Aaron’s knowledge of all things Internet has helped me personally on numerous occasions, and he’s the Internet lawyer I recommend 100% of the time. If it wasn’t for Aaron, I would have found myself in some very bad deals. Other lawyers could have certainly tried to help, but those other lawyers didn’t have the intricate knowledge of specific Internet ventures, like Aaron does, to make the most informed legal decisions.
International online defamation is one of the technology law issues d’jour. In the United Kingdom, Parliamentarians are battling it out over a new statute; Canada’s high court recently made the maple-leaf country’s first ruling on the liability of hyperlinks; and here in the United States, yet another Twitter libel lawsuit was withdrawn before it got to trial.
Hyperlinks Not Defamatory In Canada
Crookes v. Newton
After 15 years of widespread Internet use, the Supreme Court of Canada released a judgment on Crookes v. Newton, the country’s first decision on hyperlinking. At the crux of the case was Canada’s “publication rule” as it relates to defamation. Traditionally, the law of Canada’s land faulted any individual or entity that repeated or published defamatory content. In Crookes v. Newton, judges were asked to decide if placing a hyperlink to libelous information on a blog, website or social media platform constituted “publication.”
Unlike many defamation lawsuits, the facts of Crookes v. Newton were surprisingly straight forward: Jon Newton operated a multi-topic blog out of British Columbia. His website contained “deep” and “shallow” links to information about Wayne Crookes – information Crookes claims is false. Looking to clear his good name, Crookes sued Newton for defamation, arguing that the links constituted publication.
Court Says Merely Linking To Defamatory Content Isn’t Defamatory In It Of Itself
After much deliberation, however, Canada’s high court ruled that a strict “application of the publication rule [sic] is like trying to fit a square archaic peg into a hexagonal hole of modernity.” The majority judges agreed that a “deep” or “shallow” link, in it of itself, does not constitute publication and is analogous to a foot- or end-note. That being said, the ruling panel also made it clear that links near or around accusatory text “may still be considered publication and therefore defamatory” – not because of the reference link, but because of the surrounding context. In other words, in the court’s mind, a link by itself is A-OK, but if you write a summary or commentary about the information in the link, then you’re still on the defamation hook.
While the court’s decision is ostensibly forward thinking, they did leave a lot of bytes on the bench for later consideration, and pointedly mentioned that the ruling did not account for “newer” technologies, like automatic hyperlinking.
International Online Defamation: UK Parliament Debating New Online Libel Bill
New UK Defamation Law
Over in the United Kingdom, things are also heating up on the online defamation front. Now that parliament has successfully changed the law allowing Will and Kate’s first-born spawn — even if it’s a female — to rule, they’ve turned their attention to more pertinent issues, like the rights of UK citizens when it comes to free speech and slander.
The proposed defamation act primarily focuses on issues related to libel tourism, but the bill is also a bold attempt to marry Internet and print publishing standards.
Notice and Take-Down Procedure
The “notice and take-down procedures” outlined in the UK’s draft defamation bill may result in a worldwide ripple effect. If approved, website operators in the UK, upon receiving a complaint about possibly defamatory material on their site, will be required to publish the objection alongside the original article, post or comment. If the material in question was posted by an anonymous user, editors will be required to remove the copy in question, unless the original poster agrees to reveal their identity.
What About Whistle-Blowers?
You’re not alone if you just thought, “Hey wait a minute! What about whistle-blowers!?” Parliamentarians thought of that too, and did include an exception for cases where there is “an overriding public interest in publication.”
In the next breath, however, pro-bill legislators published a statement saying that they hope to promote “a culture shift towards a general recognition that unidentified postings are not to be trusted as true, reliable of trustworthy.” (One has to wonder if the societal push to associate anonymity with prevarication will have a chilling effect on the emerging online whistle blowing community, which has only recently begun to find its legs.)
International Defamation Laws: Oregon’s Twibel Lawsuit Denied
Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, Internet defamation lawyers were once again disappointed to hear that another possible Twitter libel case was dismissed before it reached the trial stage, thereby eliminating an opportunity to establish substantial “twibel” legal precedence.
Doctor v. Blogger Online Defamation Lawsuit
The cyberlibel case that “almost was” involved Oregon-based Dr. Jerry Darm and blogger Tiffany Craig.
