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I went to a Grateful Dead concert in 1976. The band was at the height of cool at the time as they represented the counter-culture movement from the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. Although I had been to a number of concerts before seeing the Dead, this concert was different because it was the first (and to this day the only) concert where I witnessed security personnel hauling stoned audience members out throughout the show like it was a revolving door, and I saw medical personnel take at least six overdosed people out on stretchers.
This was obviously a common occurrence at Dead concerts. I vividly recall that right after their first number (Truckin’), Jerry Garcia (lead singer for those of you not old enough to have a touch of grey) announced “Hey people, have a great time, but don’t do any stupid sh**!” Such profound wisdom in such a simple statement!
I don’t think Jerry Garcia’s admonition resonated with the audience that night (shocking, right?), but it should resonate loudly with direct sellers. I look back on the FTC’s last four pyramid actions, Vemma, Fortune Hi-Tech, Burnlounge and Trek Alliance, and in each case we can point to stupid things that that landed the defendants in the FTC’s cross-hairs. We can (and will) closely analyze compensation plans, compliance and marketing nuances that the FTC charges render MLMs pyramid schemes. But there’s a place for analysis, and a place for common sense. Let’s put common sense first, because it’s unquestionably the first and best defense against finding your business in the line of regulatory fire.
The FTC recently announced that it has finalized the amendments to the Federal Cooling-Off Rule, (aka Door-to-Door Sales Rule). The amended Rule will go into effect on March 13. When the proposed amendment was published, there was some anticipation on the part of the direct selling industry that sellers would be granted some relief from the Rule.
For those not familiar, the Rule requires that customers (including new distributors or consultants) be given two copies of the 3-day Notice of Right to Cancel whenever a purchase transaction for consumer goods or services takes place at a location other than the seller’s place of business. While there are some possible exemptions, for the most part the rule covered many transactions between distributors and their customers and between distributors and their newly recruited distributors.
Should company owners and managers hold genealogy positions? Here are seven reasons why it may not be wise:
- The financial benefit for owners to hold a genealogy position is a fallacy.
- Owners holding genealogy positions can inhibit an IPO.
- Minority shareholder rights may be violated.
- You may be unwittingly selling a security.
- Ownership of genealogy positions by owners can lead to an inequitable distribution of income.
- Ownership of genealogy positions can lead to conflicts of interest.
- Termination of a business relationship is made more difficult if management holds a genealogy position.
But the challenges associated with management holding a position in the genealogy can be overcome with proper planning and execution.
So if you are starting an MLM and are considering taking a position in the genealogy, read the latest addition to our MLM Startup Series that discusses these points and how to cope with them in more detail.
When you mention intellectual property, the odds are pretty good that you will be met with a blank stare. After all, our common perception of property is something that we can physically possess.
The law, however, has an entirely different concept of property. To the law, property is considered a bundle of rights, which include the right to use something, the right to possess that thing, the right to dispose of that thing, and the right to prevent other people from interfering with your rights respecting that thing.
Among the top reasons why MLM startups fail is clashes among the business partners. Did you put as much thought and planning into choosing the right business partners as you did working through the planning around your product line, your compensation plan, your marketing strategy, and the hundreds of other big and small decisions that you made along the way? Read more about the critical issues you should address before choosing your partners when you start an MLM in our MLM Startup Guide.