A Value-Added Tax: Who is the Joke on?

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It has been said that a value added
tax (VAT) will not pass because liberals fear it is regressive and
conservatives fear it will increase the size of the federal government.  “However, the joke continues, a VAT will be
passed when liberals recognize that it could be a money machine and
conservatives recognize that it is regressive.” 
But are the terms of the joke accurate? 
Would enacting a vat be trading a regressive tax for more government?

I. What Is a VAT

There is more than one way to
implement a VAT and the intricacies of such implementation are beyond the scope
of this article.  Suffice it to … Read the rest

I’m All In: The Online Poker Industry

Introduction

Since the first online hand was dealt on January 1st, 1998, the online poker business has exploded in popularity. [1]  “Research from Christiansen Capital Advisors says online poker revenues have grown from $82.7 million in 2001 to $2.4 billion in 2005.”[2]  Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, and Titan Poker represent the three largest poker sites, and alone these three sites serve more than fifty thousand cash players a month.[3]  In the past three months, the numbers of cash players on these three poker sites has increased 6-10%. [4]  On these, and on the hundreds of other poker sites, U.S. players generate an estimated $85 million in revenues monthly for these sites. [5]  From 2004 to 2007, the online poker industry recorded a 72% growth rate.[6]

 

Why Is Online Poker Becoming So Popular?

The success of the online poker industry can be attributed to a Read the rest

Failure to Communicate

I. Introduction

The development of the Internet has led to exponential growth in the amount of information available to any one person. With the Internet, entire new market sectors have sprung up almost overnight. The Internet has (for many) made our lives more convenient –  one can make many, if not all, purchase online, access the news and weather reports, plan a vacation, work from home, communicate with friends and family, and access a plethora of information that would otherwise be unavailable to them – with the Internet the possibilities are almost limitless. Bearing this in mind, researchers, businessmen, and consumers are constantly searching for ways to better utilize the Internet for their own benefit. The desires of the various demographics seeking to better utilize the Internet are not always inline, and are in fact often in competition with one another.

Prime examples of the competing interests can be Read the rest

Renewable Energy: Looking Toward the Future

I.  Introduction

Rising gas prices and an increasing awareness of the environmental consequences associated with the use of fossil fuels have spurred the development of the biofuel industry.  “From being merely an interest of marginal innovators, it has become a multi-million dollar business – transforming economies – thanks to rising attention and support from governments and the public.”[1]  With the US consuming nearly 20.8 billion barrels of oil per day, and with OPEC officials claiming they will not be able to meet the projected western oil demands in 10 to 15 years, the prospect of meeting our energy needs through homegrown and renewable resources is becoming more appealing.[2],[3]  But this seemingly cut and dry solution to the US dependency on fossil fuels is not as simple as it appears.  The actual economic and environmental benefits realized by relying more heavily on biofuels is hotly debated, … Read the rest

Protecting “The Progress of Science and Useful Arts.”

I. Introduction

 

Patents have recently received a great deal of attention as tradable commodities, attracting the attention of several hedge funds, and giving rise to investment firms that specialize in patent acquisition.[1][2] This aspect is not unanticipated, and in fact is on its face congruent with the original means for attaining the goals behind patent law – “to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” [3] The idea behind providing this protection is simple: encourage innovation by giving the innovator certain property rights and protections under the law which in turn encourages market participation.[4] The ability to monetize innovation is the means by which the U.S. Constitution proposed to incentivize the research and distribution of innovations. Nowhere else has this been more relevant than in the “Technology Read the rest

International Personal Data Protection and Its Redress

I. Introduction

Personal data protection may be of concern anywhere, anytime in this information society.  It is common to submit personal information to create digital identification or authorization to perform certain kinds of online activities, such as an electronic transaction. [1] In addition, all Internet traffic may be automatically tracked and restored by the visited website controller using Cookies technology or equivalent softwares. [2]  There is a strong incentive to collect and store the data because it is valuable for business purposes in offering customized service and it is easy and cheap to do so. [3]  However, it has not been guaranteed that data collectors manage the personal data in an appropriate manner.  Thus, it has drawn the interests of the international society to establish personal data protection principles and have an effective redress or resolution method in case of breach.

II. Background on Data Protection Disputes

The goal of … Read the rest

Chipping Away at the RIAA’s “Making Available” Theory of Copyright Infringement

I.    Introduction

On September 8, 2003, the Recording Industry Association of America
(RIAA) filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 261 individuals
for sharing songs on peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.[1]  In the five years
since, the RIAA has sued, settled, or threatened litigation against
over 30,000 Americans for alleged violations of the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act.[2]  These actions have attracted a great deal of public
attention, largely due to the fact that the suits have hit very close
to home for many Americans.  Unlike prior lawsuits, which targeted
software programs such as Napster and Grokster, this new chapter in the
file-sharing saga has focused on ordinary people.[3]  The targets of
the RIAA’s legal claims run the spectrum of everyday people who are not
typically the subjects of copyright actions, including children,
parents, grandparents, single mothers, professors, and college
students.[4]

The RIAA’s strategic offensive against music consumers has spurred a
firestorm of debate

Read the rest

Cyberbullying: A Modern Problem

I.    Introduction

   A girl kills herself because she finds out the boy she liked on MySpace.com (“Myspace”) was actually a couple of girls, allegedly assisted by their parents, making fun of her. [1]  Another teenager is lured to a girl’s home and beaten repeatedly in retaliation for comments made on MySpace.com, while the beating is filmed for posting on MySpace. [2].  These events and others have highlighted the lack of adequate criminal laws about online harassment and online bullying – sometimes called cyberstalking or cyberbullying.
This article will examine the recent cases of cyberbullying, address examples of current laws that deal with cyberbullying and cyberstalking, and, finally, explain what needs to be changed about current laws to address the developing criminal area of cyberbullying.

II.    Cyberbullying in the News

    A.  Megan Meier
    A month is a long time in the life of a 13-year-old … Read the rest

Evaluating E-Discovery Software Vendors: Important Questions to Ask

I.  Introduction
    Lawyers face many challenges in the litigation process.  Many of these challenges present themselves during the discovery process, which can be incredibly expensive. [1] With the ubiquitous nature of current technology, especially in the business world, the discovery rules have had to adapt.  New rules, the electronic discovery (“e-discovery”) rules, in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure account for discovery of electronic documents. [2]  Attorneys have had to adjust to these new rules by learning a novel language, and familiarizing themselves with how to obtain such electronic information from their clients and what kinds of information to ask for from opposing counsel. [3]
    One way attorneys can adapt to these new rules and attempt to discover all relevant documents at a lower, efficient cost is to invest in e-discovery software.  Many different vendors, such as Attenex, have software specifically designed for attorneys and their … Read the rest

Wikileaks: A Cutting-Edge Journalistic Tool or An Affront to Business Privacy?

I.  Introduction

Wikileaks.org, a website dedicated to compiling leaked
documents from governments and corporations, has sought to hold
large-scale entities more accountable for their actions through greater
transparency of information. [1]  However, by publishing sensitive
information it believes to be in the public interest, coupled with the
fact that the site has a completely anonymous user base, the site has
aroused the ire of international governments and businesses alike. [2] 
A recent lawsuit by a Swiss bank in which the bank sought (and briefly
received) a permanent injunction to shut down Wikileaks highlights how
much controversy the site has generated in its relatively short life
span. [3]  While some critics try to paint Wikileaks as a site that
engenders illegal activity and as a site that is a threat to privacy,
neither claim can be properly substantiated. [4]  Though Wikileaks is
controversial, most forms of speech displayed on the site

Read the rest