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Volume 48, Issue No. 3 (Spring 2020)

Music is sometimes called the “soundtrack of our lives,” and for good reason: we encounter it at almost every turn – from the music we consume (packaged music, radio, streaming), to the music enhancing other products we consume (film, TV), to the music we share with our friends (Facebook and YouTube), to the music we can’t seem to escape (commercials, elevators and on-hold music). For the distributors of these products and services, consent is almost always required. Understanding the types of licenses involved, and the administrators from whom they must be acquired, can be a challenging task, even for an experienced music attorney. This article and the accompanying session will address fundamental concepts involved in music licensing, several common music licensing scenarios, and practical tips for locating rights owners and administrators, and securing the necessary permissions for your clients.

This article seeks to articulate a distinct view of federal securities law as it is increasingly used in non-traditional enforcement actions commenced to punish corporate bad behavior. This paper argues that these non-traditional enforcement mechanisms should be viewed with skepticism. This skepticism should not be misinterpreted as cynicism, as the author believes that these non-traditional enforcement actions are beneficial vehicles to accomplish the admirable governmental objective of “punishing people who do bad things.” However, the author recognizes that such use of securities law does not fall into a category of clearly defined criminal law and carries a significant risk of abuse. The author also recognizes the “admirable governmental objective” may be thwarted when it comes to private companies. Finally, the author is uneasy with the societal values conveyed when the government sanctions corporate misbehavior in the name of protecting shareholders from deception.

The going private transaction has been popular in the past and will likely continue in popularity, given the number of startup “exits.” In the alternative, companies could continue to remain private, as venture capital funding and mega-rounds give companies a way to operate privately and their founders to retain control. Traditional rationales were centered around public speculation and filing or disclosure requirements. I suggest that new rationales include control by founder/CEOs, although it is hard to be sure. In the future, there could be new trends, less founder-centric companies, and more rationales for remaining, or going, private.

In South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court overruled its prior decisions in Quill and Bella Hess to allow a state to collect sales tax on internet sales even though the vendor has no “brick and mortar” store, warehouse or other physical presence in the state. Texas has been losing an estimated $1.1 billion a year in tax collections from the old physical-presence requirement. Texas needs to exploit the new rule now. So do other states. The money would be well spent for the highest-priority state needs. The revenue would also just come from actually collecting tax from people who are supposed to be paying tax already, but don’t. In-state Texas merchants who have been withholding sales tax will love the new level-playing field.