Six Legal Tips To Help Online Businesses Avoid Claims and Lawsuits

This past Thursday I had the pleasure of speaking to a wonderful audience at Summit.Live. I shared six tips to help online businesses avoid claims, litigation, and lawsuits.

I hope you enjoy my presentation. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

Notes:

Please note that while I am an attorney, I’m not your attorney. Please check with an attorney in your state before taking any of these legal steps.

A summary of my six tips are as follows:

  1. Do business as a corporation or LLC
  2. Protect and respect intellectual property rights
  3. Promote your products and services through your business and not you personally
  4. Use contracts and other written agreements
  5. Use mediation and arbitration clauses
  6. Use attorney fee and venue clauses

Fake News, Adobe VoCo and Authenticating Evidence

For years, trial lawyers have had to deal with fake images created with Photoshop. Today, several new “fake” facts and evidence issues have evolved because of technology. All of this results in consumers being intentionally mislead and ending up uninformed.

A new product by Adobe named VoCo (not yet released) lets you edit recorded speech so that you can alter what a person actually said. This new technology is very cool but has the potential for allowing even more fake and misleading news, bad publicity for people and companies, and false evidence in the courtroom.

Watch this short video to listen to how well VoCo works.

While the upside and downside of VoCo are both unlimited, several protections we have from misuse in the legal system are concepts referred to as “foundation” and “authentication” under the evidence code.

Generally speaking, what this means is that before a recording can be admitted into evidence in a court of law, the person producing the purported evidence must show, using established and reliable methods, that the item is what he or she says it is. Concepts like chain of custody, totality of the circumstances, and familiarity with a person’s voice all come into play. Obviously, this last element may no longer be allowed once the VoCo tech is perfected and released to the public.

My take-a-away for not just lawyers, but anyone relying upon what they see, read or hear, is to always question the source of the content. Do your own due diligence and research when you hear, watch or see something on the news or online. There’s never anything wrong with being careful and questioning a source. In fact, it’s just the smart thing to do.

How to Make Good Short and Long-Term Decisions

My “#ActionJackson Tip of the Day” => The power of decisions (and how to make good ones)‬

“It is in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” -Tony Robbins

 

Failing to make good short and long-term decisions can result in temporary setbacks or worse, permanently harm your business, reputation, and life.

One approach I use to try and make good decisions comes from the Rotary Four-Way Test. It is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotary International use for their personal and professional relationships. It goes as follows:

Of the things we think, say or do

Is it the TRUTH?

Is it FAIR to all concerned?

Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?

Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
______

If you enjoyed today’s tip, please share with your family and friends.

Make today your masterpiece!

Mitch

Ten Questions to Help You Start a Conversation

“In conversation, humor is worth more than wit and easiness more than knowledge” -George Herbert

How to Start a Conversation

Have you ever been introduced to someone but did not know how to start the conversation? Ever experience that awkward moment of silence not knowing what to say or worse, waiting for the other person to say something interesting?

No worries. Most of us have felt this way, especially at conferences and large conventions. Here are a couple of tips I’ve picked up over the years that you may find helpful.

First, keep in mind that a conversation is like a journey with the speakers going from one place to another. As with every journey, you must first learn how to take the first step and also figure out which direction you’ll be traveling.

An approach that’s worked well for me is similar to an approach I use when picking a jury during trial. Remember, I’m talking to 12 people I’ve never met before, and it’s my job to get everyone to talk about themselves so that I can learn more who my ultimate decision makers are. I need to know what they’re thinking and what makes them tick. To do anything less would be a disservice to my client.

I use the open-ended questions below to get the dance going. By the way, don’t try and use all these questions with the same person and at the same time. Instead, think of these questions as though they are ten arrows in your relationship quiver.

Learn these questions, and you can easily reach back in your mind and pull out the one question that’s perfect for your next ice-breaking opportunity. Remember, different questions apply to different situations so be careful with how and when you use them.

Hint- to develop rapport with the other person, it takes a bit more than just asking these questions. For example, after you ask your question, pay attention and be genuinely interested in the other person’s answer. Listen 70% of the time, make eye contact and smile.

