Legal Updates

E-Commerce and the obligation to inform consumers about the ODR platform

All companies established in the EU, which are conducting e-commerce business, shall provide information about ODR (Online Dispute Resolution) and a link to the European Commission’s online platform ODR on their web sites, see http://ec.europa.eu/odr. This applies also when the company only offers its products or services to consumers on the Swedish market. Furthermore, the e-commerce company shall present their e-mail address and the web address and e-mail address of the Swedish National Board for Consumer Disputes (Sw.  Allmänna Reklamationsnämnden – ARN) on its web site. ARN has been appointed as the Swedish ODR institute. Information about the ODR platform and ARN shall also be provided in the company’s general terms and conditions.

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Equal employment opportunity rights of disabled persons

As a constant reminder to our staff and also as information available to clients with actual or intended activities within the territory of the Republic of Panama, we refer to the most important aspects of the latest reforms in our legislation concerning equal opportunities and considerations for disabled persons.  The reforms and new provisions enacted under Law 15 of the 31st of May, 2016 should always be kept in mind and under strict compliance.

 

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Supreme Court Rules That Former NLRB Acting General Counsel Served in Violation of Federal Law

On March 21, 2017, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the National Labor Relations Board’s former Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon served in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 3345, et seq. (“FVRA”) when he continued in that position after President Barack Obama nominated him for a full term as General Counsel.

By a 6 to 2 vote, the Justices affirmed an August 2015 decision by the D.C. Circuit, which found that Solomon improperly served as Acting General Counsel during the almost three-year period between January 2011 and late 2013 while his nomination for confirmation as  the Board’s General Counsel languished in the Republican-controlled Senate.  Ultimately, Obama withdrew Solomon’s nomination and put forward Richard F. Griffin, Jr., who was eventually confirmed on October 29, 2013.

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Fair go mate – Why funding of CLCs should be increased, not decreased

Community Legal Centres (CLCs) are independent, not-for-profit community organisations providing equitable and accessible legal services. They support those in our community who are disadvantaged socially, economically or culturally, and often provide their only access to legal services. In doing do CLCs correct societal imbalance and give support and a voice to those who otherwise would not have it.

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IP Court has clarified that the use of a “plot generating object” in a movie may constitute copyright infringement

In mid-February, the Russian Intellectual Property Court issued an interesting decision, in which it indicated when filmmakers have to obtain a copyright owner’s consent for use of a movie prop.

Under the auspices of the case, Pan Press Publisher filed a lawsuit against Ren-TV TV Channel and AN-film Production Company claiming that its book cover design was illegally used in an episode of a comic TV series.

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Will you be caught within the expanding cover of the Retail Leases Act?

The recent decision by the Supreme Court of Victoria in CB Cold Storage Pty Ltd v IMCC Group (Australia) Pty Ltd [2017] VSC 23 endorses a wider interpretation of what is considered a ‘retail premise’ for the purposes of the Retail Leases Act 2003 (Vic) (RLA). As a result of this decision, it is clear that the ‘ultimate consumer’ test could be satisfied by either commercial or private consumers and that most service businesses will be found to be involved in the ‘retail provision of services’ and subject to the RLA. As a consequence, leases which have previously been considered to fall outside the scope of the tenant friendly RLA provisions may, in fact, be regulated by its provisions, without landlords or tenants realising.

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States and online retailers continue to battle over sales tax laws

SOUTH DAKOTA

Less than a year ago, we wrote about a taxing provision that South Dakota lawmakers passed in an effort to quell revenue losses attributable to out-of-state internet sellers who do not have enough of a connection, or nexus, with the state to be subject to sales tax collection and remittance obligations. That law, SB 106, effective May 1, 2016, set a threshold of $100,000 of in-state sales, or 200 separate transactions, above which an out-of-state retailer would be required to collect and remit sales taxes.
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Pennsylvania: Department of Revenue retracts controversial letter ruling

Earlier this month, we explained the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue’s (Department) February 9, 2017, Letter Ruling SUT-17-001, which clarified the Department’s interpretation of Act 84 of 2016 (the Act). Among other things, the Act broadened the definition of “tangible personal property” to expand the list of items subject to the state’s 6 percent sales and use tax. The Letter Ruling made it clear that the tax would apply to canned computer software and related maintenance and support services, along with books, applications, games, music and audio.

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Michigan: Detroit codifies jock tax that includes travel and practice time

“Detroit finds a way to collect more income tax from pro athletes playing here,” reads the headline from Detroit Headline Sports addressing the city’s new formula for collecting additional income taxes from professional athletes and others. Much is being made of the Motor City’s March 1, 2017, codification of the ordinance that increases the amount of income subject to the city’s income tax. The new formula, which takes the number of days that a player is in the city for game-related activities – “city days” – divided into a roster of “duty days,” now accounts for practice and travel days, not just the days on which games are played.
The article points out that while such jock taxes are widely used to generate extra revenue, some players will see a hefty increase, especially when the Detroit Pistons basketball team relocates to the new Little Caesars Arena, downtown. For example, Andre Drummond, the highest-paid Detroit Piston, who is projected to earn $23.8 million next season, would pay about $158,500 in Detroit city income taxes annually. Baseball player Miguel Cabrera, currently the first baseman for the Detroit Tigers, would pay an estimated city income tax of $152,899 each year.
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Florida: Governor vows to never stop fighting for Florida’s families

Last week, on the first day back to work for lawmakers, Gov. Rick Scott gave his state of the state address in which he promised debates over bills and policies, and a new perspective, gained from the state’s heartbreaks. Despite the tragic Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, the governor asserted that “the future of our state is even greater than our past accomplishments…” He “resolved to build a society where any child, no matter where they are from, has the opportunity to live their dreams.”
Recognizing the heroism and sacrifice that he witnessed in Orlando, the governor underscored his commitment to public safety, and spotlighted his $6 million recommendation for counterterrorism efforts this year. Gov. Scott next highlighted the state’s booming economy, touting the fact that lawmakers have cut taxes 55 times, “saving families $6.5 billion.” Pledging to do more, he will be “fighting to cut taxes by $618 million to cut costs for small businesses, students, veterans, teachers and families.”
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