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Articles

In-App Purchases No Longer Mandatory for Developers: Federal Court Issues Injunction As Part of Epic v. Apple Ruling.

There is no question about Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market. The iPhone accounts for approximately 50% of all smartphones in the United States and there are an estimated 1 billion iPhones across the globe. For developers looking to distribute their apps or games to as many customers as possible, the Apple App Store is…

Business Law Essentials for the Modern Video Game Company.

As a game developer, unless you are working on the new Ace Attorney game, law and lawyers are the last thing on your mind. But no matter how high-tech, innovative, and cutting-edge your product, video games and mobile apps are still a business and there are industry-specific legal areas to consider. Doing it right will…

The Three Types of Skill-Based Real-Money Games: Room for Innovation, Not Stagnation.

The skill-based real-money gaming market remains a popular and innovative business environment. The draw for players is that they can play games and win real money, but also improve their chances of winning through skill. Unlike gambling or casino-style games, skill-based gaming is not mathematically skewed in favor of “the house.” There are many types…

IRS Rulings on Daily Fantasy Sports Wagering: What Does This Mean for Skill-Based Gaming?

Real-money skill-based games are very popular across the world and the United States is no exception. Generally, real-money skill games allow players to compete against others in various games where the outcome is determined by the relative skill of the players (as opposed to chance). In simple terms, it is the same betting your friend…

A Guide to Getting Your Skill-Based Real-Money Game Approved in the United States.

Skill-based real-money gaming has been a popular form of entertainment across the world for hundreds of years. From Roman legionnaires wagering on an early version of backgammon to $5 eight-ball games at your local pool hall, skill games have always attracted players looking for a chance to win real money. With smart phones in every…

Stablecoin Taxation and Securities Regulation: What Every Investor Must Know.

Stablecoins are cryptocurrencies backed by other assets like fiat currency reserves, precious metals, commercial paper, and even portfolios made up of other cryptocurrencies. By pegging their value to another asset, stablecoins attempt to decrease price volatility and achieve a more “stable” price than uncollateralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. As I previously wrote, stablecoins may…

NFTs: Investing in Virtual Real Estate and Other Digital Assets.

Disclaimer: This article is not investment advice, neither does it constitute tax, or legal advice. It is for informational and promotional purposes only. Do not take any action (including investments) until you have consulted with a professional about your specific situation. I have previously written about cryptocurrencies as the basis for a self-directed retirement portfolio…

Ask the Crypto Tax Lawyer: Offsetting Capital Gains Through Loss Harvesting.

More than half-way through 2021, cryptocurrency remains an extremely popular investment. Although volatile and subject to unpredictable regulation (yes, that means China), the market has experienced substantial growth. Exchanges like Coinbase and integration with PayPal make owning, trading, and speculating in cryptocurrency easy. Sophisticated investors have even added cryptocurrency into their self-directed retirement portfolios, banking…

International Skill-Based Real-Money Gaming: Is It Legal?

Previously, I wrote about the legality of skill-based real-money gaming in the United States. But the U.S. is not the only country where skill-based games are popular – real money competition is huge all over the world. For example, in India, skill-based gaming is not only a popular source of entertainment, but is also becoming…

How to Advertise Real-Money Skill Games on Facebook: A Legal Opinion is Necessary.

Facebook remains the dominant social media platform with an astounding 2.85 billion worldwide users reported in the first quarter of 2021. In the United States alone there are 190 million active accounts, second only to India’s 330 million. Because of its influence and integration into our day-to-day lives, Facebook is an indispensable advertising tool and…

Ask the Crypto Tax Lawyer: How Can I Reduce My Crypto Taxes?

Important: The information in this article applies to individual investors and LLCs that are taxed as pass-through entities. The rules are different for corporations and LLCs electing to be taxed as a corporation and are not addressed here. This article is for informational and promotional purposes only and, as always, you should consult with a…

Real-Money Skill Gaming in the U.S: Is Your Game More Fantasy Sports or Pure Contest?

