This week’s episode examines who owns the selfie taken at the Oscars, why one food truck is facing criminal charges, how Getty Images is making some of its photos free, and a teen’s Facebook post that may cost her dad $80,000. Nasir and Matt also field questions about who owns work created by an employer’s staff, what to look for in a commercial lease, and whether to go to small claims court for your customer/client’s unpaid bill.

Full Podcast Transcript

NASIR: And I realized that we always introduce ourselves but we already have an intro. So, I don’t even know why we even do that. It’s like Andy Richter introduces Conan O’Brien and he walks in and says, “I’m Conan O’Brien and this is the…” whatever the show is called.

MATT: It’s because, last week, it was just me. So, sometimes, it is different.

NASIR: Oh, that’s true, that’s true.
Well, let’s start our show.
What do we have, Matt?

MATT: Welcome back, first of all. It’s good to have you back after last week it was just me. We’ll see if our chemistry is still here after taking a couple of weeks off.

NASIR: I know. I definitely missed the podcast. But I think last week’s episode – and I’m not even being funny about it – it was I think our best episode. Obviously, it was a compilation of our best moments but it was truly a really nice review of the last twenty episodes.

MATT: It was actually pretty fun going back and listening to them again too because there’s a lot of stuff that I forgot that we even talked about. It was a nice little stroll down memory lane.

NASIR: We’re not that old yet!

MATT: Well, for the podcast, yeah.
All right, enough of that. We’ll get into the first story we have for this week. This has gotten a lot of publicity. I’m sure anyone that’s been breathing, I guess, in this last week has heard about this selfie that was taken at the Oscars. I actually didn’t see the Oscars. Well, I take that back. I saw the end of it but I didn’t see this part.

NASIR: Well, it’s funny. I probably watched five minutes and this is the only part that I saw. So, I’m ready.

MATT: Good. Well, Ellen was the host and I guess she did this thing where she did a lot of crowd work and she went into the crowd and she had a phone and – I guess you can correct me if I’m wrong on exactly how this happened – she handed to Bradley Cooper and they took a selfie of a bunch of people. It looks like ten of them and a bunch of high-profile celebrities. This picture, she put it up on Twitter and, the last time I checked, it had over 3.3 million retweets which is just shattering whatever the previous record was. I think the previous record was Obama’s tweet when he said, “Four more years.” I could be wrong on that.

NASIR: I didn’t even realize that it gained so much popularity. In fact, when I saw it, it was almost awkward because Ellen’s holding one of those huge Samsung phones so it was basically a Samsung ad placement. And then, she’s taking pictures and then having people get together. The picture turned out nice but, for me, it was just a very awkward moment when, like, celebrities didn’t know what was going on.

MATT: It doesn’t look like they were on it either because their expression looked pretty natural.
But they’re saying, “Who owns this photo?”
The story that’s coming out this week is Bradley Cooper, since he was the photographer, he owns the photo, according to copyright law.

NASIR: Yeah, and if you think about it, Ellen is the one that is the owner of the phone – well, supposedly; it may not even be hers. And then, she hands it to Mr. Bradley Cooper who is apparently an actor. He’s the one who actually takes the photo. And so, this is equivalent to a photographer that – I don’t know – rents a camera or borrows a camera and goes out for a photoshoot. Who owns the photo? Is it the participants? Is it the photographer? Is it the owner of the camera? Very classic situation but we already know the answer.

MATT: According to the law, it’s Bradley Cooper. But there are some other theories that have been thrown out there. They’re saying there is some co-authorship principle where Bradley would have the ownership but also Ellen would too because it’s her phone. Well, we assume it’s her phone. It seems like it might not be. She also directed Bradley Cooper to take the photo. The story is kind of funny because it’s kind of pointless but it is a good way to bring up intellectual property law.

NASIR: That’s true. I think it’s a losing argument as far as the co-authorship. I mean, it’s almost bringing out a non-issue but it’s pointing out something interesting, like you said.

MATT: We addressed Bradley Cooper and Ellen. Some people talked about Samsung because I guess all the photos she took backstage were with an iPhone which I assume would be hers. The only time she had the Samsung is when she was in the crowd. So, this is a clear product placement. They talked about that. People had talked about Twitter because it got posted to Twitter. That’s where it gained all the popularity of almost 3.5 million retweets. There’s a lot of different theories.

NASIR: The smartest move – and they may have already done this – Samsung, what they could have done is, in their engagement with Ellen or the academy, whoever their contract is with for their product placements is to put in some work for hire language so that any images that are taken with that Samsung camera could be owned by them. But the problem is, if Bradley is taking it, then he may not have a direct contract and he probably does it with Samsung or anyone else for that matter. And so, how that would translate actually could get into a little bit of a mess because I think you’re right in the sense that this photo does have some inherent value so there is something there as far as a legal dispute if someone wanted to make it.

MATT: Yeah, and that’s the big thing, too. Ellen and Samsung could have had some agreement but they don’t have anything with Bradley Cooper. It kind of throws everything into a loop. But this is actually good because this bleeds into our first question here. Unless you have any gripes about any of the Oscar selections, we can just get into the first question.

NASIR: No, I am anxious to see some of the best picture winners, though.

MATT: Yeah. Well, that’s the problem. I don’t see movies in theatres so I don’t see any of these movies until well down the road.

NASIR: Yeah. Well, a lot of these best pictures always seem to come out right before the Oscars so most people haven’t even had a chance to view them. And so, it obviously gains its popularity that way as well.

