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Articles

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 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…

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…

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…

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.

In a previous article on protecting your assets (Part 1), I wrote about the importance of maintaining corporate formalities. 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…

A Lesson in Licenses and Why You Own Nothing.

In 2019, Fortnite went offline. No one could play, stream, compete, or access their account. This was part of an in-game “event” known as the Fortnite Blackout or The End. Can Epic Games do that? What rights do you even have as a player, team owner, or competitor? It all comes down to the End…

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…

‘Tis the Season for (Corporate) Resolutions!

What do you associate most with the start of a new year? I personally think of resolutions and how the gym used to get crowded with all those who resolve to get in shape. So for many, the New Year is about a new start, a chance to set goals, and a chance to catch…

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…

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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