The tussle began when Craig, after hearing one of Darm’s “ubiquitous” advertisements for his cosmetic procedure medical spa, Aesthetic Medicine, posted a negative missive about him on her blog. On her website, CriminallyVulgar.com, Craig pondered how consumers’ could research the records of doctors, like Darm, who advertise. Craig reasoned that if the average patient relies on ads, how can one follow up to determine the accuracy of said endorsements?
Craig did some digging and shinned a social media light on some potentially damaging information about the doctor. Specifically, Craig discovered Darm had been disciplined by several state medical boards for “inappropriate boundary violations” with female patients. If you believe the online chatter, Darm allegedly offered to provide off-hours vein surgery in exchange for sex. Presumably eager to share the fruits of her sleuthing, Craig tweeted about her Dr. Darm discoveries.
And Darm promptly filed a $1 million dollar online defamation lawsuit.
It was up to Judge Jerome LaBarre to decide if the case was fit for trial. Current U.S. defamation laws require that LaBarre determine if 1) Craig’s comments were made in a public forum, and 2) whether the subject matter of the allegedly defamatory material was a matter of public interest. If the judge determined that the answer to those two questions was “yes,” then there would be grounds for a free-speech defense.
LaBarre ruled that “any website that allows the posting of comments without a fee or some sort of admission process” is a “public forum.” He also decided that health is a matter of public concern. During the hearing, Craig’s lawyer, Linda Williams, moved for the case to be dismissed using anti-SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) regulations. Thomas McDermott, Darm’s lawyer, objected to Craig’s facility as a medical watchdog since she had never been a patient of his client.
Plaintiff Withdrew Case
A second hearing was set for Oct. 20th and McDermott was expected to argue age-old defamation standards in a 21st century context. But on Friday, Oct. 14, 2011, Darm dismissed the charges against Craig.
And that was that. Yet another social media defamation lawsuit cut short before it got good.
Speak With An International Online Defamation Lawyer
To keep abreast of the latest international Internet defamation laws news, sign up for the our newsletter. Each week we’ll give you the hits runs and errors on all things online defamation-related.
Dealing with an International online defamation situation? Not only will we litigate the case for you, but we also have an online marketing team in place to monitor your online reputation and work to bury the defamatory material in question.
Over the past several months, thousands of individuals have been targeted by porn studios for illegally downloading adult films. And while it’s true that downloading copyrighted material is illegal, the way in which many of these porn downloading lawsuits are being carried out is raising a few legal eyebrows.
It’s Illegal To File A Lawsuit You Have No Intention Of Actually Seeing Through
It’s against the law to file a lawsuit you have no intention of properly seeing through. The spirit of the law is tainted when lawsuits are pursued for mere intimidation purposes. Moreover, the technology being used to catch porn downloaders is questionable, as it relies on IP addresses, which can easily be duped or otherwise obfuscated. In fact, earlier this year, a blind man was accused of downloading porn.
Why Most Porn Downloading Lawsuits Are “John Doe” Suits
Most porn downloading lawsuits are filed as John Doe cases. This is done for a few reasons, but the core psychological impetus is money. The plaintiffs know their chances of getting a quick payout increase greatly if they don’t name names at first. After all, nobody wants their reputation mixed up with a pornography lawsuit. So, most folks just pay the fine – even when there’s reasonable doubt that they’re the actual culprit. Simply put, some innocent citizens are being shamed into paying a fine to avoid public porn downloading stains on their records.
Why Are Many Porn Copyright Cases Are Legally Sketchy?
“We think the suits are unfair,” began Rebecca Jeschke of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who went on to explain that many plaintiffs in pornography downloading lawsuits are “cutting corners” and “not giving people due-process rights.”
Since November 2010, over 16,000 anonymous downloaders have been sued by adult entertainment entities. Most of the lawsuits, however, are settled before the discovery phase of litigation.
Teensy Bit Hypocritical (Some People Think)
What makes these porn downloading lawsuits even more irksome is prosecuting porn executives propensity to remain elusive. As such, a certain irony arises; executives who actively dodge legal radars are going after average John Does (and let’s be honest, many are most likely the people who keep the adult industry alive in various ways).
High Error Rate
In addition to questionable monetary motivations, there is a significant error rate with many of these porn downloading lawsuits. IP-sniffing software is used to identify alleged porn perpetrators. The problem is that Internet protocol addresses are easily spoofed. Moreover, those who are not computer savvy may inadvertently have their wireless connections unprotected (there’s a joke here somewhere), which means anyone can access their IP address. In other words, if a plaintiff can prove they purchased a wireless router, in theory, that constitutes grounds for reasonable doubt.
