A Reminder To Ditch The Disclaimer This Tax Season

A Reminder To Ditch The Disclaimer This Tax Season

Kelly Phillips Erb, writing at Forbes:

According to the final Regs, “the rules in the final regulations are intended to eliminate the need for unnecessary disclaimers.” In other words, the IRS gave a nod to how crazy things had become, noting, “These types of disclaimers are routinely inserted in any written transmission, including writings that do not contain any tax advice.” The rules and the lack of understanding of the rules “contributed to overuse, as well as misleading use, of disclaimers.”

Please, please, please listen to her sage advice and get rid of those stupid disclaimers unless your correspondence actually includes actionable tax advice.

And while you’re at it, if you’re into tax law you should check out her blog and find her on Twitter, as well.

Join the bone marrow registry

Join the bone marrow registry

Drew Olanoff (@drew) is facing cancer for the second time. He is fighting it in public again, this time to bring greater awareness to the bone marrow registry.

Go sign up for a free registration kit. I did. It only took me ten minutes.

I did it on my iPhone.

Skip your next round of Twitter browsing or Facebook liking or email reading and do something really, really easy that brings you one step closer to saving someone’s life someday.

Message scanning lawsuit against Facebook won’t go away

Message scanning lawsuit against Facebook won’t go away

John Timmer reports at Ars Technica:

The court responded to this request by pursuing an extraordinarily rare course of action: it read Facebook’s entire terms of service. And, in this case, their vague language—typically used to provide broad immunity—became a liability: “[the document] does not establish that users consented to the scanning of their messages for advertising purposes, and in fact, makes no mention of ‘messages’ whatsoever.”

Be specific with those Terms of Service. Really specific.

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?

What Could Have Entered the Public Domain on January 1, 2015?

Duke Law’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain:

Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1958 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2015, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2054.

Thanks to Cory Doctorow at Boing Boing for sharing.

Some policy thoughts on corporate “revenge hacking”

Michael Riley and Jordan Robertson, reporting a fascinating story at Bloomberg: In the U.S., companies are prohibited by the 30-year-old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act from gaining unauthorized access to computers or overloading them with digital demands, even to stop an ongoing attack. The act exempts intelligence and law-enforcement activities, allowing the government to respond […]

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Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

It’s about damn time. According to a DOJ press release:

Attorney General Holder announced today that the Department of Justice will take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. Attorney General Holder informed all Department of Justice component heads and United States Attorneys in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination, reversing a previous Department of Justice position. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s…sex,” among other protected characteristics.

The Washington Post reported the story, saying:

According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a survey of 6,450 transgender people in the United States, transgender people experience twice the rate of unemployment as other Americans and are much more likely to live in poverty. Advocates attribute those facts in part to the difficulty transgender people face in finding a job.

Direct antidiscrimination legislation addressing the prejudice so many LGBTQ people face would be much better than the DOJ’s reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But this is a good start. Read a PDF of the related DOJ memo here.