Health Care Providers

The Google Book Scan Lawsuit Decision

Posted by on Dec 21, 2013 in Featured Articles, Publishing Law | 0 comments

 I have written before about the Author’s Guild copyright infringement lawsuit against Google for its unauthorized digitizing of copyrighted works.  Now, after eight years of litigation, we have a decision. Briefly, in 2005 the Author’s Guild and other plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit against Google for its “Book Search,” alleging that Google violated the copyrights of authors and publishers by scanning their books, creating an electronic database, and displaying short excerpts without the copyright owners’ permission.  Google defended...

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Should You Do It Yourself?

Posted by on Jul 1, 2012 in Estate Planning, Featured Articles | 0 comments

LegalZoom™ advertises itself as a cheaper alternative to an attorney.  Intuit, through its “Quicken WillMaker™”, and other do-it-yourself programs, entice people to forgo professional advice, assuring them that the documents they create will be “just as good as one created by an attorney.” These programs and web sites are popular with lawyers, too!  Why? Because they make more work for lawyers in the future. Recently, Consumer Reports magazine recently evaluated LegalZoom, Nolo, and Rocket Lawyer in an article “Legal DIY sites no...

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Should You Give It Away?

Posted by on Jun 4, 2012 in Estate Planning, Featured Articles | 0 comments

For wealthy individuals and couples, gifting has always been an important part of estate planning.  And now that the gift tax exemption stands at $5 million (5.12 million adjusted for inflation in 2012) and the top gift tax rate is 35%, the tax environment is especially favorable for making large gifts.  Gifts of up to $5.12 million ($10.24 million for couples) in 2012 incur no gift tax.  BUT — these levels are scheduled to expire after 2012, with the exemption automatically shrinking to $1 million and the top tax rate jumping to 55% on...

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Top Ten Copyright Myths

Posted by on May 27, 2012 in Featured Articles | 0 comments

Myth #1: “To obtain a copyright on my work, I have to register it.” Actually, copyright is automatic when a work is created and fixed in a copy or recorded for the first time (the instant you lift pen from paper, or your word processing software saves to disk). Registration is not required to qualify for copyright protection. Myth #2: “If it doesn’t have a copyright notice, it’s not copyrighted.” Wrong. The use of a copyright notice is not required. Nevertheless, it’s better to use one. A copyright notice informs the public that your work is...

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Can You Execute?

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Featured Articles, Probate Administration | 0 comments

Being the “Personal Representative” or “PR” of an estate — the modern term for executor — is not a task to take lightly.   The Personal Representative is responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual’s estate.  Although the time and effort involved will vary with the size of the estate, even if you are the executor of a small estate you will have important duties that must be performed correctly or you may be liable to the estate or the beneficiaries. How do you become a...

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Revocable Trust Myths

Posted by on Apr 23, 2012 in Estate Planning, Featured Articles | 0 comments

Articles constantly appear and seminars proliferate lauding the benefits of “revocable” or “living” trusts and urging all people of sound mind to create them. These articles or seminars invariably prompt clients to ask me why their estate plan fails to include one of these miraculous devices. This Memorandum will highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of Revocable Trusts vis‑à‑vis Wills in Maryland and the District of Columbia Revocable (living) trusts are basically plain vanilla revocable trusts established during a person’s...

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Estate Planning Fees

Posted by on Apr 5, 2012 in Estate Planning, Featured Articles | 0 comments

Estate Planning Fees

How much do you charge for estate planning documents?” or “How much does a will cost?”  These are the most asked questions of estate planning attorneys.  Fees generally are less than you fear but more than you wish to pay — but hey, you’re not buying a flat screen tv here.  It really IS about your family’s security, and estate planning costs are a significant financial commitment for most clients. Wherever possible, however, we try to charge a predetermined or “flat” fee that takes into account...

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The Forever Agency

Posted by on Apr 5, 2012 in Featured Articles, Publishing Law | 0 comments

I’ve written before about the legal traps in some agency clauses inserted into  publishing agreements.  Recently, a New York appeals court upheld the lower court decision in Peter Lampack Agency v. Martha Grimes, et al, a case that interprets these clauses favorably for authors. First, some background.  At one time, in a galaxy far far away, publishers paid royalties directly to an author, who in turn paid his or her agent a commission.  This changed by the middle of the twentieth century, when publishers began sending the checks directly to...

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First Publishing Deal

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Featured Articles, Publishing Law | 0 comments

It’s arrived –your first traditional (not an e-book!) publishing contract: ten pages of single-spaced Times Roman.  All the work, the revisions, the seemingly endless waiting for replies from publishers has finally paid off.  And you’re grateful, right? Of course you are.  Especially because your editor told you it’s a “standard” contract.  “Just sign and send it back,” she said, and you certainly don’t want to begin the relationship on the wrong foot. Big mistake.  Book contracts are written by publisher’s attorneys, and are heavily...

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Why You Need A Will

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in Estate Planning, Featured Articles | 0 comments

Contrary to a widely-held belief, dying without a will doesn’t mean your property passes to the State, which then uses the money to buy new park benches. Instead, local laws determine your estate’s beneficiaries; these are the laws of “intestacy.”   In most states, one half of non-jointly owned property (titled in your name alone) passes to your spouse, the other half to your child or children. If you are single and have children, your assets generally pass to your children and/or your parents, if alive.   If you...

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