MATT: Yeah, and people can listen when we do our weekly movie review podcast, too – Legally Sound Smart Movies.

NASIR: Terrible title.

MATT: All right, first question.
“One of my staff is using some of the work he’s creating while at the office to sell outside of work. My understanding is I own it. is this right?”
This comes from an ad agency in San Francisco.

NASIR: Yeah, you’re right. This does play into it. Maybe we did that on purpose – or at least you did.

MATT: Yeah.

NASIR: Well, it depends whether he or she is a staff. I assume that means employee because there’s a big difference. If it’s an employee, then the assumption is that you basically own the works of your employee. But, if it’s not an employee, an independent contractor, then you have this whole concept of a work-for-hire agreement.

MATT: Right, it kind of turns on the word “staff” in this question. You would assume it’s an employee but it might be an independent contractor. If that’s the case, it depends on the work they’re doing, I suppose, as well on what’s going to be considered work-for-hire and what’s not – assuming there’s some sort of agreement, I guess that comes into play, too. But the type of work also is a factor.

NASIR: Yeah, absolutely. Here’s the deal, too. The copyright law literally has not been updated since – I don’t know – I think last time it was updated, I want to say in the 70’s. In fact, it’s the copyright act of 1976. It may have been updated one or two times, very subtly, but think about this concept. The internet didn’t exist back then. A lot of things didn’t exist back then. And so, the problem is copyright law is still old so, when it comes to, for example, programming and different things like that, you may have a copyright. But, when it comes to work-for-hire, they’ve limited the types of works that can fall into work-for-hire. For example, collective work, writings or sanctioned paintings, things like that. And so, a lot of times, these simple work-for-hire contracts don’t even work and you need additional language that requires the independent contractor to assign their work to the employer. I’m only bringing this about because, in this case, this person’s in an ad agency so I don’t know what kind of work they’re referring to. But, simply using just some template work-for-hire agreement sometimes is not enough to actually retain the ownership of what you’re trying to maintain.

MATT: Yeah, that’s exactly right, and you mentioned a couple – collective work and things of that nature but, yeah, it doesn’t address really anything that would ever be relevant – well, some stuff – but it was created before the internet was really a thing. A test, answer material for a test, these are two of the nine options on here on Atlas. So, they definitely need some sort of revamp on this.

NASIR: Exactly. Sometimes, a collective work can be construed for software application but a lot of times, you’re outsourcing your entire software app, right? There’s no software application exception or category for work-for-hire for independent contractors. But the next time I do an Atlas – which is one of the categories – I’ll definitely make sure to just do a simple work-for-hire contract.

MATT: I had a road atlas in my car that I threw away this week that’s been in there for at least ten years and I just saw it the other day and there’s hardly anything in my car but this is one of the few things. I was just sitting there, like, “Why do I even need this anymore? Everything is on the phone. I can pull up a much better version of whatever this is in this huge book in one second.” Actually, I guess I used to use it when I drove around the country, but now it’s just pointless.

NASIR: I used to love maps but, if you’re traveling outside the country, you actually have to know how to use it because those GPS phones aren’t going to work the same way.

MATT: That’s true – unless you have a Samsung.

NASIR: That’s true. Sponsored by Samsung.

MATT: All right. Let’s get into the next story we have. This is Alameda County in California.
I guess food trucks are still pretty popular.

NASIR: They’re huge. I think the fad’s died down but I think it’s something that’s here to stay because it’s such an easy way to prop up a business overnight. If you have good so-called gourmet food, then I think you’ll attract some nice customers.

MATT: Yeah, and that’s the thing – if you have the gourmet food.
This story deals with I guess it’s a food truck and catering business and they’re facing criminal charges because basically they were doing fraudulent things. We advertised we were getting fresh crab daily, just like the shrimp, and that was all shrimp that was frozen from Costco. So, that’s pretty bad. But they were also buying food from fast food restaurants – some of the food they were giving out to people. This is just ridiculous.

NASIR: Yeah, and they were advertising fresh homemade clam chowder and all it was was canned we buy from Ranch 99. I don’t know what that is but canned clam chowder compared to fresh homemade. Obviously, they got caught. I mean, people are going to notice.

MATT: Yeah, I guess you could tell the difference. And so, my view of food trucks is a little bit different. I used to really like them and think they were really cool. Then, throughout time, I’ve just realized it’s pretty much the same thing you can get at – well, not a lot of restaurants but there’s enough other spots you can find them – but it’s cheaper than food trucks because food trucks have to mark up their prices because they’re using so much gas. I guess other places have rent.

NASIR: You think it’s more expensive though? I mean, I agree. Those food trucks aren’t necessarily cheap food but I still think it would be cheaper than a brick and mortar place.

MATT: Yeah, I mean, I thought about that as I was just saying it right now. But I still think, it dawned on me as I was saying that, there’s also rent and other overhead expenses for normal restaurants. But, I guess, in my experience of food, the quality you can get and the quantity and quality, it seems like it’s always more expensive at food trucks than it is at a normal, not a sit-down restaurant… I don’t know. I’m backing myself into a hole here. I’m going to stick with it.