In 2021, there are many opportunities to play games for real money online, even if your particular state does not offer full-scale online casino operations. Daily Fantasy Sports (or “DFS”) is one hugely popular entertainment option. Real-money pure-skill contests are another. Video game tournaments, leaderboards, and prize pools are also available, as well as countless…

Stablecoins 101: What Are They, How Are They Taxed, and Can I Use Them In My Business?

Cryptocurrency has significant business utility, especially in international transactions. Companies can exchange funds directly, without wiring fees or banking delays, and easily convert their native currencies into crypto and vice-versa using a mobile phone. However, traditional cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum are extremely volatile and their exchange values can easily fluctuate 10-20% or more in…

Ask the Crypto Tax Lawyer: What Are the Tax Implications of Cryptocurrency and NFT Investing?

Important: The information in this article applies to individual investors and LLCs that are taxed as pass-through entities. The rules are different for corporations and LLCs electing to be taxed as a corporation and are not addressed here. This article is for informational and promotional purposes only and, as always, you should consult with a…

The Facts About Real-Money Skill Gaming: Dispelling 5 Common Internet Myths.

Artaev at Law advises companies looking to launch new technologies and tap into the skill-based real-money game market in the United States. In keeping up with the latest legal and regulatory trends, we do a lot of research, and we have seen a lot of misleading and downright false information on the internet. Do not…

Is Playing Video Games for Real Money Legal? It May Depend on the Game.

Skill-based real-money gaming is a growing industry worldwide. Previously, I wrote about the legality of playing casual games like Solitaire and bingo derivatives for real money. But what about console or PC games like FIFA ‘21, NHL ‘21, Madden ‘21, NBA2K21, and PGA2K21? Shooters like Call of Duty, CS:GO, and Fortnite? Strategy card games like…

Can I Use Cryptocurrency in My Business? Yes, But Proceed With Caution. A Lot of Caution.

Update: May 19, 2021 is seeing cryptocurrency values plummet, reacting to China banning financial and payment institutions from using cryptocurrencies. While individuals are not currently prohibited from holding crypto, China has effectively decimated crypto’s utility in the country. China has also officially warned investors against speculation. As of the time of this writing, Bitcoin value…

Can a Self-Directed IRA (“SDIRA”) Invest in Cryptocurrency and NFTs?

Self-directed IRAs (“SDIRAs”) can be a powerful investment tool when used the right way. Instead of relying on a bank or brokerage to hold and invest your retirement accounts, the SDIRA gives you direct control over what to invest in for your retirement. Best of all, the SDIRA is not limited to the traditional stock…

I Don’t Want to Wait…For My Rights to Be Over: Licensing and Streaming.

If you are a fan of 1990s and early 2000s TV shows like Dawson’s Creek, X-Files, Scrubs, etc., and you’ve revisited them on a streaming platform, you may have noticed that the music is not quite how you remember it. Sometimes the problem is obvious, like Dawson’s Creek is missing its iconic intro theme song!…

Esports. So Hot Right now: Advice from an Esports Attorney for Players and Teams.

Metro Detroit is uniquely poised to become the next epicenter of a growing industry: Professional competitive video gaming, or simply esports. An emerging and growing form of entertainment, the Michigan esports scene is rooted in its strong high school and collegiate programs. Professional esports actually had its first major metro Detroit debut August 2019, when…

FAQ: Can Playing Music on Twitch Get Me Sued?

Yes it can. As the popularity of internet streaming soars, content creators are encountering unique legal issues related to the media that they use. In June 2020, Twitch received thousands of so-called “takedown notices” under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) related to multiple archived clips that contain copyrighted music. The Recording Industry Association of…

What Should You Know Before Buying Into a Business? 5 Key Considerations for the Informed Investor.

Buying into a business can be an exciting next step in your career and present uncapped opportunities for growth. It can be especially lucrative from a financial perspective, as well as the professional allure of working for yourself. For example, if you are a doctor working for a clinic, you may be given an opportunity…

What is a Self-Directed IRA and Is It Legal in Michigan? 5 Essentials to Know Before Taking Control of Your Retirement Accounts.

