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internet business owner

Will you be sued by these trolls?

By Website Lawyer

Web lawyer trollAs both a Web lawyer and an Internet business owner, I hate spammers. There’s one right now (initials G.A.) who has become such a pain in the butt that my emails now go through a new filtering process to get rid of the 3 to 5 pieces of garbage he tries to send daily to my inbox. Unsubscribe from one list and he’s got you on several more you never opted into.

Clients and friends learn about him so he’s costing himself a lot by being a jerk.

Unfortunately, Internet-related laws can be abused too. In this case, I’m talking about a type of Web lawyer who sets up businesses designed to profit solely from suing entrepreneurs like you. They’re out there trolling for new lawsuits to file.

Spam Troll

One guy went to law school so that he can sue spammers (even those who don’t intend to spam but do so accidentally). He subscribes to lots of lists and then sues the list owners when they violate California spam laws. By suing in small claims court under state law, he’s able to rack up a lot of wins because few Internet business owners want to deal with it. They either pay a settlement to go away or end up with a default judgment against them for not fighting lawsuits.

Copyright Troll

The second lawyer set up a company that looks for articles and photos that have been posted on websites without permission of the copyright owner. He then goes to the owner, buys up the rights, and sues the infringer in Nevada. The person who posted without permission usually settles rather than face legal fees, a court fight in Las Vegas (gambling!), etc. This lawyer has branched out from suing website owners for infringement into suing people who post copyrighted material without permission on other people’s sites, in forums, blog comments, etc.

Moral of the story?

Understand that in addition to the government cracking down, there are new profitable legal niches being created that involve suing Internet business owners for violating the law…whether or not they intended to do so. Yet another shining example that there’s a difference between law and justice.

Talk with your Web lawyer before doing something that could land you in hot water in a shakedown lawsuit.

To your online success!

-Mike the Web lawyer

Website Attorney: Guru Investment Shell Games

By Internet Lawyer

Website attorney internet stockRight now, as a Website attorney, I’m seeing three common types of Internet securities fraud con games promising you success as an Internet business owner through investment. They’ve become popular because even newbie marketers are not buying the hype surrounding $2,000 info products and live seminars for 500 to a thousand bucks (plus flight and hotel).

Scam #1 is “Be My Partner.”

The guru spends the money for a private placement memorandum to sell securities in an Internet marketing venture. In plain English, the guru uses legal documents to cover his butt while selling you overpriced stock in a venture. Those who invest do so upon the mistaken belief that they’ll be real ‘partners’ with the guru. The company either has no chance of success or the guru keeps control so the investors have no say in how their money is spent.

Scam #2 is the “Pump and Dump.”

The guru hypes stock in his Internet company, gets a bunch of people excited, goes public with the company and sells shares at a peak. The guru cashes in through the sale and the new investors are stuck with owning stock that has little or no value.

Scam #3 is “Flying by the Seat of Your Pants.”

This guru is too cheap to even pretend to do things legally. He sells ownership in his company to investors like you without providing a private placement memorandum or meeting the securities law requirements for going public. The prices vary depending upon what he wants or thinks the investor will pay. In some instances, the guru will even sell more than 100% of the company to different investors and pocket the money for personal use.

If it sounds too good to be true, run away. If you have any doubts, talk over the investment opportunity with your Website attorney and your financial advisor before putting any money into the venture.

To your online success!

-Mike the Website attorney

P.S. A good warning sign that a guru plays fast and loose with the rules is his failure to have proper website legal documents. To get legal documents for your website, check out Website Legal Forms Generator software.