NASIR: No, but I know what you’re saying. I think they used to be, when they first came out they were pretty cool. But now there’s so many and so it’s kind of hit-or-miss now that it’s hard to find the good ones from the bad and now it’s just like all the good ones are being drowned out by everyone else and even restaurants now are propping these things up because, when we have a food court of food trucks, then you don’t want to lose that business.
But let’s get back to the story. I mean, you have these guys that are basically false advertising. The fact that they’d actually been charged with criminal charges kind of gives the extent of how bad they were doing this because this is also something that may come from a regulatory perspective and maybe get them fined, but I think they’re actually subject to jailtime here.

MATT: Yeah, it would be interesting. Obviously, they’ve done fraudulent things but it’s just weird because there’s other businesses that have done much more fraudulent things. Like I said, this is definitely bad. Do you really think they’re going to get some sort of jailtime?

NASIR: No, I’m just hoping so.

MATT: Okay.

NASIR: I just went to Seattle last week and I had fresh clam chowder there and I enjoyed it very much. But, if someone told me they were actually canned, not only would I be embarrassed but also very upset.

MATT: I’ve been to Seattle and I’ve been to Portland. I know Portland has that whole area of food trucks and food carts. I can’t remember if Seattle has a similar thing. I don’t want to group all the northwest into one but it seems that they always… Portland and Seattle are very similar cities in my view.

NASIR: Yeah, I haven’t been to Portland so I can’t speak to…

MATT: I’m just really backing myself into a lot of different holes in this story here.

NASIR: You do not want to piss off anyone from Seattle, that’s for sure.

MATT: I’ve been to both and I liked both the cities so I’m not saying anything bad. I was just wondering.

NASIR: I know this is not our break but, just to kind of skip to it really quick, one of the stories we covered on the Best Of episode last week was the twelfth man. I’ll tell you, the twelfth man really does exist in Seattle. My wife and I were at a comedy show, Lisa Lampanelli – she was all right. But the point is that, for the couple of comedians beforehand, you know, they would mention just Seattle or the Seahawks and the crowd of maybe 200 or 300 people – actually, 300 or 400 – they would go crazy and they wouldn’t even the let comedian finish. It was ridiculous. But they were way into it. It was almost jarring to kind of be in that hall and all of a sudden everyone’s just shouting out god-knows-what. Something about football.

MATT: Well, they’re still celebrating the Super Bowl win.

NASIR: Come on, that was weeks ago. They should be over it by now.

MATT: I know people from Seattle. It’s a real thing. They’re die-hard fans.

NASIR: Well, that’s because they haven’t got anything else to do besides go out to restaurants and watch football because there’s not good weather there, I’ll tell you that. We had some good weather.

MATT: If you get lucky.
All right, we’ll get into our next question that’s not from Seattle. It’s from Fresno, California.
“I’m going from a home office to renting a space. What should I look for in a commercial lease?”

NASIR: That’s a nice transition. A lot of businesses, they start out working from home and then now you’re ready to actually rent an office space and I think there’s a couple of main things to look out for.
First, especially if you’re California – and this person is in Fresno – when you have a residential lease, there’s all these protections that are given to tenants and those protections are not the same for commercial tenants. In fact, most of them go away. There are a few in there that are exceptional to California only but I think that’s the big thing – you don’t have the same kind of automatic protection so that’s why a little bit closer reading to the lease is a little bit more important.
Second, I think one big new thing is that, even if you’re operating under an entity – whether it’s a corporation, LLC, et cetera – most likely you’re going to be a new business and so they’re going to require you to sign what’s called a personal guarantee. That means that you, as an individual, are going to guarantee the rent whether or not you’re operating under an entity which obviously that’s one of the reasons you form the entity – to protect you from liability. But, in this case, you’re basically waiving that right. And so, sometimes, that can be a little bit of a difference and that’s why they’re still going to look at the credit of you as an individual and your history and so forth, depending upon the amount that you’re paying.

MATT: Right, and the way I approach this question is, if this person is looking for a commercial lease, I assume that they’ve at least signed a residential lease at one point in their life. So, the way I view it is what’s different in those leases in a commercial lease and you had noted a couple of good ones there. The term in a commercial lease is most likely going to be longer than any residential lease you’ll sign, I would assume, because they want to lock people in long-term. It’s going to be more negotiable, too. For residential leases – at least what I’ve experienced – people kind of present you with “this is it, this is the price, and you either sign up or you don’t.” With commercial leases, you have some wiggle room. It’s more flexible than a normal residential lease you would sign.

NASIR: I forgot one important thing – CAMs – the common area maintenance fees. I think this is probably the most surprising. It’s an item which, if you’re not experienced in this industry, it can be very surprising, especially to your bottom line. That is basically, a lot of times, most commercial leases are what’s called triple net that you’re going to be paying for all property taxes and maintenance for the property and in proportion to the space that you’re renting. A lot of times, this amount is an additional to your rent.
A lot of times, how these CAM expenses are described are a little convoluted. Sometimes, it’ll be a fixed fee. Sometimes, it’ll be based upon actual expenses from the landlord or it’ll be based upon a percentage or a certain price per foot. There’s multiple ways to do it but not only is it sometimes of a hit in cost in renting but then it also changes year by year as well. Or it’ll be a one-time fee. Sometimes, these CAM fees are paid within the monthly rent or maybe they’re paid quarterly or even yearly. And so, these are all things that are totally foreign to a residential lease because, usually, you know what your security deposit is and your rent and then you’re done and then, yeah, you have to pay some utilities. But, with common area maintenance expenses in a triple net commercial lease, it’s a totally different ball game.