But again, the shame associated with a porn downloading lawsuit means most people are intimidated out of pursuing their legal rights further – even when they are not in the wrong!
Contact A Lawyer With Online Copyright Defense Experience
If you have been targeted in a dragnet-style porn downloading lawsuit, give us a call. Our firm has helped others in the very same situation. Uber-discreet is our middle name, and we know the correct legal course of action to take when it comes to defending John Does in porn downloading lawsuits.
Last week, CNet’s Declan McCullagh highlighted some questionable steps made by the Department of Justice concerning online terms of service agreements. In short, the DOJ wants to change the CFAA so that violating an online user agreement is a federal crime.
If you just threw your computer a side-eye and wailed a “what you talkin’ ‘bout Willis,” you’re not alone. Because if the Department of Justice succeeds in pushing through the measure, it’ll have a profound effect on how we interact with the World Wide Web.
First, A Bit About The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act
The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act passed in 1986 — long before the advent of popular Internet use and social networking — in an effort to reduce high-level computer cracking.
The go-to bill when new computer hacking laws are desired, the CFAA has a long and distinguished amendment history. The act was broadened in 1988, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2002 and 2008. CFAA watchdogs believe that extending the reach of the bill one more time will render it unconstitutional.
Government Officials Insist We Need TOS Agreements to Fight “Serious Threats”
During last week’s hearing, the Department of Justice’s deputy computer crime chief, Richard Downing, said changes must be made to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act if the U.S. is going to get serious about fighting identity theft, privacy breaches, and misuse of government databases.
To the chagrin of many legal analysts, the crux of Downing’s reasoning boils down to intimidation through unreasonable prosecution. Deputy Downing argued that moving forward, it will be impossible “to deter serious insider threats through prosecution” and therefore prosecutors should have the ability to charge people based on violations of TOS agreements on websites.
Legal Luminaries Warn DOJ To Tighten Up Terms of Service Language
Testifying against the proposed amendment was Orin S. Kerr, a George Washington University Law School professor and a preeminent CFAA scholars. Kerr first began studying the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 1998 after joining the Computer Crime Division of the Department of Justice.
Back in August of this year, Kerr took his CFAA concerns to the government and asked that the language be shored up to ensure that the average Internet user could not be prosecuted for trivial violations of TOS agreements. The Senate agreed with Kerr and complied with his language-changing request — a move the DOJ found “worrisome.”
Imagine A World Where Violating TOS Agreements Is A Federal Crime
Since Google’s terms of service agreement stipulates that users must be of a legal age to enter into a contract, most people under the age of 18 would find themselves breaking the law via a simple Google search. And those who dabble in online dating would have to think twice about reporting a taller height or shaving a few pounds off their profile – after all, according to most dating website user agreements, lying about personal statistics is forbidden.
But, There Is A Compelling Argument For The DOJ Case
To the average freedom-loving American, these proposed measures sound outrageous and over-reaching. But many parents would love to see the DOJ succeed in this CFAA amendment undertaking – and it all has to do with cyberbullying.
Back in 2008, a federal judge dismissed the case of Lori Drew – a Missouri mom who allegedly became entangled into her child’s social life, set up a fake MySpace page to harass her child’s “enemy,” and sadly the child whom Drew tormented, committed suicide due to the cyberbullying.
In addition to acting as an cyberbullying deterrent, officials are looking to make this change as a way to establish legal equilibrium for computer fraud, mail fraud and wire fraud. Currently, mail and wire fraud are punishable with a 20-year sentence, whereas the max penalty for computer fraud is only five years.
Want to keep up with how the government is handling Internet law regulations? Sign up for the Kelly Law Firm newsletter. Do you need to talk to an attorney about your websites TOS agreements? Get in touch here.
“Protect [or create] American jobs,” is a common cry amongst politicians. And, to their credit, officials do try to deliver on their economy building promises (though we don’t always agree with their methods). But they all may be missing the boat with their latest attempt and job protection — the Protect Intellectual Property Act.
Yes, Intellectual Property Rights Are Important; But, So Are Personal Rights
Of course, intellectual property protection is worthwhile. But, it shouldn’t come at the expense of overwhelming government and corporate control.
According to the House Judiciary Committee, HR 3261 is summarized as follows: The bill modernizes our criminal and civil statutes to meet new IP enforcement
challenges and protect American jobs.
How Would the PROTECT IP Act work?
