Two Sides of the Same [Bit]coin: Why Regulating Bitcoin Works in Its Favor

by Maslar Amanda November 27 2014, 09:11
The reality of the most notorious virtual currency is that it is only a matter of time before it comes under the purview of a regulatory body. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that exists entirely online; it is partially anonymous and affords its users rigorous privacy protections in their transactions. Its online presence is shrouded in mystery, aided by the fact that no one knows exactly who introduced the world to the illustrious Bitcoin. [More]

The Ride-Sharing Economy: Keeping Liability in the Rearview

by St Aubin Keith November 27 2014, 09:00
In large cities the world over, passengers have stopped reaching into the air to hail a cab and have begun reaching into their pockets for their smartphones. Companies such as Uber, Lyft and Sidecar represent a cross-section of the transportation sector of a rapidly growing marketplace: the so-called “sharing economy.”[1] The sharing economy delivers products, places, rides and various other perks to consumers through the use of modern technology. Dog owners can turn to DogVacay rather than finding a kennel for Fido.[2] The elderly can now hire someone to clean their gutters using TaskRabbit instead of dealing with the snotty kid next-door.[3] Loan seekers can avoid the bank by booting up their PC and heading over to Lending Club.[4] The sharing economy exploded on the scene across various sectors seemingly overnight. Almost twenty years after Ebay began, the peer-to-peer model has expanded to the exchange of innumerable tangible assets. [5] However, not all people seem happy about the advent of the direct exchanges spurred on by innovative minds equipped with modern technology. Some heavy-hitters of the sharing economy, such as Airbnb, already face uphill battles in cities that seem less than eager to begin sharing the economy with everyday homeowners.[6] [More]

A Look at IRS's Transfer Pricing Audit Roadmap

by Cho Byung Kyu November 23 2014, 22:39
There are still a number of corporations which have not fully recovered from the economic downturn, which consequently leads to less tax revenue for tax authorities. As such, some of the tax authorities around the globe have taken steps to counter the effects of the diminishing revenue by increasing a number of tax audits or performing audits in a more aggressive manner. However, based on the statistics provided by Internal Revenue Source (“IRS”), the IRS does not fall under this category. While the total number of business tax returns has slightly increased from 9.5 million in 2008 to 9.9 million in 2013, an examination coverage ratio, calculated by dividing the number of examined returns by the total number of returns, marginally reduced from 0.63% to 0.61%.[1] It is not surprising to see that enforcement revenue collected during this period decreased from $56.4 billion to $53.3 billion.[2] At a glance, it may seem that the IRS has remained friendly and not undergone dramatic changes as a whole.

However, when it comes to transfer pricing, it’s a different story. Ever since the IRS settled a landmark case in 2006 in which GlaxoSmithKline Holdings Inc. agreed to pay $3.4 billion to resolve the largest tax dispute in the history of the IRS at that time[3], the IRS has continuously increased its enforcement efforts. In 2009, the IRS added 1,200 employees to deal with international issues[4] and the following year, it even reorganized the organization structure. More specifically, in October 2010, the IRS created the Large Business & International (“LB&I”) division along with a number of subdivisions including the Transfer Pricing Operations (“TPO”) group to handle transfer pricing issues exclusively.[5] [More]

Government Gone Overboard With Sarbanes-Oxley

by Root Austin Carl November 23 2014, 22:27
For most, it would be a stretch to compare the acts of a corporate executive who shredded company documents in order to cover up financial fraud with those of a fisherman who threw a few undersized red grouper fish back into the sea. For the Department of Justice, it is not stretch at all as both are guilty of the same crime. Should the Supreme Court agree with this comparison, there will surely be vast waves that disturb the business landscape... [More]

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Corporate

Pregnancy Discrimination in The Workplace: Proposed Changes in The Law

by Sternberg Thomasin November 23 2014, 22:22
The impact women have on the workforce is not minute. In 2010, 46.8% of the labor force in the United States was comprised of women.[1] Yet many working women feel pressured to choose between having families and advancing their careers. The pressure to make this choice is detrimental to the advancement of women, leading to gender discrimination and inequality. According to a study published by UC Hastings College of Law, 43% of working women leave the work force to raise their children. [2] With women in such great numbers ultimately choosing family over work, many employers are mindful of how this choice will effect them when making hiring, firing, and promotion decisions. Oftentimes this leads to gender-based discrimination in the work place when employers give preferential treatment to male employees to avoid the costs associated with maternity leave.[3] [More]