MATT: Another thing I just thought of too is the restrictions. There are a couple of things. One would be what kind of sign are you allowed to put up or what exactly can you put up to show that your business is there. Two – and I think this is a big one – is competition.

NASIR: Yeah, exclusivity.

MATT: If you’re in a strip mall, for example, sometimes, there’s clauses in there saying – and this would be in favor of the business – something that you can negotiate saying, “I don’t want another nail salon in there.” This lease might say you will be the only nail salon within this allotted area. That’s something that you can do as a business that would be pretty beneficial.

NASIR: That brings up the point that these things are very highly negotiable. Even things that are not typical to a commercial lease can be negotiated. And so, you have to also know what your bargaining power is and how big of a tenant you are compared to the rest of the property. You’d be very pleased to find out that you have a lot of wiggle room. Even with tenant improvements, for example, maybe when you’re first starting out and going from a home office to a commercial space, maybe you’re going to a small area. But, as you grow, then you have some nice negotiation power. It’s kind of a nice fresh change once you get to that point.

MATT: You have to go back and look to make sure they didn’t write the business type in there when I used that nail salon example. I’m glad they didn’t. We’ll just assume that was it.
I think we offered a lot of good advice on that one – more than I was expecting.

NASIR: We answered that better than we were expecting, that’s good.

MATT: We already kind of did the break, unless you have anything else.

NASIR: No, but Seattle was fun. I don’t mean to make fun of it too much but that was very surprising to hear about. I saw the twelfth man signs everywhere, too. We even covered this. When that lease goes up, I don’t know how all these business owners or something like that, they’re going to have to take it down because then I don’t think they have a license to it.

MATT: Yeah, do you remember when that was expiring?

NASIR: I think they’re just renewing it or the negotiation.

MATT: It’s pretty soon.

NASIR: I think it was expiring a year or two from now – very soon. We’ll keep up with it.

MATT: They can pretty much name their price, I’m guessing. It will be interesting.
So, this deals with Getty Images. It looks like they just pretty much gave up – at least with some photos. Getty Images is just deciding that there’s 35 million of its photos are just going to be free because it sounds like they just gave up. They just can’t do any enforcement action anymore. It’s too much to handle.

NASIR: I think everyone has this experience. You go on the internet and you end up seeing the same photo in five different places. I’m talking about those old stock photos of some business guy sitting at a desk or whatever, right? For that guy, it’s been circulating for the last five, ten years and so forth. I think those are the photos that they’re talking about.
I think the best move that they made and one of the stories that we reviewed, covered this is that you can actually, what they do now is embed the actual photo from that site. Instead of copying and pasting, you actually paste some code into it and then it has a little caption that says, “This is from Getty Images,” and so forth. I think what’s neat about that is that now Getty Images is kind of taking control over the source material and, since they’re giving it away for free, they’re adapting to the fact that people are going to steal it anyway. Well, if they’re going to do that, let’s at least make sure that we get credit for it and that maybe we can turn this into a moneymaker by slipping in ads or something like that.

MATT: Right, and that was the “free images” because it was embedded so it’s a little bit different. But they tried some other things, too. It looks like they tried to watermark before but I guess there’s ways to circumvent that through I’m not sure exactly what it is but there’s ways to get around that and just tried a bunch of different things.
I guess this leads to how are they going to make money off of this – how are they going to generate revenue? They were looking kind of in the YouTube model with having ads on there which I guess I’ve noticed more recently, if you see, I’m guessing this is how they would do it, you see a photo and a little ad. A little rectangle comes up at the bottom. I guess that’s how they would do it or maybe something pops up in front of the photo for ten seconds or something like that.

NASIR: I think, for bloggers and all these online publishers, I don’t think they’ll mind because finding good photos and even we have trouble sometimes too, finding photos to match what you’re covering and not having it cost too much is not easy to do. And so, I think it’s a good play.
It reminds me of all these other online publishers – whether it’s music or movies – that are adjusting to the fact that people are going to steal it. It’s much better to give it to them the way that we want to and control that than to have it on the black market, so to speak, and that’s why places like Netflix and Amazon and Hulu are going so well because they’re streaming it maybe for free or for a nominal fee.

MATT: So, you think this is bad for photographers as well? Because now they might not be able to sell photos to Getty like they would in the past.

NASIR: Well, I think the internet is a problem for the photographers because, once it’s published one place, then it’s very easy for anyone else to copy it. But, if you give a means to do this, because all this means is that, instead of your photo being stolen – maybe sold once and then stolen many times over – you’re selling your photograph probably for a lot less. But then, at least you have more of a market and more of a consistent means of marketplace. I guess that’s the argument because people are going to steal it no matter what. I know I am.

MATT: I’ve been stealing photos left and right throughout this whole episode, and they will be posted on our website –

NASIR: And we’ll be waiting for the copyright infringement lawsuits and demand letters.

MATT: Let’s get into the last question here for this week.
“If I have a client that won’t pay their bill, do I have a better chance of winning if I go to small claims court over normal court?”
This is someone from Anaheim, California. The dispute is about an unpaid bill.

NASIR: If I have a client that won’t pay their bill…
Small claims versus “normal court.” Well, in California, there are three types of jurisdiction. This gets into some fun legal talk but there’s small claims and then there’s limited jurisdiction and unlimited jurisdiction. And so, bottom line is that small claims is the most fast proceedings; easiest, simplest; but it also has a limit. I think they increased it a couple of years ago. Do you ever remember where it’s at right now?

MATT: It looks like, if you’re an individual, it’s $10,000 or less.

