, After All

Photo of lit candles on a cake that spell "Happy Birthday"You probably have sung Happy Birthday [to You]” countless times. This post is about a company that has been collecting royalties from that song and the possibility that those royalties soon may stop.

In 1893, sisters Mildred Jane Hill and Patty Smith Hill published a collection of children’s songs. One of the songs – with the tune that we now know for “Happy Birthday to You” – was “Good Morning to All”.

Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all.

While no one knows for sure who wrote the “Happy Birthday” lyrics, their first known publication was in 1912. (more…)

FTC Endorsement Guides FAQ Updated

Seal of the Federal Trade Commission, this post being about the FAQ for the FTC Endorsement GuidesSeveral years ago, I wrote about the FTC Endorsement Guides. (These are known more formally as the Federal Trade Commission Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.) This post discusses a recent update to the FAQ for the FTC Endorsement Guides.

Scope of the FTC Enforcement Guides

The following excerpts from the Introduction to the FAQ provide a succinct overview of the scope of the FTC Endorsement Guides. (more…)

What is an Operating Agreement?

The first page of an operating agreementI have used the term “operating agreement” in quite a few of this blog’s posts. However none of those posts explains in detail what a limited liability company (LLC) operating agreement must contain. This post provides that information.

The required contents of an operating agreement depend on the state in which the LLC is formed.

Operating Agreement – California

In California, where I practice, the definition of an operating agreement is set forth in Corporations Code Section 17701.02(s). (more…)

What is the Origin of the Copyright Symbol (©)?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about the copyright symbol "©"This post about the origin of the copyright symbol (©) is based on my answer to a Quora question. See Why are the symbols of “©” and “®” used to identify copyrights and registered trademarks?

Copyright Symbol as Part of Copyright Notice

The copyright symbol “©” can be part of a copyright notice under current copyright law. See 17 USC Section 401(b). (For more information about copyright notices, see Copyright Protection in Once Easy Lesson .) (more…)

May a Minor Form an LLC?

Photo of cheering children, symbolizing "May a minor form an LLC?This post – asking “May a minor form an LLC?” – is a companion to May a Minor Form a Corporation?

I have been wanting to write this post for more than two years, ever  since writing the corporation post referenced above. However, as  explained further below, I felt uncomfortable doing so because I was  somewhat unsure of the answer. (more…)

Fraudulent Takedown Notice Leads to $25,000 Judgment

Logo for WordPress, which won a lawsuit about a fraudulent takedown noticeEarlier this month, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the author of a fraudulent takedown notice under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to pay more than $25,000.

U.K. Student Journalist Oliver Hotham has a blog on WordPress.com, which is operated by San Francisco-based Automattic Inc. (more…)

Why do legal documents use Shall rather than Will?

Logo for Quora, where Dana Shultz answered a question about using Shall rather than WillThis post, about why many legal documents use Shall rather than Will, is based on a Quora answer that I wrote. See Why was “should” substituted for “would” in the 1800s? For example, why did people say, “I should like to have some pie” rather than “I would like to have some pie”?

Future Tense – Shall vs. Will

Although few people other than linguists are aware of the following, proper use of shall or will in the future tense depends on whether the subject is the first, second or third person. For example: (more…)

Telling Facebook Friends Means Telling the World

Facebook logo for post about disclosing information to Facebook friendsThis post explains something that we all should know intuitively. If you disclose information to your Facebook friends, you potentially have disclosed it to the entire world.

Matthew Richard Palmieri was a contractor for the United States. He lost his industrial security clearance after the government investigated certain of his activities.

Palmieri brought suit (without a lawyer) against various government agencies and officials in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The suit identified 30 ways in which the defendants allegedly violated his rights. (more…)