Information Technology

In the wake of the Equifax data breach, there has been much discussion about the effects of the breach, and how to protect yourself if you were affected. Even though I confirmed that I was not affected by the breach through Equifax’s website, out of an abundance of caution I chose to freeze my credit reports with each of the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Transunion, and Experian. You can check whether you were impacted by the Equifax breach here: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/am-i-impacted/.

Although I’ve (thankfully) never been a victim of identity theft, I chose to freeze my credit reports because unfortunately I’ve witnessed clients who have experienced identity theft – it’s expensive, time-consuming, and can quickly ruin your financial independence. For a window into what can be involved in an identity theft case, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft website at www.IdentityTheft.gov.  To me, the small headache of lifting the freeze when I want to open a new account is a worthwhile step to help avoid a devastating identity theft situation. Continue Reading How To Freeze Your Credit Reports

It’s no secret that our firm loves technology. In an effort to provide more efficient service to my clients, I routinely try out new apps and technologies to evaluate whether they would help me do my job more effectively.

I recently tried out one app that quickly achieved “can’t live without it” status: TextExpander by Smile Software. Continue Reading How TextExpander Can Save You Time

When it comes to smart phones, Lancaster’s technology lawyers Matt Landis and Brandon Harter rarely agree on anything. Brandon wisely chooses the superior flexibility offered by Google’s Android environment, while Matt continues to dogmatically do only what someone in a long-sleeved black T-shirt and jeans tells him.

 In this post and in Matt’s counterpart, we managed to find some common ground: we can’t stand distracted driving. These posts will outline how features on an iPhone or an Android phone can reduce distractions and make the road a little bit safer for everyone.

 With the release of Apple’s Do Not Disturb While Driving feature as part of iOS 11, it is worth taking the time to remind everyone that Android apps have been helping us manage this for years. In a nutshell, the app prevents distracted driving by: (1) silencing your phone so you cannot see new text messages until you arrive; and (2) gives you the option to automatically reply that you’re driving and will get back to them when you arrive. Continue Reading Public Service Announcement: How your Android phone can help prevent distracted driving

When it comes to smart phones, Lancaster’s technology lawyers Matt Landis and Brandon Harter rarely agree on anything. Matt’s an Apple fanboy, while for some reason Brandon uses an Android phone.

In this post and in Brandon’s counterpart, we managed to find some common ground: we can’t stand distracted driving. These posts will outline how features on an iPhone or an Android phone can reduce distractions and make the road a little bit safer for everyone.

We are constantly interrupted from the notification tones or vibrations from our mobile phones, and on the road, that’s an obvious problem. On my commute, I witness distracted driving nearly every day. As our own Charlee Sweigart astutely observed in a lunchroom conversation on the issue: “Nobody looks down that much and smiles.”

With the release of iOS 11 last week, Apple announced a feature to help reduce distracted driving: Do Not Disturb While Driving. Basically, text and other notifications are limited while driving to reduce distractions. Calls may come through depending on your setup and settings – for example, if you’re connected to the vehicle’s Bluetooth system, the call will come through. For a full explanation of the feature’s impact on various notifications, you can learn more on Apple’s support website or by clicking “Learn More…” in the Do Not Disturb menu on the iPhone. Continue Reading Public Service Announcement: How your iPhone can help prevent distracted driving

Last December my colleague Matt Landis wrote about how 2016 was a big year for Lancaster’s tech community. Not satisfied with that success, 2017 has continued to highlight Lancaster’s tech sector. Here are a few examples making the front page this year:

We are excited to continue being a part of the technology explosion here in Lancaster County. You use technology to make your business more efficient. Does your lawyer do the same for you? Call us learn more about how we use technology to improve our clients’ results while decreasing their costs.

Brandon Harter is an attorney and technology guru at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from William & Mary Law School and advises clients on issues of Business LawCivil Litigation & Dispute ResolutionMunicipal Law, and Information Technology & Internet Law.

Earlier this month my wife and I traveled to Barcelona, Spain and I posted some of the highlights from our trip on Instagram. On the last day of our trip, we traveled just outside the city to Montserrat, which features a monastery and some incredible views.

After I returned to the US, I received a notification that I’d been tagged in a photo from an account I didn’t recognize. I opened the notification, and here’s what I found:

Montserrat in Catalonia

Another account had copied my photo, and in the description included a copyright symbol next to my username. I quickly reviewed the other posts from the account, and every other image was accompanied by a similar description.

This practice is called “content curation”, and while relatively common on Instagram and other social media sites, it doesn’t eliminate the risks of running afoul of the individual site’s terms of service, or subjecting the curator to liability for intellectual property infringement. Consequences for these types of violations include removal of the content, getting your account temporarily or permanently suspended, to an intellectual property infringement lawsuit with the potential for significant financial penalties.

So what’s the problem? The other account gave attribution, that makes it ok right? Continue Reading Protecting Your Intellectual Property on Instagram

Roald Dahl

In celebration of Roald Dahl Day  last Wednesday, someone posted the above quote from the multi-talented British novelist (and short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot) on r/GetMotivated on Reddit.

This quote describes an approach to life that some have naturally, but most pursue through self-reflection, hard work, trial and error. I’m part of the latter category, but what I love about my job is working hard to help my clients achieve their goal.

I’m fortunate to witness the pursuit of this lifestyle in various ways (I’m looking at you, members of CrossFit Hershey), but I see it most often in the entrepreneurs and small business owners that I have the privilege of working with. They have an interest, which turns into a hobby and at some point, they decide to take it to the next level. Continue Reading Lukewarm Is No Good – Turning Your Hobby into a Business

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued an updated version of its Endorsement Guides, which includes important information about the FTC’s current thoughts on when and how material connections between brands and endorsers should be disclosed.

In yesterday’s post, I discussed some background information about the theory behind FTC rules and endorsements and summarized some of the key points from the FTC’s guidance on when disclosures should be made. Below is a discussion of a few key points from the Endorsement Guides about how disclosures should be made online. Continue Reading Marketers and Influencers: How Should You Make Disclosures Online?

A federal court case involving who has the exclusive rights to a selfie taken by a monkey has settled. As mentioned in Part 4 of my series on Intellectual Property Law Basics, at the trial court level, a federal judge determined that animals cannot own copyrights. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but reached an agreement with the photographer, David Slater to settle the lawsuit prior to a ruling on the appeal.

The basis for the photographer’s claim to the rights associated with the photo is that he engineered the photo using his camera and that since copyright law does not recognize ownership rights by an animal, the exclusive rights associated with the image are owned by the photographer’s company. The settlement reportedly requires that the photographer agrees to donate 25% of any future revenue of the images to charities that protect crested macaques (the species of monkey that took the selfie). Continue Reading Copyright Update: Monkey See, Monkey Settle

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?