NASIR: And then, for a corporation?

MATT: If you’re a business, it’s $5,000 or less. That’s not even that much money – I mean, for a business, $5,000 might not be anything at all.

NASIR: And, even though it increased from $7,500 to $10,000 for individuals, it was $5,000 before. So, that hasn’t changed. The reasoning is that they feel that, if you’re a business and you’re in court, then you have more of the means and the ability to pursue your damages in regular court because, here’s the thing, in small claims, you can’t have an attorney based in California and it’s just one hearing. There’s no jury. It’s kind of loosey-goosey when it comes to presenting the evidence. You even don’t have that much time to present evidence and so forth because, frankly, we’re not talking about a huge amount of money.
And so, this person’s asking, “My client’s not paying their bill. What do I do? Small claims, what’s my better chance?” It’s kind of hard to say but, in small claims court, you have to understand that it’s much easier to litigate and so your costs are way down. However, the risk of winning or losing – I mean, this is kind of a debatable question – I think most attorneys would say that small claims is a little bit more unpredictable because the evidence rules aren’t as strict whereas it’s a little bit more predictable in a limited or unlimited jurisdiction because you have more experienced judges that are going to follow the law.
In my opinion, I think it’s a flip of the coin either way.

MATT: You know, obviously, cost comes into play. But, to me, if you’re a business person and you are going to represent yourself very well and the person you’re going against is not and they’re going to come off really poorly, I would just go to small claims courts because you’re going to look a lot better. You don’t want to give the other side the opportunity to hire an attorney and you lose that advantage of your being able to present your argument a lot more fluently than they would. That’s my take.

NASIR: I agree with you in the sense about cost as a business if $5,000 is your limit and let’s say that the client owes you $6,000 and I would not sue for $6,000, that doesn’t make any sense. I mean, are you going to hire an attorney for that amount of money? That might be your legal cost. And so, I would just go to small claims for something like that.
It’s a whole other question about whether you should sue your client in the first place though.

MATT: Yeah, that’s true. Even if you win, you always have to worry about collecting it. So, that’s another issue.

NASIR: Another issue, yeah, absolutely.

MATT: Should I answer this question?
Don’t take on bad clients – that’s what I should have said from the beginning.

NASIR: Yeah, that’s true, and litigation is your last resort.
In my mind, especially from a business perspective, you should only be initiating a lawsuit unless the lawsuit itself is going to be in your favor as well in the sense that you have the cash and that you have a high likelihood of success. Or sometimes you have to file a lawsuit because you’re forced into it because, if you don’t, then you’re covering your losses, so to speak.

MATT: Right.

NASIR: I think that’s a general rule when it comes to individuals that are suing in personal injury and all this like that, I mean, that’s been glamorized in the media, but you’re in a different position. You’re a business. And so, you have to make calculated risk decisions which is very difficult to do when you feel like you’ve been robbed – for example, if your client doesn’t pay you when you provided the service or product.

MATT: Yeah, you nailed it. Good job!

NASIR: Thank you again!

MATT: All right, let’s get into the last story of this week and we’re not going to talk about the one teenager who’s been in the news for a lawsuit this week with the girl who sued her parents.

NASIR: Yeah, I’m so glad we’re not covering that. That’s just melodrama.

MATT: That’s been overblown. We’re going to talk about another teenager dealing with their parents but this is a little bit different.
This girl, I guess her dad was involved in a lawsuit and there was a settlement for – now we know – $80,000 against the school. Is that correct? I’m trying to remember. An employer was but I thought it was the school.

NASIR: Yeah, I think it was the school for age discrimination lawsuit.

MATT: So, there was a settlement for $80,000. That’s great. Got the collection and the settlement usually confidential.
This girl goes on to Facebook and posts – her last name is Snay, by the way, because that will be relevant – “Mama and Papa Snay won the case against Gulliver.” which is the school. “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”

NASIR: Well, first of all, that’s a great update, by the way. That’s very well-worded.

MATT: So, this violated the settlement agreement and now her father is at risk of losing this money. I don’t remember if this already violated it completely and he lost it. He’s at least in danger of now breaking the settlement agreement.

NASIR: Yeah. So, settlement agreements almost always have this clause to make it confidential. But, you know what’s interesting, when I get clients in this situation, a lot of times, they go into it not for the money, so to speak – at least they say they don’t – but it’s for their principle and so forth. Of course, I tell them, “Look, if you’re going into it for principle, it’s not going to work out that way because the justice system is only going to award you money and that’s it. You’re not going to get an apology and so forth. But then, a lot of times too, you can actually negotiate at this confidentiality part out and sometimes people want a public apology or be able to say to the public that, “Yeah, I sued those people because they did something wrong and they settled out of it.” Sometimes, that’s worth quite a bit for the clients and I respect that for those people. Obviously, okay, age discrimination lawsuit, $80,000, you have a settlement agreement that you’re supposed to keep confidential, you breach it, well, I mean, that’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to lose that settlement.

MATT: This is a little bit interesting because, I’m trying to think, if this happened to me, I probably wouldn’t tell my kid. “We settled for this amount of dollars,” especially when she knows what the school is. I don’t know. I would just say we settled. I guess that was mistake number one.

NASIR: Yeah.

MATT: Let me clarify, mistake number one was having the daughter and then mistake number two was telling her. No, just kidding.

NASIR: Yeah, well, it’s an expensive mistake, that’s for sure.

