Business Law Assignment Answers

QUESTION 1

What business concept would be appropriate for a (a) sole proprietorship, (b) corporation, and (c) a limited liability company? Provide an example for each. If you were opening your dream business, what structure would you select? Why?

The business concepts appropriate for each business structure is based upon the various pros and cons for each. Choosing the right structure for starting a business is vital as each structure has its unique tax and legal issues unique to it that need to be considered first. A sole proprietorship is a business structure in which the business is solely run by one individual, who is entitled to all the business profits and has complete responsibility for its losses. This type of business structure is appropriate for small startup businesses such as computer repair services, startup catering businesses, and various others. Corporations are business structures that enable the business to operate as a separate entity from its owners. It is appropriate for entities with shareholders since control is given to a board of directors who manage it. It is also useful due to increased funding opportunities. Examples include Walmart Inc, Apple Inc, and Microsoft Corporation. Limited Liability Corporations are ‘hybrid partnerships’ which operate as corporations since their owners are shielded from personal liability for business debts while their taxation is on the owners, just like in a partnership and sole proprietorship. Examples of LLCs include Sony and Nike. When opening my dream business, I would choose an LLC as my preferred business structure. This is because it would help me avoid personal liability for business debt. It would also be possible to have a business partner on board to raise financing for the business. It is also an attractive structure since it helps retain control of the business and offers similar tax benefits as a sole proprietorship since business income is taxed as personal income (Stowers, 2020).

QUESTION 2

What is a duty that managers owe to the corporation? Discuss an example of a positive way in which the manager may uphold that duty. Provide an example of an act or omission that depicts a manager violating the duty. In addition, identify the federal or state departments or agencies that have established the rules or enforce rules for fulfillment of the duties of a manager, director, or officer of the corporation.

One key duty that managers owe their corporations is the duty of care. This is the legal, professional, and moral obligation towards managers to act in the corporation’s best interests and the people they manage (Kyriazoglou, 2020). This obligation ensures that managers do not harm others through any acts of carelessness and negligence. For instance, managers are responsible for the workers’ health and safety in the work premises by ensuring that safety measures are in place, and they also enforce these measures. For example, the warehouse manager can ensure the workers’ safety in the warehouse by ensuring that there are enough safety glasses, for instance, and ensuring that the workers wear these safety glasses to avoid any accidents while at work. A violation of this duty is if the manager is aware of a known hazard and does not take the necessary measures to mitigate it. For instance, if a worker gets an accident while at work due to a lack of warning signs for any hazards, the manager has violated the duty of care through negligence. In the US, the Department of Labor is responsible for setting up and enforcing employers’ legal obligations through an agency called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

 

QUESTION 3

How can businesses protect their intellectual property in the United States? How does a business protect itself from patent, trademark, or copyright infringement by individuals or companies in the United States? In foreign countries? Find a recent example of an infringement action taken by a business to protect its intellectual property and discuss the outcome in your response. 

Intellectual Properties (IP) are valuable business assets as these include the various inventions, ideas, and creative works by an individual or a group. It is therefore important to protect this IP from infringement by other entities. To protect their intellectual property, businesses should seek legal advice from licensed attorneys for directions on how to protect and enforce intellectual property rights (Caprino, 2017). To protect itself from IP infringement, a business should register its patents, trademarks by filing with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the United States Copyrights Office to register their copyrights. This ensures that there is awareness created for the IP so that legal redress can be sought in an infringement case. On the international scene, businesses can protect their IP in various ways, such as registering their trademarks, copyrights, and patents in their target markets since each market may have its unique set of rules and processes. Secondly, they can ensure that they establish contractual security with their business partners and employees through clauses in contracts and non-disclosure agreements to ensure these parties understand their obligations as per the signed contracts to protect the IP. They may also implement measures such as restriction of access to the IP to essential personnel, encryption of IP where possible, and other security measures applicable. One important infringement action case is American Broadcasting Cos v Aereo Inc in which broadcasters sued for copyright infringement citing that Aereo’s services undermined the provisions of the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act, thereby undermining their retransmission fees. The Court ruled that Aereo violated copyright laws through its service, which allowed subscribers to view both time-shifted and live streams of over-the-air television via internet-connected devices.

 

QUESTION 4

How do licensing agreements help artists earn money from their music? What are the various licensing arrangements? With the advent of technology and applications such as Spotify and Pandora, many songwriters and recording artists are questioning the loss of royalties and profits from their music because of the way monies paid by such music providers are siphoned through the music companies. Conduct research and discuss the legal and ethical issues faced by such entities. Address questions such as should artists and songwriters be entitled to a greater share of the monies paid by Spotify and Pandora, or are these entities compensating artists and songwriters fairly through promoting their music, which ultimately leads to profits generated by tour ticket and merchandise sales? 

Licensing of music involves giving other people rights and permission to use your music through copyrights, which grants the owners of the music exclusive rights to their work. When artists’ works are sold, embedded in other media types, distributed, or monetized in other ways, the artists earn money through royalties paid to them since they are the rights-holders for these works. There are three major categories of licensing agreements; mechanical licenses, which grant permission to reproduce copyrighted works in all formats such as CDs, streaming services, and digital downloads. Secondly is the public performance licenses, which grant permission to use copyrighted works in public such as on radio, television, clubs, and other public spaces. Lastly are the synchronization licenses, which grant permission to use copyrighted music in timed synchronization with visual elements in films, video games, and other visual media (Cihak, 2018). Streaming platforms such as Spotify and Pandora have helped stop pirating copyrighted works and helped increase royalty’s revenue to artists. However, their business model is faulty, with many artists citing that the compensation systems are unfair and that other than the top artists, many are not earning much from these streaming services. Artists have been up in arms against the business models used by these streaming sites, and this has seen some such as Spotify improving their payments to artists. However, more is still to be done to ensure fairer remuneration to artists for their copyrighted work.

References

Caprino, K. (2017, February 25). How To Protect Your Intellectual Property The Right Way. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2017/02/25/how-to-protect-your-intellectual-property-the-right-way/?sh=16104db66d98

Cihak, L. (2018, June 4). What is music licensing, and why is it important for my career as an artist? Retrieved from https://edm.com/features/music-licensing-importance-artists-careers

Kyriazoglou, J. (2020, September 14). A manager’s duty of care. Retrieved from https://www.corporatewellnessmagazine.com/article/managers-duty-care

Stowers, J. (2020, December 8). A guide to choosing the best legal structure – businessnewsdaily.com. Retrieved from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8163-choose-legal-business-structure.html#:~:text=If%20you%20want%20sole%20or,decisions%20that%20guide%20the%20company

 

 

 


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