The bill proposes a four track solution to identifying, monitoring, and cracking down on foreign websites that peddle pirated intellectual property and counterfeit goods. The proposed act would blacklist and block these websites from doing business in the United States. The idea: sever access to a U.S. audience and voila! Problem solved, right? Not so fast.
Here’s the real deal with regards to PIPA.
Yes, we should have laws that protect intellectual property rights.
However, the bill, as it reads now, is too vaguely worded and leaves the door open for the federal government and corporations to wield unusual power.
Will PIPA Actually Prevent Anything? Probably Not.
Passing PIPA won’t do anything to solve the problem of people stealing intellectual property over the Internet. Folks who engage in the practice either a) already know how to access websites that have been blocked by the government or b) are adept at finding ways to get what they want.
This act could jar the Internet at its very core, resulting in less security, innovation, and ingenuity. PIPA could affect how you, an online entrepreneur, earn a living.
If you want to know more about how Internet law legislation can effect your online business, contact an experienced Internet lawyer today.
Internet Lawyer, Aaron Kelly, was featured on Channel 12 News discussing Facebook’s facial recognition software.
That big smack you just heard? It was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) whacking Google in the chops for not properly notifying Gmail users that they’d be automatically enrolled in the company’s answer to Facebook and Twitter, Google Buzz.
Google Buzz Didn’t Have An Opt-Out Mechanism, Originally
When Google launched Buzz in 2010, it did it by importing the personally identifiable information of Gmail users to create default accounts in buzz. The problem, according to the FTC and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), was the search engine giant’s failure to provide an opt-out mechanism. Since the company didn’t inform users of the automatic enrollment, users couldn’t opt out.
Do you have an Internet law issue similar to the Google buzz one described here? If yes, and you’re in search of a lawyer for consultation, get in touch with Aaron Kelly, founding partner of Kelly Warner Law. He’s an AV-rated attorney, one of the first lawyers to concentrate on Internet law matters and he’s a wiz with this type of stuff.
Arizona Business Formation Lawyer
As a child, I stood in awe of the skyscrapers of metal and glass that were home to some of the world’s biggest corporations. Today, I am equally amazed at the small businesses that are the driving force of our nation’s economy. No matter what kind of business it is, I always ask myself how it got to where it is today. The success of a business is rooted in its foundation, and like a tree, a business is only as strong as its roots. So in order to firmly supplant your business in its particular niche, it is important to take the time to understand the different options you have when forming a business.
In Arizona there are several choices to consider when starting a new business, some of which are:
- Limited Liability Companies (LLC)
- General Partnerships
- Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP)
- C-Corporations (C-Corp)
- S-Corporation (S-Corp)
It is important to remember that each of these entities provide advantages and disadvantages, depending upon your goals.
Limited Liability Companies (LLC) in Arizona
LLC Basic Structure
A Limited Liability Company, or an LLC, is a business entity separate and apart from its owners (also known as members). An LLC affords its owners corporate-like protection from personal liability but retains simplicity and flexibility in how it operates.
Benefits of Registering as an LLC
Since registering your company as an LLC shields your personal assets, it’s a popular business formation structure. The flexibility of forming an LLC is also enticing, as there are no requirements for annual reports, annual fees, or meeting minutes. It’s also easier to distribute profits and management duties. Finally, there are no federal taxes imposed on the LLC as a separate entity, thus eliminating the double taxation problem.
General Partnerships in Arizona
General Partnership Basic Structure
A general partnership is made up of two or more partners who are both responsible for the business. Each partner shares the assets, liabilities, and management responsibilities for running the business.
Benefits (& Drawbacks) of Having A General Partnership Business
Unlike a corporation, a general partnership does not require any formal filing or registration to exist. It merely takes two or more persons joining together to own and operate a business. The caveat, however, is that it can end just as easily as well. The death of any of the partners, or the desire to force a dissolution by any partner, can end the business.
Contact An Arizona Business Formation Lawyer
This article is meant to provide a broad overview of the types of business formation categories available in the state of Arizona. One entity may be more appropriate, for your situation, than the other. When approached with the choice of an entity, it’s important to seek the advice of a qualified Arizona business formation lawyer that can guide you through the process.
Limited Liability Partnership in Arizona
Limited Liability Basic Structure
Limited Liability Partnerships, or LLPs, combine elements of corporations and partnerships. An LLP provides some protection to its partners from personal liability. Unlike a general partnership, there are formal requirements and annual reports that must be filed. Profits from the LLP are distributed among the partners for tax purposes.
