Microsoft Act III – What Remedy will the Doctor Prescribe?

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in Mass HighTech, May 10, 2000. Judge Penfield Jackson, the presiding judge in the Microsoft antitrust case, now confronts his most difficult issue.  His Court must fashion a “remedy” to cure the harm caused by Microsoft’s monopolistic practices.  The Justice Department has recommended that Microsoft be “split” into two separate companies.  But will that solve the problem that got us here?  Or would court ordered corporate mitosis merely create two smaller monopolies where there had once been one?  Before suggesting a remedy, let us first trace the historical …

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Does Technology Heal Itself? Does the Y2K bug make its own vaccine?

by Peter Kelman, Esquire This article appeared in substantially the same form in the Aspen Y2K Advisor, December, 1999. Introduction A funny thing seems to have happened on the way to Y2K.  Without trying to be too bold a prognosticator, the Y2K meltdown anticipated by many appears unlikely to occur, at least in this country.  If we experience Y2K “lite” instead of Y2K darkness, it is interesting to speculate on the reasons adversity was minimized.  Perhaps the very same technology that brought us Y2K also delivered its cure. Recently, I moderated a town meeting on the status of Year 2000 …

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Will Insurance Cover Y2K Remediation Efforts? Would the Y2K bug torpedo your computer system?

by Peter Kelman, Esquire This article appeared in substantially the same form in Mass HighTech, November 21, 1999. Introduction Just when it seemed like we had done all there was to do for Y2K preparation, just when it seemed like it was time to kick back, wait if the lights go out and the lawsuits ensue, a new “hot topic” has emerged in Y2K insurance coverage.  Several companies are testing the limits of insurance coverage by demanding that their insurers pay for their Y2K remediation costs.  Relying on an obscure provision, called the “sue and labor clause,” found in certain …

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Are You Sure You are Insured? the Y2K Commercial Insurance Exclusion

by Peter Kelman, Esq. This article appeared in substantially the same form in the MetroWest Daily News, July 12, 1999. You own a business.  You’ve heard about the Y2K computer bug, you’ve read about the bug and, in fact, you have squashed the bug.  You have a new computer system and the latest software.  You’re Y2K compliant.  January 3, 2000 rolls around and you go to work (January 1, 2000 is on a Saturday).  You are at work and your employees are at work but your in box is empty because your delivery company could not deliver your raw materials …

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Splatter the Chatter – How to Control Employee Gossip in Internet “Chat Rooms”

by Peter Kelman, Esquire Published in Mass High Tech in two parts, October 11, 1999 & October 25, 1999. Introduction The “Instantnet” could be another name for the Internet.  Once a statement is published on the Internet, it is instantly available to hundreds of millions of readers worldwide.  Unlike printed material which has a short shelf-life, Internet content remains accessible to more and more readers until the author erases it.  If material is anywhere, it is everywhere; if material is available at any time, it is available all the time.  In other words, the Internet is the perfect medium to …

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Start-Up Q & A

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This column appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Software News, July, 2000. Question:        I am thinking about starting my own company.  Do I really need to see a lawyer for legal advice? Answer:          This is a tough question.  Certainly with all the information available to individuals, whether via the web or in the business section of a bookstore, it is tempting to say that legal advice need not be dispensed by a lawyer.  I suppose the difficulty for do-it-yourselfers is to determine which of the many sources is the right one for you.  …

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Employment Q & A  

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This column appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Software News, August, 2000. Question:        My employment agreement has a “non-compete” provision.  What does this really mean?  I have heard they are non-enforceable, is this true? Answer:          Before you can start a job with a company, the employer will probably ask you to sign a “non-compete” agreement.  These agreements generally restrict certain activities you can undertake during and after your job.  Typical restrictions may limit your right to: a) set up a business which competes with your employer; b) work for your employer’s clients; c) …

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Primer for Stock & Options

By Peter Kelman, Esq. This column appeared in substantially the same form in the Boston Software News, September, 2000. What is a stock option?          Many technology companies offer employees options in the company’s stock.  An option is different from the stock itself.  An option represents your right, not obligation (that’s why it’s an “option”), to acquire the stock of the company at a pre-determined price.  A stock option is a contract between you and the company that allows you to buy a certain number of shares of the company’s stock at a fixed price, as determined by the board …

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How to Collect your Fees and Keep Them Too – Contract Tips for Systems Developers

by Peter Kelman, Esquire Introduction Have you ever been caught in any of these situations: You’re in the middle of a development contract with an important client; your client relationship seems good but the payments are coming very slowly; you’re not going to terminate the job, but what leverage do you have to accelerate payments? You have developed a system for a client.  Under your contract, you receive a large payment upon the client’s “acceptance of the system.”  The client maintains the system has substantial errors and is not acceptable.  Yet you know, despite the so-called bugs, the client is …

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