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From Hoosier to Habeas: The Hazards of Legalese

May 28, 2024

  This all began a week or so ago when I was strolling past a popular coffee-and-pastry spot in Evanston, Illinois. Having been born and raised in St. Louis, I smiled and shook my head as I glanced up at the establishment’s name, Hoosier Mama Pie Company. As my protagonist Rachel Gold explains in my…

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Court rules that the CTA is Unconstitutional: Enforcement of the CTA in Limbo

May 21, 2024

  Since the passage of the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) and the implementation of the associated regulations, various parties have been arguing that the statute was an overreach and unconstitutional.  We have been waiting to see how courts ruled on this – and we now have our first answer – with the initial court win…

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Behind the Music Ban: Who Pays the Price When UMG and TikTok Fight?

March 27, 2024

  Whether you are a content creator, musical artist, or someone like me who often (shamelessly) finds themselves mindlessly scrolling through social media platforms during their free time, you have likely caught wind of the recent dispute between Universal Music Group (“UMG”)—one of the world’s largest music conglomerates—and TikTok, one of the fastest growing, influential,…

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BREAKING: U.S. Department of Treasury Announces Change to Reporting Deadline for Companies Formed in 2024

November 29, 2023

  The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) – the agency responsible for implementing new requirements imposed by the Corporate Transparency Act of 2021 – has announced a change to the deadlines for the reporting of information by companies formed in 2024. Under the rule, as initially announced, those companies would have had 30 days from…

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The Corporate Transparency Act: What does a CPA need to know?

November 21, 2023

  More and More Reporting to the U.S. Department of Treasury In a seemingly never-ending quest to crack down on money laundering, funding of terrorism, and tax evasion, our federal government’s latest attempt to prevent individuals from concealing their business holdings through shell companies and complex ownership structures is a doozy: the Corporate Transparency Act…

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From Record Deals to Corporate Governance: Why I Care About the CTA

November 17, 2023

  What does an IP attorney who spends his days trying to protect the work of the creative class know about “corporate governance” you might ask?    I’ve never had a professional specialty that was particularly easy to explain or for other attorneys to understand. I’ve been called many things in my career, but “corporate governance…

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Property Reassessment Survival Guide: Why Is My Property Being Reassessed?

June 28, 2023

  What is Property Reassessment?  Missouri law requires every county assessor (and the St. Louis City Assessor) to reassess the value of each property within their jurisdiction during the spring of every odd-numbered year. This process is known as reassessment. Unless you sell or significantly improve your property after that reassessment, the valuation of your…

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A Trademark for Trump’s Private Part? The Gift that Goes on Giving

June 14, 2023

  Ready? How about a copyright claim over a farting doll named Pull My Finger Fred? Or a Supreme Court case over the trademark FUCT? Yes, to quote the reassurance that Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) offers to a disappointed Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation when Clark discovers that his Christmas bonus is…

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Artificial “Intelligence”? A Cautionary Tale Starring the ChatBot Associate from Hell

June 2, 2023

  As both a trial attorney and the author of novels, I have learned to heed the words of Mark Twain, who wrote: “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn’t.”  We’ve all heard remarkable true stories about amazing coincidences (twins separated at birth and…

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LLCs Taxed as S Corporations: Welcome Relief for Inadvertent “S” Failures

June 1, 2023

  A Disaster Waiting to Happen  Picture it: The year is 2003. You are an owner of a limited liability company that has elected to be taxed as an S corporation. When you formed your LLC, you worked with an attorney to draft the operating agreement, and your CPA filed the S election. You went…

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Fair Use Face-Off: Warhol vs. Goldsmith – Unpacking the Unexpected Ruling

May 19, 2023

  Yesterday morning the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited ruling in one of the most closely-watched copyright cases in a long time – Andy Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith. This case raised the question of whether pop artist Andy Warhol’s silkscreen painting of rock star Prince infringed on a photograph of Prince on which it was…

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Worried That Your Property Taxes Are about to Go Up?

May 9, 2023

  Many Missouri property owners have discovered that their property values have increased – at least according to their county assessors.  If you believe the assessor may have overvalued your property, the law gives you the right to appeal that valuation.  Understanding the process and some of the terminology involved can increase your chances of…

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The Cost of Streaming: How TV Writers and Musicians Are Paying the Price for Your Binge-Watching Habits

May 8, 2023

  How can there be a writer’s strike when we’re living in a time of unprecedented TV and movie production, with more screens and outlets to watch content on than ever before? And what does this mean for the music industry? Great questions. Let’s talk about it. The Streaming Era’s Impact on the Writer’s Strike …

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The Power of Mediation: Lessons Learned from the Trenches

March 6, 2023

Mediation is a powerful and efficient way to resolve conflict by having honest and open communication.  When I finish mediating a dispute I always reflect on how different and satisfying each process can be. I compare it to being confronted with a seemingly impossible crossword puzzle. At first glance the clues just don’t resonate but…

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Part II-C of Bittner: The Dark Lining Behind the Silver Cloud

February 28, 2023

This morning, the Supreme Court issued what lawyers correctly regard as a taxpayer-friendly opinion in the case of Bittner v. United States. In that case, by a vote of 5-4, the Court held the maximum penalty that the Government can impose upon a person who nonwillfully fails to file FinCEN Form 114, “Report of Foreign…

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The Power of Mediation: The Path to Healthy Resolution

February 6, 2023

In many cases, clients (even the ones who win) wish that they had found an alternative to litigation. I have concluded that the best and most cost-effective way to avoid litigation is EARLY mediation. I implore you to seek a serious structured effort early to resolve the dispute through mediation before legal bills and emotional…

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Maintaining S Corporation Status – Getting Easier and Less Costly

January 11, 2023

Preventing a late or invalid S corporation election or termination is a high priority for S corporations, their owners, and their advisors. It requires relentless attention to detail because the very existence of an S corporation involves a proverbial minefield of traps for the unwary. Subchapter S (Internal Revenue Code §§ 1361-1379) is filled with…

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A Truly Kinky Salute to the 2023 Public Domain Day

January 3, 2023

Last year at this time I welcomed the annual Public Domain Day with an apt quote from Winnie-the-Pooh: “It isn’t much good having anything exciting, if you can’t share it with somebody.” As I explained in that post, A.A. Milne’s beloved tale of the fictional teddy bear and his pals had entered the public domain…

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Is Donald Trump’s You-Know-What Too Tiny to Trademark? Trumped Again in a “Small” 1st Amendment Triumph

May 18, 2022

Ever since he rode down that Trump Tower gold escalator in June of 2015 to launch his campaign for president, the name Donald J. Trump has inspired either adoration or abomination. But for we intellectual property lawyers, whether we admire or loathe the man, we view him as the gift that goes on giving. Indeed,…

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How’s My Post? Dial 1-800-EYE-ROLL: Life in a Fuct Trademark Universe

May 4, 2022

It started as an ordinary traffic stop—waiting for the light to turn green, thoughts drifting aimlessly, idling behind a Honda Civic, but then I noticed the bumper sticker on that car:   HOW’S MY DRIVING? DIAL 1-800-EAT-SHIT Did I laugh? No. Did I smile? No. Was I outraged? No. Was I offended? No. Did I…

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