Information Technology

In an era of ever expanding uses for our smart devices, we know that we rely to some extent upon cloud based services. (I almost said smartphones until I responded to a text on my Huawei Watch while typing that sentence). These come in many flavors such as software-as-a-service (SaaS or “sass”) platforms like Office 365 or Gmail or infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS or “I don’t have any idea how to pronounce this so I call it i-a-a-s”) platforms like Amazon Web Services. But explaining the differences between these tools can be tough. Continue Reading Don’t SaaS me! – What exactly is Software-as-a-Service?

Lancaster’s business and technology community continues to get noticed on the national stage. Earlier this month, it was announced that the Rise of the Rest 6.0 Tour will be coming to Lancaster on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. Rise of the Rest is a pitch competition for entrepreneurs, sponsored by AOL co-founder Steve Case, that gives startups the opportunity to win a $100,000.00 investment. Continue Reading Attention Central PA Entrepreneurs: Startup Pitch Competition Coming to Lancaster

Lawyers aren’t known as the most forward-thinking, technologically savvy group. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, since a key principle of the American judicial system is the concept of precedent; making decisions now that are bound by decisions of the past. Attorneys are notoriously hesitant to adopt change. But in today’s constantly changing legal market, it’s not good enough to stick our heads in the sand and ignore the benefits that technology can add to the attorney-client relationship.

The American Bar Association publishes the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which acts as guidance for the ethical rules adopted by each state. Model Rule 1.1 requires lawyers to provide competent representation to a client, which includes understanding the benefits and risks associated with technology. Technology is also referenced in Model Rule 1.6(c) which requires a lawyer to make “reasonable efforts” to prevent the inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of or access to information relating to the representation. The Pennsylvania Rules of Professional Conduct have implemented both concepts . Continue Reading Is Your Attorney Tech Savvy?

For entrepreneurs in states that permit state equity crowdfunding, effective today, a change in federal rules will allow those states to allow entrepreneurs to use social media to solicit out of state residents to raise money for their business ventures. This article posted on LancasterOnline describes the impact of the law change on businesses raising money pursuant to state crowdfunding laws: Law change could boost little-used state crowdfunding laws.

Previously, social media solicitation was prohibited. The revised rules are 17 CFR Sections 230.147 and 230.147A and can be found at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website.

Pennsylvania does not currently have a state crowdfunding law, but Pennsylvania residents and businesses could be impacted by this change if they are solicited by out of state companies raising capital for their ventures. Since May 2016, Pennsylvania businesses may utilize federal crowdfunding laws to offer equity in their companies. Continue Reading Federal Rule Changes Impacting Equity Crowdfunding and Social Media Use Go Into Effect Today

One of the highlights of the Lancaster tech community’s big year in 2016 was the opening of preregistration for LanCity Connect, a high speed, fiber optic internet service for Lancaster City residents and businesses. LanCity Connect is a public-private partnership between the City of Lancaster and MAW Communications, located in Reading.

As outlined in this LancasterOnline article, my favorite coworking space, The Candy Factory, has enjoyed increased speed and reliability after being an early adopter of the service. Since its installation in January, I’ve noticed a significant increase in speed. For example, when I log in remotely to my office computer, there is almost no noticeable lag in the connection.

If you haven’t checked out the LanCity Connect website lately, it has been updated with a residential deployment schedule, with scheduling for installation available beginning this month. There are four primary tiers of service available, with base costs from $34.99 to $89.99 and speeds from 50 Mbps to 1,000 Mbps. By way of comparison, Comcast’s maximum advertised speed is up to 200 Mbps. There is also a low income tier available to qualifying residents.

This project is just one more example of the local government’s commitment to assist the growing technology industry in Lancaster County. It’s an exciting time to live and work in Lancaster County.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University School of Law and advises clients on issues of Business Law, Intellectual Property Law and Information Technology & Internet Law.