MATT: Yeah, this is tough. I mean, this happens all the time with a lot of teenagers are the primary culprits but it’s really any age. People just get on social media and just say whatever they want to say which you’ve got to think before you post and we can relate this into businesses, too. If someone gives you a bad review, don’t get on there and just blast them right away, especially when you’re a business. Everything you post on social media, you have to think before you post it. I would recommend even having someone that needs to approve everything you want to post just so you have a second opinion – someone that you consider the VP of common sense.

NASIR: Even for personal posts, right? I think that’s a great service that you can go through. Just hire someone. “I’m going to post throughout the day and then it’s going to held there and you have to approve it or disapprove it just in case it might be ridiculous.”

MATT: That’s not a bad idea. I mean, we’re recording this a few days before it comes out so we can start this business right now and then, by the time this podcast goes up on Monday, we’ll already have it started and have a heads up on anyone that wants to try to take this idea from us.

NASIR: That’s true. So, we need to think of a name – like, Status Review. I bet you someone’s doing it, though.

MATT: Yeah, probably.
All right. Well, I think that’s it, right? Unless you had anything else.

NASIR: I think that’s it. Very good. That was our 21st episode.

MATT: Do we tell people? We told people? I don’t remember.

NASIR: We didn’t even introduce the podcast, right?

MATT: It was a cold open.

NASIR: Yeah, this show is called Legally Sound Smart Business, in case you weren’t aware what you were listening to. My name is Nasir Pasha.

MATT: And this is Matt Staub. This is a reverse episode. It’s like the Seinfeld episode that’s in reverse.

NASIR: Yeah.

MATT: It’s confusing.

NASIR: With the wedding in India, yeah.
And so, you can send in your legal questions – like these other listeners did – at This is also a podcast where we cover business in the news and give our legal twist. Hopefully, you’ll hear from us next week as well.

MATT: Yeah, Lucky 21.

NASIR: Drinking age.

MATT: I was thinking more Blackjack but…

NASIR: I know, I don’t even drink, too.

MATT: “I’m a big gambler, though.” I was doing an impression of you.
All right, before this gets too out of hand, keep it sound and keep it smart.


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Legally Sound Smart Business

A business podcast with a legal twist

Legally Sound Smart Business is a podcast by Pasha Law PC covering different topics in business advice and news with a legal twist with attorneys Nasir Pasha and Matt Staub.
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Latest Episodes

November 21, 2023

In this episode, Nasir Pasha and Matt Staub explore the legal implications of Artificial Intelligence in the business world. They delve into the most talked-about issue of 2023: AI and its impact on the legal landscape. Although AI isn’t necessarily a new topic, it has many unanswered questions in the legal world. Nasir and Matt…

July 12, 2023

In this episode, Attorney Nasir Pasha and Attorney Matt Staub delve deep into the complexities of mass layoffs and offer valuable insights, real-life examples, and practical advice to employers grappling with the aftermath of such challenging situations. Nasir and Matt emphasize the critical importance of effective communication when executing mass layoffs. They stress the need…

January 9, 2023

As the COVID-19 pandemic swept across the globe, businesses scrambled to adapt to the new reality it presented. In this blog post, we dive into the case of Goldman Sachs, a financial services giant, to examine their response to the crisis and the lessons other businesses can learn from their return-to-office strategy. From prioritizing employee…

October 28, 2022

Full Podcast Transcript NASIR: Finally, my two favorite worlds have collided – both the law and the chess – right here at Memorial Park in Houston, Texas. Windy day. We have some background noise – ambient noise. What are the two worlds that collided? Well, Hans Neimann has sued Magnus Carlsen for defamation in one…

September 26, 2022

Through a five-round championship bout, Matt travels to Texas from California to determine which state is better for business. Will it be a knockout with a clear winner or will it go to the scorecards?

July 7, 2022

Whether you are buying or selling a business, the transaction goes through the same steps. However, they are viewed from different perspectives. Sellers may not want to fully disclose all the blind spots while Buyers will want otherwise. Nasir and Matt battle it out in this Buyer vs. Seller to determine who has the advantage!…

May 12, 2022

When it comes to Restrictive Covenants, employers are fighting to keep their company safe while employees may use them to their advantage. Keep listening to find out if the Employer or the Employee wins this battle. Round 1: Trade Secrets A company’s trade secrets encompass a whole range of information and are one of the…

February 14, 2022

The Supreme Court rejected the nation’s vaccine mandate. Businesses with 100 or more employees are NOT required to have their employees vaccinated or go through weekly testings. However, this policy remains in effect for health care facilities. In this episode of Legally Sound | Smart Business, the team sat down to discuss their thoughts on this ruling.

December 1, 2021

In this episode of Legally Sound | Smart Business by Pasha Law PC, Nasir and Matt cover the Business of Healthcare. There is more to the healthcare industry than just doctors and nurses. Many Americans have health insurance to cover their yearly needs, but most Americans are not aware of what really goes on behind…

October 12, 2021

In our latest episode, Nasir and Matt are covering the legal issues on Social Media. The average person spends most of their day on social media, whether they are scrolling for hours or publishing their own content. However, just because you publish your own content on Instagram does not equate to you owning that image….

