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

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

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…)

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…)

SVForum East Bay Series: Improving Fundability with Social Media

SVForum logo

The evening of Wednesday, April 18, I will moderate SVForum’s East Bay Series program “Improving Fundability with Social Media”.

Program description:

Social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ have clearly woven themselves into the very fabric of our personal and professional lives. Their simple and intuitive user experience, and the effective and efficient means they provide to connect people, brands, and consumers are transforming the very way business is conducted. It’s natural that so much of the innovation funded by the venture community is connected in some way with Social Media, whether it’s to reach customers, respond to service issues, or build buzz about new products and services. Our panel will discuss how companies are adopting–and adapting these platforms to increase traffic, conversions, and profit as they extend relationships and make every interaction part of their experience -? and how entrepreneurs can take advantage of this trend to build successful new products and ventures. Join us and learn how having a Social Media platform can impact or improve your start-up’s potential for raising critical funding.


Facebook Ads can be Electronic Mail for CAN-SPAM Purposes

Facebook logo

When I wrote about the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the effort to limit unsolicited commercial e-mail (Commercial E-mail and CAN-SPAM: What You Need to Know), I noted that “One of the greatest challenges in complying with CAN-SPAM is figuring out exactly which communications are covered.” Much to my surprise, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently held that that certain Facebook ads were electronic mail for the purposes of CAN-SPAM!


Don’t Use Social Media if You Have Something to Hide

Groupon logo

A client sells high-quality collectibles manufactured from authentic sports-related materials (game-used balls, uniforms, arena flooring, stadium seats, etc.). The company ensures that all materials are licensed by the applicable university or professional sports organizations so it can use the organizations’ names and trademarks in promotional activities. Some competitors do not pay for the required licenses, however – and one of these recently was caught as the result of a Groupon promotion.


WSJ: Lots of Money for Social Startups logo

In an article published yesterday (“Money Rushes Into Social Start-Ups”), the Wall Street Journal reported that VCs are investing in companies that are taking social networking from computers to mobile phones. The rationale, according to the article (emphasis added):

Behind the spurt of new services is also the idea that the phone, carried by people at all times, can reinvent the notion of a social network by sharing more real-time information about where people are, what they’re seeing and even who they’re around.

Other points made in the article:

  • Phones allow social experiences that are more personal in nature.
  • Smartphones and tablets now are numerous enough that users can share experiences widely.
  • At least one app completely dispenses with the idea of privacy – whatever you have in that app is shared automatically with everyone nearby who also has that app.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

WSJ: Web Start-Ups Get Upper Hand Over Investors logo

In an article published today (“Web Start-Ups Get Upper Hand Over Investors”), the Wall Street Journal reported (emphasis added) that “As venture capitalists scramble to get a piece of Silicon Valley’s new Web boom, entrepreneurs … are finding they have the upper hand.

Here are some of the points the article makes about the latest Web boom:

  • As VCs search for the next Facebook or Twitter, some entrepreneurs are positioned to have a greater say about how much they raise and deal terms.
  • Bidding among VCs is driving up the price of many deals.
  • Angel investors are driving up the prices of the tiniest early-stage companies.
  • Some entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the situation by seeking the best advisors rather than the greatest amount of money.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law? +1 510 547-0545? dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.

Wikileaks and Apple – an Opinion

WikiLeaks logo

The following is taken almost verbatim from my answer to a Quora question and the comments that followed. Q. Was the WikiLeaks iPhone app really violating the Apple App Store “Terms of Service”? Apple spokesperson stated that ?Apps must comply with local laws and may not put an individual or group in harm?s way.? Is that actually the case?

A. Yes (in my opinion). Section 3.2(b) of the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement says:

You will not use the Apple Software or any services for any unlawful or illegal activity, nor to develop any Application which would commit or facilitate the commission of a crime, or other tortious, unlawful or illegal act[.]


What Lawyers Want from Social Media

As previewed in last Friday’s post, over the weekend I presented “Social Media for Lawyers” with colleagues Mark Ressa and Brett Burlison at the State Bar of California Annual Meeting.

I estimate that we had approximately 60 attendees. (Pretty good, considering that there were prior presentations on social media at the four-day conference!)

Attendees’ area of greatest interest was search engine optimization (SEO) – how to show up on the first page (preferably, high on the first page) of relevant Google searches.


Presenting “Social Media for Lawyers” at State Bar Annual Meeting

On Saturday (September 25), at 2:15 pm, I will be on a panel presenting “Social Media for Lawyers” at the State Bar of California’s 2010 Annual Meeting. With 25% of my new clients during the past year coming directly from my online activities, I have been asked to help fellow lawyers understand that the law must be practiced with an eye on the future, rather than being stuck in the past.

As the sole business / transactional lawyer on the panel (Mark Ressa practices family law, and Brett Burlison is a personal injury lawyer), I have a different perspective from that of my colleagues. The topics that I will discuss include:

  • Blogging successfully
  • Using social media sites (LinkedIn, Avvo) to generate blog traffic
  • Developing an effective social media methodology (why, who, what, where, when, how)
  • Complying with ethical requirements (testimonials, confidentiality)

* * *

Follow-up: What Lawyers Want from Social Media discusses what I saw and learned at the session and provides access to our PowerPoint slides.

Dana H. Shultz, Attorney at Law  +1 510 547-0545  dana [at] danashultz [dot] com
This blog does not provide legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer directly.