Short-term vacation home rentals – such as Airbnb, HomeAway, VRBO and others – are becoming more and more common today.  They are present not only in traditional vacation spots such as the Poconos, but more and more in every kind of neighborhood.  Many of these short-term rentals are happening in relatively “normal” suburban or urban communities.  Very often, these neighborhoods are not equipped to deal with vacationing out-of-towners using, and all too frequently abusing, one of their neighbor’s homes every week.  So the question remains “are these short-term rentals violations?”  Continue Reading Are Short-Term Rentals Permitted In Your Neighborhood?

In my post yesterday about The Extraordinary Give, I mentioned that each participating organization must be a 501(c)(3) organization. If you’re anything like me, you may have wondered – how did those organizations get to be a 501(c)(3)?

I’m glad you asked: here’s an overview of the typical process of starting a community benefit organization in Pennsylvania. Continue Reading How to Start a Community Benefit Organization in Pennsylvania

The 6th annual Extraordinary Give is coming soon: this year on Friday, November 17, 2017 from midnight to 11:59 pm, you’ll be able to support the community benefit organizations that you love by donating with your dollars. In addition to benefiting from your donations, there are several additional prizes that the participating organizations will be eligible to win.

Hosted by the Lancaster County Community Foundation, the Extraordinary Give is Lancaster County’s largest day of charitable giving, and over the past five years, over 500 organizations have benefitted from the event, with more than $22.5 million in total donations.

To learn more about the Extraordinary Give, check out their website here: extragive.org. There, you can browse the participating community benefit organizations by category or see a full list of all participating organizations. On November 17, you can keep track of all donations in real time on The Extraordinary Give Leaderboard. Continue Reading Save the Date: The Extraordinary Give is Next Friday, November 17, 2017

In many cases, an association will seek a Court Order to enforce its rules and regulations.  In those cases, the association asks a Judge to order the unit owner to stop doing something that they are not allowed to do, or to make some sort of change to comply with association governing documents or rules and regulations.  Since the association is asking the Judge to require a specific behavior, it needs to be sure that it asks for exactly what it wants.  Continue Reading Associations Should Be Careful What They Ask For

Last week, the finalists for The Great Social Enterprise Pitch were announced. In case you haven’t been following along, The Great Social Enterprise Pitch is a Central Pennsylvania-focused business plan competition organized by the Lancaster Community Foundation and ASSETS.

The following five social enterprises will compete at the Live Pitch event on October 6, 2017 at the Ware Center:

  1. Bridge – connecting communities through shared experiences.
  2. Green Matters Natural Dye Company – bringing pollution free color to the textile industry.
  3. Lancaster Fellow Foodies – making​ ​healthy​ ​dinners​ ​easy​ ​while​ ​creating​ ​meaningful​ ​jobs​ ​and​ ​advancing​ ​eco-friendly​ ​farming.
  4. Language Beyond Borders – building communication, bridging cultures, creating jobs.
  5. Meraki Mocha – empowering people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through a farm-to-table café.

Tickets for the Live Pitch event can be obtained for $10 here. Doors open at 5:00 pm for a business expo, pitches begin at 7:00 pm. The pitches are followed by keynote speaker Tyler Gage, the cofounder of RUNA, a social enterprise company that makes beverages with guayusa from the Amazon rainforest. I hope to see you there!

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University Commonwealth School of Law and works regularly with business owners and entrepreneurs.

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?

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 this post, I’ll summarize some of the key points from the FTC’s guidance on when disclosures should be made. Check back tomorrow for more information about how an appropriate disclosure should be made online and whether the FTC is paying attention to influencers (hint – the answer is yes).

But first, here’s some background information to help frame the discussion: Continue Reading Marketers and Influencers: When Should You Make Disclosures Online?

Last Thursday, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that ASSETS, a Lancaster-based nonprofit organization dedicated to creating economic opportunity and cultivating entrepreneurial leadership, was awarded a grant of $102,598 through the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME) program. PRIME grants aim to help small businesses gain access to capital. This makes ASSETS an ideal candidate for assistance through PRIME, as ASSETS provides access to capital through its Lending Circles program.

ASSETS also provides additional valuable small business services to Central Pennsylvania small business owners, including seminars, business consulting, and Women’s Business Accelerator program, to name a few. ASSETS also sponsors the ongoing business plan competition, The Great Social Enterprise Pitch, which is currently in the crowdfunding campaign portion of the competition. You can learn more and donate here: The Great Social Enterprise Pitch Crowdfunding Portal.

You can learn more about the great work that ASSETS does in Lancaster County and how you can get involved at the ASSETS website, located at www.assetspa.org.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University Commonwealth School of Law and works regularly with business owners and entrepreneurs.

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