September 28, 2021

What is a Non-Disclosure Agreement, and when do I need one? In this episode, Nasir and Matt shares why you need to use Non-Disclosure Agreements, basic facts about NDA’s, and discuss about the infamous Jenner-Woods story. Having the right Non-Disclosure Agreement in place not only protects you and your business, but it also makes the…

June 16, 2021

Covered in this episode of Legally Sound Smart Business are some typical business mistakes blunders small businesses often make and how to avoid them. Blunder #1: Copying and pasting agreements It may sound like a good idea at the time, but this blunder comes with hidden pitfalls. Having an attorney draft terms that are specific…

February 4, 2021

How you terminate an employee can make the difference between a graceful transition to avoidable negative outcomes like a dramatic exit or even a lawsuit. We gathered a panel of experts and asked them – is there a “right way” to fire an employee? We would like to thank our guests for this episode: Amr…

December 2, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned nearly every aspect of life on its head, and that certainly holds true for the business world. In this episode, Matt and Nasir explain how the early days of the pandemic felt like the Wild West and how the shifting legal playing field left a lot open to interpretation and…

November 16, 2020

After plenty of ups and downs, our buyer has finally closed on the purchase of their business. While we’re marking this down in the ‘wins’ column, it never hurts to review the game tape. In this final episode, our hosts, Matt Staub and Nasir Pasha, return to the deal almost a year later to reflect…

September 15, 2020

The ink is drying on the signature line and things are looking great for our buyer. After so much hard work, the finish line is in sight and the cheering within ear shot.   Though the landlord is still serving friction, things seem safe to move forward and for now, our buyer will be keeping…

July 31, 2020

Though things are coming along well, the journey would not be interesting if it was purely smooth sailing. After our buyer opens escrow, they are forced to push the closing date back when suddenly a letter from an attorney was received claiming the business, we are buying has a trade mark on the name!  Now…

June 12, 2020

With frustration at an all-time high and professionalism at an all-time low, our friend the Buyer has “had it” with the Seller and quite frankly their lack of knowledge. At present our Buyer is rightfully concerned that the latest misstep from our loose-lipped Seller will threaten not only the entire operation of the businesses but…

May 11, 2020

As we go deeper into the buying process, we start to uncover more challenges from our seller and encounter some of the wrenches they are tossing our way. When we last left off in episode three our team was knee deep in due diligence for our buyer, had already penned and signed the Letter of…

April 4, 2020

One word–interloper! When a new mysterious broker enters the transaction and starts to kick up dust, Nasir and Matt take the reins. The seller signed off on the letter of intent (see episode 2), yet this “business broker” serves only friction and challenges by refusing to send financials, whilst demanding more of a firm commitment…

April 4, 2020

Just as most stories and deals start out, everyone is optimistic, idealistic and full of hope for clear skies. It’s a perfect outlook with a perfect setup for the ups and downs yet to come. Peek further behind the curtain and into the first steps of buying a business: the letter of intent. After the…

April 4, 2020

When a savvy buyer hears opportunity knocking to purchase a prime positioned business, she decides not to go it alone and taps in the professionals to help navigate what could potentially be a fruitful acquisition. “Behind the Buy” is a truly rare and exclusive peak into the actual process, dangers, pitfalls and achievements, that can…

August 7, 2019

GrubHub is subject to two “matters of controversy” that have likely become common knowledge to business owners: “fake” orders and unfriendly microsites.

May 28, 2019

In this podcast episode, Matt and Nasir breakdown the legal issues of the subscription industry’s business on the internet. Resources A good 50-state survey for data breach notifications as of July 2018. California Auto-Renewal Law (July 2018) Privacy Policies Law by State Why Users of Ashley Madison May Not Sue for Data Breach [e210] Ultimate…

March 12, 2019

In recording this episode’s topic on the business buying process, Matt’s metaphor, in comparing the process to getting married probably went too far, but they do resemble one another. Listen to the episode for legal advice on buying a business.

December 3, 2018

Nasir and Matt return to discuss the different options available to companies looking to raise funds through general solicitation and crowdfunding. They discuss the rules associated with the various offerings under SEC regulations and state laws, as well as more informal arrangements. The two also discuss the intriguing story about a couple who raised over…

July 24, 2018

Flight Sim Labs, a software add-on creator for flight simulators, stepped into a PR disaster and possibly some substantial legal issues when it allegedly included a Trojan horse of sorts as malware to combat pirating of its $100 Airbus A320 software. The hidden test.exe file triggered anti-virus software for good reason as it was actually…

April 17, 2018

Attorneys Matt Staub and Nasir Pasha examine Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearings about the state of Facebook. The two also discuss Cambridge Analytica and the series of events that led to the congressional hearings, the former and current versions of Facebook’s Terms of Service, and how businesses should be handling data privacy. Full Podcast Transcript NASIR:…

March 10, 2018

The Trump presidency has led to a major increase in ICE immigration enforcement. It’s critical for business owners to both comply with and know their rights when it comes to an ICE audit or raid. Nasir, Matt, and Pasha Law attorney Karen McConville discuss how businesses can prepare for potential ICE action and how to…

February 5, 2018

New years always bring new laws. Effective January 1, 2018, California has made general contractors jointly liable for the unpaid wages, fringe benefits, and other benefit payments of a subcontractor. Nasir and Matt discuss who the new law applies to and how this affects all tiers in the general contractor-subcontractor relationship. Click here to learn…

January 2, 2018

With a seemingly endless amount of new mattress options becoming available, it is unsurprising that the market has become increasingly aggressive. As companies invest in more innovative solutions to get in front of customers, review sites, blogs and YouTube videos have moved to the forefront of how customers are deciding on their mattresses and how…