You may have seen YouTube videos or advertisements touting the merits of the self-directed IRA (“SDIRA”) as a “magic” way to leverage your retirement accounts and outperform the stock market by investing in private companies, real estate, gold, and even cryptocurrency. SDIRAs are perfectly legal when done right and for the right reasons, but unfortunately…

Are Non-Compete Agreements Enforceable Against Independent Contractors in Michigan?

This is one of those gray legal areas where the answer is “it depends on the facts of the situation.” Previously, I wrote about the basics of non-compete and non-solicitation agreements that are becoming increasingly common in all industries. At their core, non-compete agreements restrain the free labor market, and are therefore analyzed under the…

high tech employee employer

Who Owns Your Invention? The Concepts and Inventions Assignment Clause, Work-For-Hire, and the Shop Right Doctrine.

In the modern employment context, there are plenty of on-boarding documents, including a handbook, that the employee may be asked to sign as part of getting hired. Lurking in these pages of seemingly innocuous workplace policies may be critical obligations and restrictions that significantly restrict the employee’s rights. For example, non-compete and non-solicitation clauses are…

So You’ve Designed a Board Game. Do You Need a Patent, Copyright, or Trademark?

Board games are still big business. Even before the pandemic limited entertainment options, the board game industry already accounted for $1.8 billion of sales in 2013 – or almost 10% of the entire toy market in the United States. In the first half of 2020’s lockdown, Hasbro reported a 4% increase in gaming revenue over…

Can College Athletes Get Paid in Michigan? Here’s What You Need to Know.

In addition to being an experienced business lawyer, Dan Artaev is a former Division III collegiate tennis player. If you are considering a potential endorsement deal, contact Dan for a consultation to ensure your rights are protected and you are doing it right. Yes, NCAA athletes can receive compensation for their name, image, and likeness…

What’s New for 2021: An Updated Guide for Michigan Employers Navigating COVID Regulations.

2020 is finally over, yet we are still in the middle of a pandemic, continued restrictions, ever-changing mandates, and regulations. So what’s new for business owners? Restaurants, entertainment venues, and other businesses are slowly seeing a transition to increased capacity. Vaccines are rolling out. There is new interim guidance for athletics from the MDHHS to…

Your Twitch Channel is Worth How Much? Protect Your Right of Publicity in the 21st Century.

Did you know that celebrities, professional athletes, actors, and other famous people have a valuable property right in their very persona? That property right is called the “right of publicity” and extends to gaming, particularly as streaming platforms like Twitch allow gamers to develop their own brand and following. There is no question that internet…

Employers: Know Your Obligations Under Michigan’s COVID-19 Employment Rights Act

In late October 2020, Michigan enacted several important laws that affect employers’ rights and obligations in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace. I have updated my general COVID-19 guide for employers every month, and I have also written specifically about the COVID tort liability shield. Governor Whitmer also signed the COVID-19 Employment Rights…

Beer, the Lions, and Intellectual Property: An Updated Cautionary Thanksgiving Tale.

Update: Since I originally published this article, Eastern Market Brewing has resolved its issues with Barry Sanders and no longer uses his likeness on the beer can. Same Old Lager is available again, and instead of a Lions player wearing the number 20, the brewery’s mascot graces the can against a pixilated, video-game style football…

COVID-related Employment Lawsuits Are on the Rise: What to Watch For and How to Avoid Them.

Employment lawsuits and EEOC complaints are surging. All employers have had to adjust in response to federal, state, and local COVID orders. Small business not previously subject to FMLA have had to suddenly enact polices to comply with expanded regulations under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (“FFCRA”). Transitioning employees to remote work has not…

FAQ: Michigan’s COVID-19 Response and Reopening Liability Act

In 2020, employers have been struggling to navigate a maze of ever-changing COVID laws, regulations, and guidance from both the state and federal levels. It has not been easy. Besides trying to keep their business open, make ends meet, and generally stay safe, employers now have another thing to worry about: liability lawsuits for potential…

Fun Facts About the History of the World’s Oldest Hobby: Gambling.