We trust our computers to handle our to-do lists and calendars because they never forget, right? While computers are good at remembering what we tell them (and a big thank you to Google for remembering my kids’ birthdays), one of the current weaknesses of artificial intelligence (AI) is that it cannot apply what it learns in a different scenario. For example, an AI that learns to play chess does not have a leg up when learning to play checkers. Essentially, computers have a “catastrophic forgetting” problem that forces them to relearn what they already knew just because they are presented with a new project.

Researchers are now making breakthroughs to overcome this ‘forgetfulness’ problem. Working in connection with neuroscientists, researchers are attempting to have AI learn more like humans so they can apply what they have learned in one context to another related context without starting over. In other words, teach computers to learn more like humans do so they stop forgetting what they already learned. Continue Reading Teaching Computers Not to Forget Could Cut the Costs of Litigation

One of my coworkers (thanks Taylor!) recently shared an interesting article with me: YouTubers Face Fines, Possible Eviction For Making Videos From Their Home. Since I often help clients start new business ventures, many of whom begin operating out of their home, this story was particularly interesting to me.

In short, the article describes a situation where a group of friends lived together and professionally make YouTube gaming videos and vlogs – one of the residents has nearly a million subscribers on his Channel. The residents of the house received a visit from their county code enforcement official, who said that the group was allegedly in violation of a zoning restriction that prohibited a certain number of unrelated people living in the same residence.

In addition, the group was allegedly running a business out of their house without a license and if they didn’t either stop operating or obtain a business license, they could be subject to fines of up to $136 per day.

While the definitions of what constitutes “doing business” can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in Cobb County, Georgia, filming and uploading YouTube videos can constitute doing business and requires a business license.

So what lessons can be learned from the above situation? Continue Reading Legal Considerations of Doing Business at Home

This information was posted and is current as of February 8, 2017 – as always, if you have questions about the current obligations of your business with respect to Sales and Use Tax or any other legal issue, please check with your attorney.

Attention software developers, graphic designers and data processing companies: as reported by the Central Pennsylvania Business Journal, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s proposed 2017-2018 budget may significantly impact your business. While the proposal doesn’t raise broad taxes such as property tax and income tax, Governor Wolf proposed the elimination of a number of sales tax exemptions, including those on custom computer programming, design and data processing.

Under current Pennsylvania law, Sales and Use Tax applies to “sale at retail or use of computer hardware and canned software, as well as services thereto.” According to the same law, computer programming, computer integrated systems design, computer processing, data preparation or processing, information retrieval, computer facilities management and other computer-related services are not subject to Pennsylvania Sales and Use Tax. Many of those terms are defined in the Pennsylvania Code section linked at the beginning of this paragraph. Continue Reading Pennsylvania Software Developers May Need to Start Collecting Sales Tax

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: I love Apple products. I mark my calendar for Apple keynotes  product announcements, and operating system release dates. I’m writing this post on an iPhone. Late last year, I took a big step in my relationship with Apple – I got an Apple Watch Series 2.

The original Apple Watch was released in April 2015, and I’ll admit, even as an Apple fan, I was skeptical. Overall, it appeared as though it just wasn’t ready for primetime. I convinced myself to wait and see what the next generation would bring.

When Apple announced the Series 2 and the third iteration of its operating system, watchOS 3, my primary concerns about the product were all addressed, as it featured improved battery life, better water resistance and a redesigned operating system.

Rather than write a review when I first got it, I waited for a few months to see how the Watch fit into my routine. Here are some thoughts, tips and tricks about how I use my Apple Watch during the workday. Continue Reading Connected: How I use the Apple Watch in my law practice

We’re trying something new on the Lancaster Law Blog – from time to time we’ll post roundups highlighting some of our content on a particular topic. In this inaugural roundup post, I’ll focus on a few issues that we’ve covered that apply to small businesses. If you have an idea for a roundup or just a topic you’d like to hear more about, feel free to contact us.

You’ve Formed a Business Entity – Now What? Silos and Piercing the Corporate Veil

Warning – this post is a unique blend of Lancaster County with a solid analogy between silos and the role of your business entity in protecting your personal assets. Learn more about what you need to do after creating your business to make sure you maintain the limited liability protection it was created for. Continue Reading Roundup: Legal Issues for Small Business