Street Legal | Street Fight

Hyperlocal Crowdfunding May Become a Reality — Here’s How to Prepare

Brian Dengler

Hyperlocal Crowdfunding May Become a Reality — Here’s How to Prepare

Despite a recently missed deadline that would have given hyperlocal businesses an ability to raise capital through crowdfunding, backers of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) are optimistic that equity crowdfunding could become a reality by the end of the year. What can hyperlocal ventures do right now to get ready for equity crowdfunding?

Hyperlocal Sites Must Win Customers’ Hearts With Strong Brand Identity

Brian Dengler

Hyperlocal Sites Must Win Customers’ Hearts With Strong Brand Identity

Hyperlocal advertiser Papa Ads, Inc. launched “iShopStark.com” in 2007 in Canton, Ohio. It offers product reviews, price comparisons, and coupons in the Stark County metro area. In 2010, Gatehouse Media, owner of Copley Ohio Newspapers, launched ShopNStark.com in the same area, offering the same services as iShopStark. Papa Ads sued Copley, claiming that the new site infringes Papa Ads’ brand name and is causing confusion among the public…

U.S. Gov’t Seizure of Cloud Servers Puts Hyperlocal’s Content at Risk

Brian Dengler

U.S. Gov’t Seizure of Cloud Servers Puts Hyperlocal’s Content at Risk

Ohio hyperlocal sports publisher Kyle Goodwin’s videos vaporized in the cloud. The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) seized the servers storing Goodwin’s videos as part of the DOJ’s criminal indictments against MegaUpload.com. Now Goodwin is suing to get his videos back, claiming his hyperlocal sports business depends on the content…

EFF: Claim That Not All Hyperlocal Journalists Are Equal ‘Simply Wrong’

Brian Dengler

EFF: Claim That Not All Hyperlocal Journalists Are Equal ‘Simply Wrong’

The practice of denying hyperlocal publishers the full status of other journalists has caught the ire of organizations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has fought to level the playing field for public access on behalf of hyperlocal news media and bloggers. Many local officials have granted traditional media access to public records and meetings while denying the same privileges to hyperlocals…

Hyperlocal News Coverage of Classroom Violence Requires Caution

Brian Dengler

Hyperlocal News Coverage of Classroom Violence Requires Caution

News videos of classroom brawls and bullying in local schools are newsworthy, but the hyperlocal coverage may draw threats from some who don’t want the information published. This year, legal claims emerged in New York and Philadelphia that provide some guidance on what hyperlocals may expect if they cover such sensitive types of local stories…

Judge Suggests Some, But Not All, Bloggers Qualify as ‘Journalists’ Under Law

Brian Dengler

Judge Suggests Some, But Not All, Bloggers Qualify as ‘Journalists’ Under Law

Perhaps hyperlocal bloggers are journalists after all. Federal Judge Marcos Hernandez in Oregon ruled last November that a self-proclaimed “investigative blogger” was not a journalist for purposes of Oregon’s shield law. But Hernandez has issued another opinion in the same case, responding to the criticism by explaining “I did not state that a person who ‘blogs’ could never be considered ‘media.'”

Privacy Experts: Consumer Trust Is Vital for Mobile Payments and Apps

Brian Dengler

Privacy Experts: Consumer Trust Is Vital for Mobile Payments and Apps

Building relationships with consumers is all about trust — and trust is exactly what consumers lack when it comes to most mobile transactions: “Without strong user privacy controls, mobile payments may turn your cell phone into a magnet for telemarketing, spam, and online behavioral advertising,” CDT’s Harley Geiger writes…

How Electronic Contract Laws Can Affect Hyperlocal Publishers and App Makers

Brian Dengler

How Electronic Contract Laws Can Affect Hyperlocal Publishers and App Makers

Contracts made online can help hyperlocal publishers and LBS app developers get deals finished quickly — but the convenience can be a curse as much as a blessing. And now, according a new ruling by the Tennessee Supreme Court, electronic agreements can be enforceable even if they made by an exchange of email. Unlike pen and paper, clicking “I accept” or sending an email may be enough to form a signed contract.

Crowdfunding Could Upend Hyperlocal — Here’s What You Need to Know

Brian Dengler

Crowdfunding Could Upend Hyperlocal — Here’s What You Need to Know

The new JOBS Act has opened the door for crowdfunding, a boon to hyperlocals seeking new ways to launch their businesses. But it may take until early next year before the Securities and Exchange Commission establishes rules that will govern the process. What to do in the meantime? Keep an eye on what regulators may churn up, see what major crowdfunding sites plan to offer, and explore whether hyperlocals need their own niche investment portal…

U.S. Legalizes Startup Crowdfunding — What It Means for Hyperlocals

Brian Dengler

U.S. Legalizes Startup Crowdfunding — What It Means for Hyperlocals

What does the JOBS Act mean for hyperlocals? They will no longer have to depend solely on private or angel investors — they can raise up to $1 million per year from small investments online and through social media. People in the community who believe they have a vested interest in their hyperlocal businesses can contribute by making small investments…

Hyperlocals Need to Pay Attention to ‘Red Flags’ in User Content

Brian Dengler

Hyperlocals Need to Pay Attention to ‘Red Flags’ in User Content

Copyright law offers some immunity to hyperlocals for content uploaded by the user as long as the publisher had no knowledge — or became aware — that the content my violate the rights of others. What type of “red flags” create risks for the publisher recently was addressed in a hotly contested lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube…

Getting Consent Is Key for Hyperlocals Relying on Crowdsourced Content

Brian Dengler

Getting Consent Is Key for Hyperlocals Relying on Crowdsourced Content

Hyperlocal publishers must ensure that they secure rights from their contributors to use the content — and to make clear whether a contributor is entitled to compensation. Copyright law confers ownership of content on the original author of the content (except in employment circumstances where the publisher automatically owns the content). The copyright owner solely controls how the content may be distributed…

Consumer Privacy in Focus as Regulators Zero in on Mobile

Brian Dengler

Consumer Privacy in Focus as Regulators Zero in on Mobile

Jules Polonetsky, co-chair of the Future of Privacy Forum, says that policy makers should not confuse their desire to protect consumers with legitimate passive use of smartphone data to provide core mobile services. Those functions include using tower triangulation to locate the device in order to provide the strongest signal, ensure critical mission flows, or help users find wifi connections…

What Every Hyperlocal Publisher Needs to Know About Non-Competes

Brian Dengler

What Every Hyperlocal Publisher Needs to Know About Non-Competes

Hyperlocals need to study their advertising agreements closely, and determine whether they can honor — or live with — the restrictions that an ad representative, agency or ad network is imposing on them. Restrictions can influence the layout of a page, and whether publishers can work with other partners for display ads on their pages…