Benefits (& Drawbacks) of a Limited Liability Partnership
Limited Partnerships (LP’s) are similar to LLPs, except the partners are generally not liable for the debts of the partnership so long as they are restricted in how they are managing the business. In effect, a Limited Partner provides capital and receives a share of the profits, but does not participate in direct management of the business.
C-Corporation in Arizona
C-Corporation Basic Structure
A C Corporation (“C-Corp”) is what many of us think of when we hear the word “corporation”. A C-Corp is made up of an unlimited number of shareholders, and there are no restrictions on the types of owners. The C-Corp is managed by its officers, who report to the C-Corp Board of Directors. Generally, shareholders are not personally liable for the obligations of the corporation.
Benefits (& Drawbacks) of a C Corporation
As you can see, a C-Corp is very formal. It requires annual meetings of the shareholders and directors every year, and to keep minutes of those meetings. It is also subject to double taxation and significant governmental regulation.
S-Corporation in Arizona
S-Corporation Basic Structure
An S-Corp is a corporation that elects to be taxed under Sub-chapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. Like a C-Corp, it is a legal entity and has shareholders. Unlike a C-Corp, an S-Corp can have no more than 100 shareholders who must be U.S. residents, nor can it be owned by other C-Corps, trusts, LLCs, or partnerships.
Benefits (& Drawbacks) of an S-Corp
Under most circumstances, an S-Corp pays no income taxes and the corporations income or loss is passed through to the stockholder. One of the biggest disadvantages to an S-Corp is that it’s very formal. An S-Corp must be approved by the IRS, and it must hold annual meetings of shareholders and directors.
“A good company delivers excellent products and services, and a great company does all that and strives to make the world a better place.” – CEO of Ford Motor Co., William Ford Jr.
That’s exactly what I strive to do to make Kelly Law a great company as a business owner. Promoting social responsibility on the corporate level is something my firm and I believe to be one of the reasons why the firm exists. By getting out of the office and physically contributing to the community, instead of simply writing a check, our passion for practicing law continues to grow as we get out and among the people we serve. It’s humbling to see what kind of social impact I can have by making specific contributions to causes promoting justice. Such contributions come by volunteering on boards for not-for-profit organizations, and/or giving legal advice via volunteer (pro bono) lawyer programs. However, there is a limit with what we can do.
There are limits to the number of commitments your business can undertake no matter the intent for committing time and resources for benefitting the community. It’s important to strike the proper balance with operating your business, because giving more attention to one area and less than another can create problems. For example, by committing your business to too many causes, you might put a strain on the relationship you have with your clientele. Clients love it that your company is generous with its time and financial resources, but not to the detriment of their money and time. Economist and University of Chicago Professor Milton Friedman, a leading economic mind of the 20th century, observed that “by spending someone else’s money for a general social interest, the corporation is imposing taxes on one hand, and deciding how the tax proceeds shall be spent on the other…which is a governmental function.” While it’s important to cultivate social responsibility, however be careful not to do it to the detriment of the well-being of your company.
Having said that, bear in mind the overall purpose of what makes your business successful. It goes without saying, a business exists to earn money. Our vehicles aren’t gassed up on altruism, not to mention you can’t pay your mortgage with the good things others say about you. By starting your business with the intent of promoting social responsibility while advancing its plan for success, your businesses be ahead of businesses that don’t. Just be sure to find a balance between serving the clients who keep you in business and giving back in the community at-large.
The Gramm-Leach Bliley Act of 1999 (GLB Act) is the commonly used name for the Financial Modernization Act of 1999, which went into effect on July 1, 2001. “The GLB” protects individuals’ pecuniary penetralia — and all financial, banking and consumer finance businesses must comply with its rules.
Business and Financial Institutions that Must Comply With the Financial Modernization Act (a.k.a., the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act)
- Securities Firms
- Insurance Companies
- Real Estate Appraisers
- Automobile Leasing Companies
- Travel Agencies connected to Financial Services
- Retailers that issue their own consumer credit cards
Which Federal Agencies Deal With Gramm-Leach-Bliley Issues?
Several federal agencies are charged with the task of enforcing the GLB Act. States are also authorized to enforce the GLB Act.
- Office of the Comptroller of Currency;
- Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System;
- Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation;
- Office of Thrift Supervision;
- Securities and Exchange Commission;
- National Credit Union Administration and
- Federal Trade Commission (most online marketers and businesses would fall under the Federal Trade Commission).