December 7, 2017

In recent months explosive amounts of high profile allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and varying acts of inappropriate behavior have transcended every sector of our professional world. With a deluge from Hollywood and politics, and the private workforce, accusations have inundated our feeds and mass media. This harassment watershed has not only been felt within…

November 16, 2017

If you are not familiar with the EB-5 program started in 1990 to give green cards to certain qualified investors in the United States, then you may not have been alone a few years ago. Currently, the EB-5 program has since exploded since its inception and now hits its quotas consistently each year. The program…

October 10, 2017

Government requests come in multiple forms. They can come in as requests for client information or even in the form of investigating your company or your employees. Requests for Client Information General Rule to Follow Without understanding the nuances of criminal and constitutional law and having to cite Supreme Court cases, any government requests for…

August 24, 2017

Nasir and Matt suit up to talk about everything pertaining to employee dress codes. They discuss the Federal laws that govern many rules for employers, as well as state specific nuances in California and other states. The two also emphasize the difficulty in identifyingreligious expression in dress and appearance, how gender-related dress codes have evolved…

June 28, 2017

Nasir and Matt discuss the life cycle of a negative online review. They talk about how businesses should properly respond, how to determine if the review is defamatory, the options available to seek removal of the review, how to identify anonymous reviewers, whether businesses can require clients to agree not to write negative reviews, and…

June 7, 2017

On this episode of the Ultimate Legal Breakdown, Nasir and Mattbreak down social media marketing withguests Tyler Sickmeyer and Kyle Weberof Fidelitas Development. They first discuss contests and promotionsand talk about where social media promotions can go wrong,when businesses are actually running an illegal lottery, and the importance of a soundterms and conditions. Next, they…

April 3, 2017

On this episode of the Ultimate Legal Breakdown, Nasir and Matt go in depth with the subscription box business. They discuss where subscription box companies have gone wrong(4:30), the importance of a specifically tailored terms and conditions(6:30), how to structure return policies (11:45), product liability concerns (14:45),the offensive and defensive side of intellectual property (19:00),…

February 1, 2017

Nasir and Matt discuss the suit against Apple that resultedfrom a car crashed caused by the use of FaceTime while driving. They also discuss howforeseeable use of apps can increase liability for companies. Full Podcast Transcript NASIR: Hi and welcome to Legally Sound Smart Business! I’m Nasir Pasha. MATT: And I’m Matt Staub. Two attorneys…

January 5, 2017

The guys kick in the new year by first discussing Cinnabon’s portrayal of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia soon after her death, as well as other gaffes involving Prince and David Bowie. They alsotalk about right of publicity claims companies could be held liable for based on using someone’s name or likeness for commercial gain.

December 22, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the recent incidentat a Victoria’s Secret store where the store manager kicked out all black women after one black woman was caught shoplifting. They then each present dueling steps businesses should take when employees are accused of harassment.

December 8, 2016

Nasir and Matt return to talk about the different types of clients that may have outstanding invoices and how businesses can convert unpaid bills to getting paid.

November 10, 2016

After a long break, Nasir and Matt are back to discuss a Milwaukee frozen custard stand that is now revising it’s English only policy for employees. The guys also discuss how similar policies could be grounds for discrimination and what employers can do to revise their policies.

October 6, 2016

The guys discuss the new California law that allows actors to request the removal of their date of birth and birthdays on their IMDB page and why they think the law won’t last. They also discuss how age discrimination claims arise for business owner.

September 29, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the racial discrimination claims surroundingAirbnb and how it’s handled the situation. They also discuss some practical tips for businesses experiencing similar issues.

September 8, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss whyAmazon seller accounts are getting suspended and banned without notice and how business owners can rectify this situation through a Corrective Action Plan.

August 25, 2016

Nasir and Matt talk about the accusations surroundingfashion giant Zararipping off the designs of independent artists like Tuesday Bassen and howsmaller companies can battle the industry giants.

August 18, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss Brave Software’s ad replacing technology that has caught the eye of almost every national newspaper and has a potential copyright infringement claim looming. They also welcome digital marketing expert Matt Michaelree to speak on the specifics of what Brave is attempting to do and whether it has the answers moving forward.

July 28, 2016

Nasir and Matt discuss the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson against Fox CEO Roger Ailes. They also talk aboutthe importance of sexual harassment training and properly handling such allegations in the office.

July 15, 2016

Nasir and Matt talk about the changes at Starbucks that have led to many disgruntled employees and customers.

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That’s all we do.

Oh, and we love it.

We love our work. We love reviewing that lease for your new location. We thrive on closing that acquisition that nearly fell through. We’re fulfilled when we structure a business to grow, raise capital, and be legally protected.

We focus on developing close relationships with our clients by being like business partners. A partner who provides essential, personalized, proactive legal support.

We do all of this without utilizing the traditional billable hour model. You pay for the value we bring, not the time spent on calls, emails, and meetings.

Our team is made up of attorneys and staff that share these values and we are retained by clients who want the same.

Pasha Law PC operates in the states of California, Illinois, New York, and Texas.

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Pasha Law Select offers the expertise of a high-end general counsel legal team for every aspect of your business at a fixed monthly rate. Pasha Law Select is deliberately designed to allow our legal team to be proactive, to anticipate, and to be comprehensive in serving our clients. To be great lawyers, we need to know our clients. We can’t know our clients unless we represent a select number of clients in the long-term. This is Pasha Law Select.

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