For a change of pace, here is some short and fun reading about everyone’s favorite hobby – gambling. Whenever I do a gambling-related legal project or research, it amazes me how much time and effort has been spent by lawmakers across the United States regulating and restricting gambling in all its forms. And, it is…

The Essential Guide to Setting Up a Nonprofit Corporation In Michigan

Nonprofits are big business. According to recent IRS statistics, Michigan has over 50,000 nonprofit entities, holding more than $268 billion in assets, and employing over 470,000 people. Public charities, homeowners’ associations, private foundations, endowments, networking groups, chambers of commerce, are just some examples of nonprofit organizations. Regardless of whether you have $5,000 local school bake…

Are Skill-Based or Pure-Skill Real Money Games Legal in the United States?

Skill-based, pure-skill, or simply real-money skill games are a hot new trend in the online gaming market. Games offered on mobile platforms like the iPhone and devices running the Android operating system are especially popular. Smartphones are everywhere, and in the United States alone an estimated 222 million people have smartphones, with 45 percent of…

Is a Bad Review Defamation? Protecting Your Business Reputation Online.

Following my previous article about online defamation, business owners frequently ask me whether they can “sue” Facebook or Yelp or Google, etc., to get a negative review removed. Or whether they can “sue” the poster for “reputation damages.” This is especially common in the trucking industry, where Carrier411 hosts a platform that allows brokers and…

Resolving Neighborhood Disputes Before They Turn Into Ugly and Costly Litigation: Early Mediation Works.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational and promotional purposes only. Dan Artaev is a trained mediator, as well as an attorney, and this article does not constitute legal advice. Disputes between a condo board or a homeowners’ association and a resident are some of the most contentious battles that I have ever witnessed as an…

Is Your Lawsuit Stuck Due to COVID? Stipulated Mediation May Be the Answer.

You may wish to give mediation a second look. If you are business owner involved in pending business litigation, you are likely frustrated with the progress – or rather the lack of progress – in your case. Whether as a plaintiff looking for a resolution of your grievance or a defendant eager for vindication, it…

Is Your License at Risk? The Administrative Complaint Guide for Healthcare Professionals and Other Licensees in Michigan.

Dan Artaev is a former Assistant Attorney General for the State of Michigan who represented various State agencies in judicial and administrative proceedings. In private practice, Dan has defended doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants, real estate agents, and others against State of Michigan complaints seeking to sanction or revoke their professional license. If your professional license…

Are you expecting payments under a lease, land contract, or promissory note? It may be time to dust off those documents and call a lawyer.

The economy is still uncertain, especially for business owners who rely on lease payments, land contract payments, promissory notes, or other installment-type payments for their income are in for tough month. Payees may very well be unable to make payments on time or at all. What are your options to protect your rights? It is…

5 Legal Tips for Business Owners Weathering the Coronavirus Disruption

There is no doubt you are distracted by this coronavirus outbreak. Constant news alerts, supply shortages, government-mandated closures and cancellations make it all but impossible to also run your business. However, remember that your lawyers are available to assist you. For example, if you have questions about obligations to your employees, insurance coverage questions, contract…

What Every Business Owner Must Know About PFAS Contamination

Remember when everyone was worried about PFAS contamination? Believe it or not, it was a serious concern that dominated headlines in late 2019 and early 2020 before COVID-19. It remains a serious environmental issue. But what is PFAS, and more importantly, how does it impact your business? PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which…

3 Common Mistakes that Compromise a Business’s Corporate Protection and Expose Your Personal Assets.

Businesses that commingle assets, forgo record keeping, official minutes, and fail to keep their registration with the State of Michigan up to date risk losing their corporate protections. In most cases, the corporate form limits your personal liability and insulates your personal assets from business debt – unless a creditor successfully argues that the corporate…

Does Your Business Have a Pre-Nup? The Importance of Planning for Life’s Unexpectancies.