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Labor

Are Fish Tangible Objects?

by Holm Matthew November 23 2014, 22:11
On November 5, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Yates v. United States that focused on this seemingly absurd question, and the outcome could impact much more than fish. The statute at issue was passed as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Act provides a ban on paper shredding, and was passed in response to Enron executives’ alleged destruction of documents to hide evidence. The Supreme Court’s decision in Yates could impact the handling of records, documents and any other object that could be potentially relevant to a federal investigation. Despite concerns from Court, the statute’s potentially broad applications are restrained by statutory and institutional limitations, and can also be significantly reduced with proactive steps from businesses. [More]

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maritime

Pirating an Industry: Ridesharing as a Subversion of Livery Regulation

by Forristall Louis November 23 2014, 21:59
“A ride whenever you need one,” boasts the corporate tagline of San Francisco-based company Lyft.[1] Founded in 2012, Lyft is a relatively recent addition to the growing “ridesharing” industry.[2] Its competitors such as UberX, Sidecar, Summon, and Wingz have altered the urban transportation market by allowing smartphone users to summon a car, track the driver’s arrival, and pay for a ride, all at the touch of a virtual button.[3] The concept is genius and has gained widespread popularity in major cities in the United States and around the globe since Uber’s launch in 2009.[4] [More]

Data Breaches: Is anyone responsible?

by Vickers Robert November 23 2014, 21:55
With seemingly increasing frequency, news reports reveal data breaches involving personal data stored on commercial data servers. In some cases, the victims intentionally stored the data on the servers, while in others it was not the victims who stored the data, but a commercial entity, storing information about their customers. Whether or not users or the company uploaded the data kept on company servers, who holds the responsibility for keeping the data safe? [More]

Playing Hardball with the Rooftop Owners: The Cubs’ Case for Wrigley Field Expansion

by Jack Meyer November 23 2014, 21:42
Wrigley Field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs since 1914 and is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball . The iconic venue has remained largely unchanged throughout the past century, and only recently has Cubs ownership declared a substantial renovation a necessity. The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908 and the Ricketts family, who took over ownership of the team in 2009, view an out of date ballpark as a serious impediment to fielding a winning team. The Rickettes have proposed a privately funded $575 million renovation to Wrigley Field. The renovation is expected to be completed in four phases beginning now and lasting until 2018 which will upgrade the stadium in many ways such as providing additional seating capacity with outfield bleacher expansion, revenue generating advertising signs in the outfield, and a new clubhouse designed to attract free agents to the team. The biggest roadblock is a complicated contractual situation with the rooftop owners who signed a contract with the Cubs in 2004, whereby the owners pay a percentage of their profits to the Cubs for the right to sell admission to their rooftop views of Cubs games. The Wrigley Field renovation plan would obstruct the views of the rooftop owners who have erected bleachers on top of buildings outside of the stadium. In short, “Ricketts says the signs will generate the advertising dollars he needs to build a winning team. (The Cubs began this season with a payroll ranked 23rd in the league.) The rooftop owners say the signs will put them out of business.” After an inquiry into the contractual language as well as an investigation into the business ramifications, it becomes readily apparent that the Cubs should continue with the Wrigley Field renovation despite the rooftop contract. [More]

Tags:

Sports

Crowdfunding Limits – Raising the Cap

by Roshn Vazhel June 12 2014, 12:47
Almost everyone has heard of Kickstarter by now: it’s the premier place for a team with an idea and a plan to raise capital to fund almost any sort of product. However, your return on your investment is the product itself if you pay enough money, or merely a thank you if the donation isn’t large enough, and extra additional services or items if you pay more. You do not, however, receive an additional return on your investment – you either get the fair market value of your contribution or less. What if you could invest in a company personally, not just a product, without being a private accredited investor? [More]

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