2017 will be an even busier year than 2016 and 2015 for M&A deals in the technology sector, according to more than half of the dealmakers who responded to the semi-annual M&A Leaders Survey conducted by our colleagues at Morrison & Foerster in partnership with 451 Research.
These results are surprising given that there was higher tech M&A spending in 2015 and 2016 than there had been in several years, and there were 12% fewer technology company acquisitions in 2017’s first quarter than there were in Q1 of 2015 or 2016.
What accounts for the dealmakers’ bullish outlook? According to the survey, one key factor appears to be President Trump, with four-out-of-ten (41%) respondents predicting that his future economic policies will stimulate domestic dealmaking.
For other key findings, takeaways, insights and analysis regarding the coming year in tech M&A, check out Morrison & Foerster’s M&A Leaders Survey Results.
One of the most significant legal concerns for Internet service providers is the risk of exposure to liability for the copyright infringements of their users. The concern is not unreasonable. Because Internet service providers can be held secondarily liable for the infringements of their users, and because this liability can come with statutory damages attached, the service provider’s potential economic exposure can be significant, especially for Internet service providers engaged in the transmission or hosting of user-generated content.
Moreover, the principle of joint and several liability may further increase this potential economic exposure for Internet service providers.
The defendants in Columbia Pictures were three television stations that had directly infringed upon plaintiff’s copyrights independently of each other. Consequently, the company that owned the three stations was secondarily liable for their infringement. Relying in part on legislative history, the court held that the plaintiff was entitled to separately calculated statutory awards against each of the three stations as they were separate infringers, and that, with respect to these awards, each of the three stations was jointly and severally liable with their common owner. Continue Reading
The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here.
In this edition, we explore the threat to U.S. jobs posed by rapid advances in emerging technologies; we examine a Federal Trade Commission report on how companies engaging in cross-device tracking can stay on the right side of the law; we take a look at a Second Circuit opinion that fleshes out the “repeat infringer” requirement online service providers must fulfill to qualify for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbors; we discuss a state court decision holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes Snapchat from liability for a car wreck that was allegedly caused by the app’s “speed filter” feature; we describe a recent decision by the District Court of the Hague confirming that an app provider could be subject to the privacy laws of a country in the European Union merely by making its app available on mobile phones in that country; and we review a federal district court order requiring Google to comply with search warrants for foreign stored user data.
All this—plus an infographic illustrating how emerging technology will threaten U.S. jobs.
Using the data it aggregates about its users’ whereabouts, Snapchat introduced a new feature that allows marketers to determine whether the Snapchat users who view ad campaigns on the messaging app actually wind up visiting the advertisers’ retail locations and venues (in other words, whether their Snapchat ad campaigns are actually working).
For the third year in a row, Socially Aware co-editor Aaron Rubin and I attended SXSW Interactive, which arguably has become the premier annual gathering for the global tech community. But this year, SXSW Interactive had a very different vibe to it than in the prior two years.
In the past, a spirit of boundless optimism infused the event. A sense existed that there is no problem that could not be solved through technological innovation.
Indeed, at SXSW Interactive last year, President Obama—who was rapturously received by the audience—touched on this “can do” spirit in his keynote address:
“So the reason I’m here really is to recruit all of you. It’s to say to you as I’m about to leave office, how can we start coming up with new platforms, new ideas, new approaches across disciplines and across skill sets to solve some of the big problems that we’re facing today.”
What a difference a year can make. Perhaps it was due in part to the weather—overcast, wet and cold—but a pessimistic mood seemed to hang over this year’s edition of SXSW Interactive. Continue Reading
In the most recent edition of his CyberSide Chat series, Socially Aware contributor Andy Serwin discusses ransomware attacks, including:
the reasons why ransomware attacks are becoming more common;
the types of ransomware attacks companies should prepare to address; and
the strategies that companies can employ to help guard against, and to help mitigate the damage arising from, these types of cybersecurity breaches.
Andy explains not only the defenses that companies can implement to protect themselves against a ransomware attack, but also the issues a ransomware-attack-response plan must address—a topic that another Socially Aware contributor, Nate Taylor, tackled in his Sept. 26, 2016 blog post 5 Questions to Help Prepare For a Ransomware Attack.
With corporate data security breaches on the rise, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has adopted rules requiring financial institutions to take certain measures to safeguard their data and inform state regulators about cybersecurity incidents. Intended to thwart future cyberattacks and protect consumers, those “Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Companies” (the “Cybersecurity Rule” or “Rule”) finally took effect on March 1, 2017. The NYDFS has released guidance on how to follow the Rule, it comes in the form of frequently asked questions (FAQs) and a summary of key compliance dates. Although the guidance is apparently intended to assist covered financial institutions as the clock ticks towards the first of the Rule’s phased compliance deadlines less than six months away, the guidance is unlikely to make the implementation challenges many financial institutions will face any less daunting.
The Cybersecurity Rule requires that covered financial institutions, among other things, adopt detailed programs, policies and procedures to protect Information Systems (which are defined to include essentially any computer or networked electronic system) and certain sensitive business and consumer information (“Nonpublic Information”) from cybersecurity threats.
The Rule is narrower and less prescriptive than the original proposal from September 2016 (and largely the same as the second proposal from December 2016). Nonetheless, covered financial institutions now have less than six months to establish compliance with the first of the Cybersecurity Rule’s requirements. This means covered financial institutions will quickly need to: (1) assess the current state of their information security programs and what modifications may be required based on the specific policies and controls required by the Rule; and (2) consider the new processes that may need to be created to meet the Rule’s reporting, recordkeeping and certification requirements. Continue Reading
Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia now have laws that make it illegal to distribute sexually explicit photos online without the subject’s permission—content known as “revenge porn” or “non-consensual pornography.” This article explores the efficacy of those laws and other legal-recourse options.