Go U, NU(nionize): Are College Football Players Student-Athletes or Student-Employees?

by Cynthia Flores February 9 2014, 17:52
On January 28, 2014, the National College Players Association filed a petition, on behalf of a group of Northwestern University football players, with the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) seeking to form a union. While the college pay-for-play debate is well documented, a request for union representation by such athletes is unprecedented. There is no denying that collegiate athletics, with its TV revenue, licensing fees, merchandising, and ticket sales, has transformed into a multi-billion-dollar industry. However, the NU players claim that their central concerns are related to health, education, and other basic rights, not about getting paid – at least not yet. In an official statement released by Northwestern, the University has taken the position that, while it is “proud of [its] students for raising these issues,” not only are student-athletes students, not employees, collective bargaining would “not advance the discussion” of relevant topics. If college football players get recruited, much like corporate executives, get paid in the form of scholarships, and spend 40+ hours a week in training or games, what more do they need to be considered employees? [More]

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Labor | Sports

Apple v. Samsung: Tech Trial of the Century

by Ryan Richardson February 8 2014, 08:40
Smart phones and tablet computers are the central focus of the famous legal dispute between technology moguls, Apple and Samsung. In a nutshell, Apple alleged that Samsung copied the look and design of their cell phone and tablet products. On April 15, 2011, Apple filed suit against Samsung alleging infringement on three of Apple’s utility patents and four of their design patents. Apple also alleged that Samsung infringed on their trademark and trade dress by intentionally implementing them into their product line. Apple accused Samsung of creating 28 devices which infringed on their intellectual property. Apple was most adamant about its design patent for a “rectangular slab with rounded corners [i.e., the iPhone],” which they claim Samsung used in a number of their cell phone designs. Meanwhile, Samsung filed a counter claim alleging that Apple infringed on their patents for wireless communications technology. [More]

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Technology

Would You Invest In Richard Sherman?

by Jasmine Reed February 2 2014, 00:30
After a hard fought NFC Championship game, Seattle Seahawks cornerback, Richard Sherman, used his postgame interview to let viewers know that he deserved recognition. Consequently, sports commentators had a field day breaking down every Sherman action in effort to determine the “motivation” for his postgame rant. Some suggested that Sherman has been an underappreciated player throughout his career and he just wanted the recognition he felt he rightly deserved. Well, thanks to Fantex Brokerage Services, Sherman and other under-appreciated players can put their money where their mouth is! [More]

The Necessity of Corporate/NGO Partnerships

by Roshn Vazhel January 28 2014, 03:11
While corporations have historically committed human rights and environmental conservation violations, it is undisputed that they have taken several steps in recent years to reduce their negative impact on the world. Perhaps the most important fundamental change in the framework of corporate responsibility is the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The principles lay out three “pillars”: (1)the state’s duty to protect human rights, (2)the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and (3)the need for available remedies for victims of corporate abuses. But can companies live up to these standards? NGO(Non-government Organizations)/Corporate partnerships may be the answer, but they are in dire straits. [More]

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Corporate

Hotel Conglomerates and AirBnB: The Tale of lobbyists thwarting a cheap stay in the Big Apple.

by Marvis Barnes January 21 2014, 01:51
Some people refer to it as the City of Dreams. The Big Apple. The Melting Pop. The Capital of the World. Or the City that Never Sleeps. Regardless of the chosen alias or nickname, there is one universal truth about New York, New York. That is—that it sure isn’t cheap! In fact, some would say that it’s outrageously expensive! So for all the accolades and attractions that have rightfully earned the city its share of global admirers, there exists a rather large barricade for those wishing to experience the city. A former candidate for mayor in New York City ran under the appropriately coined political party known as—“The rent is TOO damn high.” [More]

Will You Tip the Pizza Delivery Drone? Commercial Drone Usage Now and in the Future

by Roshn Vazhel December 29 2013, 23:30
Unmanned aerial systems, also known as drones, have maintained a lasting presence in the headlines over the past few years, whether it was their applications in the United States’ wars or concerns about domestic use of drones for surveillance and law enforcement. Interestingly, drones are not limited purely to military and government use. The field is quickly expanding to include civilian and commercial applications. While hobbyists can now simply pick up a drone at stores such as Barnes and Noble , commercial usage of drones has yet to make a significant impact on our society as of yet. Funding is abundant, however, so within the next few years, our society will change rapidly with the introduction of commercial drone use. One must ask him or herself: Will drones be buzzing around us within a few years, delivering items and performing services? [More]

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Technology

Should Tax Credits as an Incentive for Higher Education be Eliminated?

by Philip Rukosuev December 20 2013, 15:45
One of the biggest contributors to rising disparity in America today is the widening earnings gap between workers with college degrees and those without. Higher education remains a good investment, even though some new grads are currently struggling to get jobs. Over the past two decades, lawmakers have progressively asked the tax code to direct all manner of social and economic objectives (e.g. home buying, adoption, attending college, trading in a clunker for a newer car, etc.). In regards to federal assistance for higher education expenses, tax credits and deductions are relatively new. [More]

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Tax

Space for Private Investment: Entrepreneurs of the Final Frontier

by Matthew Rayman December 3 2013, 16:19
On May 25, 2012 Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (commonly referred to as “SpaceX”) made history, with its Dragon capsule becoming the first private spacecraft to dock with and supply the International Space Station (ISS).[i] [More]

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The Non-Deductibility of Juris Doctorate Degree Expenses Under Treasury Regulation 1.162-5

by Philip Rukosuev November 22 2013, 16:15
The effects of the recent economic recession and the relatively high unemployment rates that ensued are still felt across the country. According to “The American Workforce,” a survey conducted for The Springboard Project, approximately eight in ten workers, regardless of income or education level, show keen interest in pursuing further training and education. Fortunately, given the relative generosity of the U.S. Tax Code, there are several ways to deduct qualified educational expenses. For example, adults may be able to claim the Lifetime Learning Credit, 20% of the first $10,000 of qualified education expenses, for a maximum amount of $2,000. However, the income cutoff for Lifetime Learning begins to phase out for singles with modified adjusted gross income above $48,000 and couples above $96,000. (See IRS Publication 970). Luckily, there’s another option, and the focus of this article, which is deducting educational expenses as a job or career expense. Self-employed individuals (sole proprietors) can write such expenses off as a business expense on Schedule C, and employees can claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction as an “unreimbursed employee business expense.” This option is especially attractive to individuals who are in the higher tax brackets, for whom the government will pick up 39.6% of the cost of courses (i.e. 39.6% is deducted as a business expense). [More]

Tags:

Tax

Facebook IPO Proves More Transparency Needed for Investors, but Will Twitter Listen?

by Jennifer Brown November 19 2013, 22:18
In light of its growing popularity as a social media tool with more than 200 million active users, Twitter announced in September of 2013 that it was ready to launch an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Twitter, which has never turned a profit in its seven years in existence, had originally set a price range of $17 to $20 per share for the IPO. Despite these earlier projections, Twitter announced in a tweet on November 6, 2013 that it priced its stock at $26 per share due to high initial demand for its IPO. [More]

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