Nobody likes to plan for life’s unpleasantries, including divorce. While divorce remains an unfortunate fact of life, proper planning with your business attorney can help protect your business from the unexpected. This is particularly critical where a business has multiple owners, members, or partners. In a recent case out of New York, a company’s three…

Into the Fire: Effective Strategies for Litigation Management Before Going to Court

Are you a litigious business owner? Do you copy your attorney on correspondence to a non-paying client or a vendor? Have you ever threatened another business owner with “I’m going to sue you”? Is this something you do as part of your day-to-day business routine? Does your county’s local business judge know you by name?…

But Your Honor, He Said a Bad Thing About Me on Facebook: Business Defamation Claims in the Age of Social Media

It is 2021 and every business is expected to have an online presence – whether through a website, on Yelp, or on social media. It is more important than ever for business owners to know what can and cannot be said (i.e. posted) regarding their business online. In other words, can you sue to get…

Don’t Spin Out: 5 Lessons for Every Business Owner From the Peloton Copyright Lawsuit.

Those of you who follow me on Instagram know that I am the #Trilawyer (basically, a lawyer whose hobby is doing triathlons). The cycling leg just happens to be my favorite, I love going to spin class at the gym, and I am also a big fan of watching pro cycling on TV. So obviously…

4 Must Have Legal Documents for New Business Owners

Whether you are a one-man computer whiz coding the next blockbuster iPhone app, or a five-employee manufacturer making parts for a Tier 1 auto supplier, you need basic corporate forms to protect your assets and investments. A limited liability company (or LLC) is the preferred way to organize and obtain this protection. Plus, if you…

Smoke ’em if You Got ’em: 4 Questions to Ask When Selling Commercial Real Estate in the Marijuana Era

In 2018, Michigan citizens overwhelmingly approved Proposition 1 to legalize recreational marijuana. While medicinal marijuana has been legal in Michigan for several years now, the recreational marijuana law will certainly expand the availability of the drug across the state. But what does that mean for the Michigan business community? Legalization will impact your business, even…

Non-Compete vs. Non-Solicitation: Key Differences that Every Employer Must Know

No matter what industry you are in, you have probably encountered non-compete and non-solicitation agreements. In Michigan, standard pre-employment paperwork often contains obligations for the employee not to compete with the employer (non-compete) and not to solicit the employer’s existing customers or other employees (non-solicitation). Although these obligations may be in the same boilerplate paragraph…

Terror From Beyond the Grave: 5 Critical Mistakes To Avoid When Terminating Your Company

It is a classic horror movie plot line. The good guy finally killed off that scary monster/evil janitor/gremlin. Hooray! Triumphant, the hero turns his back to celebrate with fellow survivors when SUDDENLY the monster/evil janitor/gremlin rises from the dead to take down that one final victim! In the business world, if you do not take…

Starting a Business? Choose Your Organizational Structure!

Every business owner needs to incorporate. Forget about sole proprietorships or a partnership — running your business without formally organizing is like driving without insurance: You will be OK so long as you don’t get into an accident. But when someone rear-ends you, you will be in dire financial straits regardless of who caused the…

Why Annual Meetings Are Critical to Protecting Your Personal Assets From Business Debts.

As a new and growing business owner, you read my articles on incorporation and essential corporate documents, and took my advice to heart. You retained an attorney and accountant, drafted and filed the basic forms, and Small Business LLC is up-and-running. However, you are not done — there are important steps to take for you…

5 Often-Overlooked Essentials When Selling Your Business

You finally got that phone call from the California venture capital firm that wants to buy your  start-up for a couple of million dollars. You are eager to sell and use that money to pursue other projects and passions. The attorneys and accountants have been retained, and the Asset Purchase Agreement has been drafted.  But…

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