Sections of the GLB Act
The Financial Modernization Act of 1999 is comprised of three sections:
- the Financial Privacy Rule,
- the Safeguards Rule, and
- the pre-texting provisions section.
GLB Act: Financial Privacy Rule
The Financial Privacy Rule outlines how a consumers’ financial information must be collected and disclosed. The Rule applies to all financial services companies and isn’t limited to banks or federal financial institutions.
Consumers v. Customers: An Important Financial Modernization Act Distinction
One of the most significantly important definitions set forth by the Financial Privacy Rule is the defining difference between a consumer and a customer.
- A consumer is someone who obtains the services of a company for personal or household reasons, such as services provided by a check-cashing store.
- A customer is someone who is in a long-term financial services relationship with a financially based company, such as a mortgage obtained from a lending institution.
Only customers of the financially oriented company are entitled to a copy of the Financial Privacy Rule automatically. Consumers are only entitled to an automatic copy of the Rule if the company shares information with an independent third party.
Data and Privacy Disclosure Statements A Must
The Privacy Rule requires businesses to provide a clear and concise disclosure statement about how financial and identifying information is collected, handled and shared. And no, posting one on a wall in the company break room or posted on an unknown Web page does not satisfy the requirement.
Customers and consumers must also have the right to opt-out of information sharing. The financial institution is required to provide a simple and obvious opt-out method, such as a pre-printed form to mail in or a toll-free number to call.
Requiring the customer to compose a letter and mail it in to the company in order to opt-out is not allowed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Modernization Act.
GLB Act: Safeguards Rule
The Safeguards Rule of the GLB Act requires companies to have an operational and effective digital security system to protect consumer financial data. To state it bluntly, Computer servers can be vulnerable to hackers. The GLB says that any company storing private financial data must have some sort of system in place to combat security breaches.
GLB Act: Pretexting Provions Rule
The pretexting provisions target parties that collect sensitive and private consumer information under false pretenses.
The purpose of the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act is to protect consumer privacy and safeguard their personal and financial information from third parties. It does not, however, provide a means for individual lawsuits against violating businesses.
Speak With A Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Lawyer
Need to speak with an attorney who has experience with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act? If yes, get in touch with Kelly / Warner Law. We’re one of the first law firms in the U.S. to concentrate on Internet law matters and therefore have considerable knowledge of GLB mechanics.
In search of a solvent for the 2008 financial crisis, in 2010, lawmakers waved through the Small Business Jobs Act. Why jump-start the small business sector instead of bolstering the big boys? Because for the past 15 years, small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) have generated close to 65% of all new jobs.
Moreover, the 2008 $825 billion stimulus package didn’t do much in the way of small business stimulation, so politicians wanted to rectify the oversight.
Provisions Of the Small Business Jobs Act
- A permanent increase in the size of the maximum loan available under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs from $2 million to $5 million; a corollary increase in the maximum loan amount available through the 504 loan program specifically targeted at manufacturing from $4 million to $5.5 million.
- A permanent increase in the micro-loan cap from $35,000 to $50,000 specifically designed to help entrepreneurs and startups.
- A temporary increase in the loan amount available to SBA Express loan recipients from $350,000 to $1 million.
The bill also introduced eight significant tax cuts for small businesses:
- The elimination of all capital gains taxes for small business investments held five years or over.
- An increase in the write off for capital investments from $250,000 in Year One and $25,000 in Year Two to $500,000, and increasing the threshold for these write-offs to $2 million.
- An extension of the 50% bonus depreciation through the close of 2010.
- A health insurance deduction for the self-employed.
- Simplified rules regarding the deduction of cell phones and cell phone-related expenses.
- A temporary increase in the deduction for start-up costs from $5,000 to $10,000 (with a ceiling of $60,000.)
- For certain small businesses, the ability to offset taxes – including the Alternative Minimum Tax – through business credits from the past five years.
- A decrease in penalties for tax errors that disproportionately affect small businesses and small business owners (particularly sole proprietors.)
Speak With A Lawyer About Issues Related To The Small Business Jobs Act
Counter-intuitive as it might sound, historically recessions have been excellent times to launch startups. Just ask FedEx.
Don’t launch a startup without first consulting an attorney to make sure your plan and business are on the right side of the law. And remember: provisions in the Small Business Jobs Act can be used to your advantage; get in touch with a startup lawyer to find out how.