New York Extends Its Right of Publicity and Penalizes Sexually Explicit Deepfakes

By: Howard Zaharoff On November 30, 2020, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Senate Bill S5959D, effective on May 29, 2021, to amend New York law in two ways. First, the bill establishes the right of publicity for certain deceased individuals, and second, it provides a private right of action for unlawful dissemination or publication of certain sexually explicit depictions. …

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FTC Issues 6(b) Orders to Social Media and Video Streaming Services

On December 14, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it had issued orders to nine social media and video streaming companies, requiring them to provide a special report on data collection, advertisement, and user engagement practices. By a vote of 4 to 1, the FTC issued the orders to conduct a study, authorized by section 6(b) …

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IoT Baby-Steps: The Feds Enact Cybersecurity Improvement Act

By: Howard Zaharoff On December 4, 2020, the Internet of Things (IoT) Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2020 (H.R. 1668, 116th Cong.) (the “Act”) was signed into law. This bipartisan bill requires the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to create minimum cybersecurity standards for IoT devices purchased or used by the federal government. Guidelines are to be developed over the next several months, so …

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Trademark Fees Increasing January 2, 2021

By: Stacey Friends and Sean Detweiler For the first time in three years, The USPTO is setting and adjusting Trademark and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board fees through its Final Rule, effective January 2, 2021. The goals of the fee increases, as stated by the USPTO, are to: Enhance the quality of examinations Achieve optimal examination times Invest in modernizing USPTO systems and infrastructure …

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Small Business Administration Issues New Guidance That Impacts M&A Transactions Involving PPP Loan Recipients

By Matthew L. Mitchell and Scott R. Bleier     On October 2, 2020, the Small Business Administration (SBA) announced new guidelines that apply the SBA “Change of Ownership” procedures to the PPP context. As a 7(a) loan program, the PPP loans are subject to the same regulations that apply to 7(a) loans. These regulations …

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COVID-19 Alert: Massachusetts Extends Administrative Tax Relief for Small Businesses

By: Joe Hunt On September 15, 2020, Massachusetts announced the extension of administrative tax relief measures for certain small businesses. Sales taxes, meals taxes, and room occupancy taxes originally due to the Commonwealth from March 2020 through April 2021 are deferred until May 2021. To qualify for the deferral, Massachusetts businesses must have collected less …

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Amanda Schreyer Quoted in Business Insider on Influencer ‘Usage Rights’

Business Insider recently interviewed Morse media and marketing attorney, Amanda Schreyer, along with several brand influencers and managers, in regards to 'usage rights,' a highly-negotiated part of brand contracts. What are 'Usage Rights'? Generally regarded as one of the most important things influencers should consider when signing a contract with a brand, the term itself …

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Protect Your Blogs and Posts: Copyright Office Announces New Group Registration Process for Short Online Literary Works

By: Howard Zaharoff Good things come to those who register their copyrights, including the rights to sue for infringement (you can claim copyright in any original work, but you can sue for infringement only if you’ve registered the work with the Copyright Office) and to recover statutory damages and attorneys’ fees when your registered work …

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PPP Loan Update: “Forgiveness Portal” Open; FAQs Posted

By Matthew L. Mitchell and Scott R. Bleier     On August 10, 2020, the Small Business Administration (the “SBA”) opened the “Forgiveness Portal," permitting lenders of Payroll Protection Program (“PPP”) loans to accept forgiveness applications from PPP loan recipients. In addition, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on PPP Loan Forgiveness (the “FAQs”) were published, and …

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Payroll Tax Memo: Deferring Payroll Tax Obligations in Light of the Ongoing Pandemic

By: Joe Hunt On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order, the Payroll Tax Memo, which seeks to defer the due date for the employee portion of federal payroll taxes, originally due September 1, 2020, until December 31, 2020. Under the Payroll Tax Memo, employers are allowed (but not required) to defer payment of …

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