Eyes on Ecom Law

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Amazon.com and Overstock.com Petition U.S. Supreme Court over New York Affiliate Nexus Law

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We’ve written frequently about developments in Amazon.com and Overstock.com’s challenges to the New York State affiliate nexus law (a law which has inspired similar laws in many other states). Last spring, the New York Court of Appeals, the State’s highest court, upheld the law, stating that, in regards to the parties’ Commerce Clause claims, the...

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Judge Enjoins Cook County from Enforcing Use Tax

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We write frequently about the difficult task retailers face in complying with the myriad state and local tax regimes in this country.  State and local tax rules are ever changing, both through legislative and regulatory efforts and also through actions of administrative bodies and even the courts.  For your average retailer, keeping abreast of every...

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Report, Recall, or Both: Do You Know Your Obligations Under the Consumer Product Safety Act?

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Manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers of consumer products have a legal obligation to report hazardous or dangerous products to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”).  Failing to do so may result not only in large civil penalties, but also criminal prosecution.  But, there are many common myths and misconceptions about this reporting requirement and how...

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Washington Court Rules On Statutory Exclusion For Internet Service, Awards Refund To Online Services Provider

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On June 4, 2013, the Washington Superior Court issued a decision that AOL, Inc. is entitled to a multi–million dollar refund of sales tax paid on services that AOL purchased for use in providing Internet access and online services to its members during the period 2002-2006. In response to an appeal by the Washington Department...

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The Summer of Privacy: With the Government Under Fire, Retailers May Overlook New Rules and Risks

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This may one day be known as the Summer of Privacy. From claims that the NSA surreptitiously obtains cellphone (and GPS) information from at least 100,000,000 Americans to the Supreme Court blessing routine collection of DNA evidence from arrestees, it is impossible to avoid almost daily stories on governmental privacy issues. But, don’t be fooled by...

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Affiliate Nexus Law Update: Minnesota and Maine Approve New Statutes, Missouri Governor Vetoes Bill

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While the Marketplace Fairness Act sits in committee in Congress awaiting hearings, two more states have enacted affiliate nexus statutes imposing tax on remote sellers. The governor of another state, however, declined to add his state to the list of jurisdictions enacting counterproductive, and arguably unconstitutional, “click through” nexus laws.  Below is a quick round...

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The Marketplace Fairness Act: Are Online Retailers Now Required to Collect and Remit Every States’ Sales Tax Even Though They Do Not Have A Physical Presence?

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On May 6, 2013, the U.S. Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act (S.743). If enacted into law, the Act would require Internet sellers (as well as catalogers and other direct marketers) to collect and remit the sales and use tax of each state (and any local jurisdictions that assess sales taxes) on all of their...

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Meditations On the Consumer Class Action: Statutory Penalties

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To know the consumer class action is to fear it. Any online marketer or other retailer that has gone through a class action lawsuit – even if it prevails in the end – no doubt has scars and legal bills to show for it. Because the stakes are so high, even winning a class action...

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Illinois Update: Oral Arguments Heard in PMA v Hamer

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On Wednesday, May 22, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral argument in Performance Marketing Association v. Hamer. The Court heard the State’s appeal from the ruling of the Cook Country Circuit Court that the Illinois Internet affiliate nexus law is unconstitutional. Brann & Isaacson senior partner George Isaacson argued the case on behalf of...

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Not So Simple–Recent Developments in Taxing the Cloud

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We write frequently about developments surrounding federal tax legislation such as the Marketplace Fairness Act, which is up for a vote before the Senate on May 6. One of the major issues critics have with the Act is that despite proponents’ claims, it fails to provide for real simplification of state and local tax regimes,...

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