December 22, 2015 by Ronn
"The best part is he knew the answers directly. My lawyer would have had to refer to a partner, and in the end the advice I needed would have cost $1,000. Really cool that this is a SIPA benefit." – SIPA publisher member
That response resulted from his discussion with attorney Chad Bowman, SIPA's longtime contact at Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz (LSKS). As one of the top media law firms in the country, LSKS counsels members on media content risk (defamation, etc.), copyright and trademark, access to government records (FOIA and state equivalents), and marketing regulation. As a SIPA member, you get two hours of annual free counseling with LSKS. Contact Chad at CBowman@lskslaw.com to get started.
SIPA has other ways to help you on the legal front.
- Our brochure, Know Copyright From Wrong, has been updated this month and can be found under Member Resources. You can inform your subscribers about copyright with this distributable brochure. "I can't tell you how many times I've sat next to someone on an airplane who was reading a newsletter that had been photocopied — cover to cover," said Jay Brown of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz, L.L.P.
- The Spring 2014 Memorandum from LSKS focused on text message alerts and new rules that require "Prior Express Written Consent." A good explanation of native advertising also appears in that Memorandum. (Not much has changed on that topic since then.)
- SIIA publishes a quarterly government policy report for members. Data breach security was the lead story in September, but there were also key updates on postal rates, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, State Sales and Use Taxation, State Privacy Law Compliance, and the Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). See my summary of that report here.
- Speaking of the Canadian Anti-Spam Law, SIPA organized a webinar in January 2014 on how to prepare for the changes that can be viewed here. Also, LSKS has a very informative posting on it written by Chad Bowman. He offers 10 things that American companies should know about CASL. Number 4 struck me a bit: "CASL applies where one purpose of a message is commercial."
- A few years ago, SIPA went to great lengths to compile a package of sample documents for member use. There's a freelance writer agreement, a permitted use agreement, an audio conference permission form, and more. Use them as a starting point or a reference point for revising your existing documents.
- The SIPA Discussion Forum often hosts conversations on current legal issues. Specific advice, of course, might be sought from your own attorney or LSKS, but there is likely a wealth of information you can garner from other members. For example, recent topics include auto-renewal clauses, webinar insurance and terms & conditions, and copyright dating issues.
- SIIA Webinars will occasionally tackle a legal issue. In the last couple years, there have been webinars on the Canadian Anti-Spam Law and the Business of Native Advertising. All webinars are archived for members to watch at their leisure.
- The SIPAlert Daily, of course, also takes on legal issues. In the coming few weeks we will be talking to Chris Mohr, SIIA's new vice president for intellectual property and general counsel; David LeDuc, SIIA's senior director, public policy; and Lesley Ellen Harris, a copyright attorney and SIPA board member.
So please let us know, either via the Forum or in a direct email, what we can help you with on the legal front. We will help connect you with various resources to get your questions answers and problems solved.
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…