Also make sure to use these questions in a natural and conversational fashion. Let the discussion flow and follow up the other person’s answers with new related questions. Nobody likes to be interrogated so let your human side shine through during the conversation.

So let’s get started. You’ve just be introduced to someone or, you’ve just walked into a room and are approached by a complete stranger.

1. What do you do for a living? How did you get started?

People enjoy talking about themselves so give them a chance to do just that. Let them share their story with you. Listen and learn more about the other person.

2. What do you enjoy most about your business or profession?

I like always to be specific when I ask this question. If the person I’m talking to is an author, I’ll ask something like, “What do you enjoy most about being an author?” or maybe, “What did you enjoy most about writing your new book, “Overnight Success?” as opposed to, “What do you like about your occupation?” See the difference?

Again, it’s a question that elicits a good, positive feeling. It will also get the conversation moving forward.

3. What separates you and your company from the competition?

This is a permission-to-brag question, and the answer will help you learn what the other person believes is special about her business. Again, be as specific as you can with “company” and “competition”. Sometimes this question may include not a company but an activity or charitable cause. Either way, this approach works very well.

4. What advice would you give someone just starting in the ABC business?

This is a mentor type of question. We all like to be perceived as experts in our field so let the other person shine a bit and possibly share some pearls of wisdom with you. [tip- when he or she answers this question, ask a follow-up open-ended question. For example, “That’s interesting, why is that so important?”]

5. What one thing would you do with your business (or life, interest) if you knew you could not fail?

This is a great way to find out what the other person’s true interest is. What are her dreams and goals?

6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your business or profession throughout the years?

This is a great question for someone a few years older than you. They’ve put in their time and usually enjoy sharing their opinions and stories.

7. What do you see as the coming trends in your business or profession?

This question asks the other person to speculate on the future. Think about this. Isn’t this a question that’s normally reserved for important guests on television shows like CNN? If the person happens to be an expert, you just might learn something from the answer. In any case, you’ll probably make them feel good about themselves just by asking the question.

8. Describe the strangest or funniest incident you’ve experienced in your business or profession?

People love sharing war stories so here’s their chance. Most people don’t get the chance to share these stories, and now you’ve volunteered to be their audience.

9. What ways have you found to be the most effective way to help others or to promote your business or profession (or issue you’re discussing)?

You’ll not only get good ideas to help you move forward with a project or business need, but you’ll also find out how this person thinks.

10. What one sentence would you like people to use in describing the way you do business or practice your profession?

You’ve just asked a question that most people are never asked. The other person’s answer will reveal quite a bit. They’ll also appreciate the fact that you care.

Conclusion

Use one or two of these ten questions to get your next conversation going in the right direction. Care about who you’re talking with and what they’re saying.

Be sincere and genuine. Make eye contact and stop looking down at your smartphone.

Finally and most importantly, enjoy the new relationship you just started!

Guest Lecture at Chapman University

I had a blast guest lecturing in the Chapman University classroom of Professor Niklas Myhr aka “The Social Media Professor.” We talked about social media, marketing, law and being an entrepreneur and the Q&A with Professor Myhr and his students was priceless!

On a side note, every time I speak and interact with today’s high school and college students, I consistently walk away from the experience knowing that the future of our country is good hands. These young adults are going to do amazing things. I hope each and everyone of them stays in contact!

Just in case you’re interested, click the picture below or here to watch Professor Myhr’s Facebook Live video.

#ActionJackson Tip of the Day!

 

Each day I share 30 years of legal, business, and entrepreneurial tips with you in what I call my #ActionJackson Tip of the Day!

Most tips are presented in short 30-60 second video clips on Twitter @MitchJackson (click here). Every now and then I’ll share the video clips on social media and my websites.

Today I shared the following tips about your legal rights when it comes to searches of your smartphone by police and Border Protection Agents. Hope you find this information useful. If so, please share with your family and friends. Also follow me on social at Mitch.Social

Related Post (excellent article)

Can Border Agents Search Your Electronic Devices? It’s Complicated.