2020 has been a difficult year for small businesses. Whether you have already established a business or want to start one, the current economic climate has been wonderfully affected.
To make matters worse, the American political climate has been equally boring – giving great results for many entrepreneurs. I have outlined three of the most relevant legal issues that they are likely to face in the next few years, as well as the impact they have on three modern and highly successful industries.
1. Content creator and DMCA
Last year, a survey asked children (and their parents) around the world broke a story about what they wanted to grow up to be. The top response was “YouTuber” among children in the US and UK, while China’s top response was “astronaut”.
Along with this, the online broadcast platform Twitch has exploded in popularity after being acquired by Amazon in 2014. Audiences and engagement with the platform have rivaled YouTube and surpassed cable television – in no small part due to record-smuggling with celebrities. And politicians.
The rise of these two video publishing platforms, along with countless others to publish creative content online, has helped Gen-Z’s friendly entrepreneurial niche: content creation. However, the process poses some growing pains, and a piece of legislation appears to be a possible reason for future concerns.
What’s the issue?
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a law that seeks to limit the ability of individuals and organizations to use the Internet to circumvent copyright law. This dates back to the creation of YouTube and Twitch, but its existence has defined many controversies on these two platforms.
On Twitch, the increase in DMCA video requests led to huge financial consequences for many streamers hosting content on the platform, requiring an official statement from the company.
The community of creators of YouTube has also been greatly affected by the DMCA, as giant corporations have used this law to reduce creators’ income so that there are fewer procedures to protect them. However, the trend could begin following a successful counter-DMCA claim by GitHub to host YouTube’s popular downloader.
Both of these platforms are dominated by young people, with many top earners on both platforms under 30. These places are also being politicized – for better and for worse. Because of all this, it is highly likely that some of these spoiled producers will contribute to the ongoing negotiations around the DMCA in the near future.
2. Bitcoin and Patriot Act
Bitcoin made headlines this year thanks to yet another price hike: this time, it’s 15% a week.
There are several possible explanations for the collision – including fears of a devaluation of the global reserve currency due to the action of the Federal Reserve – but one of the most important is the adoption by millionaires and big business.
Not long after news came that PayPal and Venmo would start implementing cryptocurrency in their platforms, rival fintech company Square announced a $ 50 million investment in bitcoin. With the entry of such big players into the industry, the excitement around crypto and blockchain technology continues to build – but can this momentum be final?
What’s the issue?
Before 2017, bitcoin was mostly linked to black markets such as Silk Road and large cases of fraud – when the platform that handled about 70% of all bitcoin exchanges was hacked in 2013 and owed nearly $ 400 million to its customers Money was lost.
But after other popular cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Chan— with an increase in value of nearly $ 20,000 per coin — it has become a lightning rod for entrepreneurs with a dollar sign in their eyes. Unfortunately, there is still a legal minefield that needs to be navigated to fully adopt this technology, including Title III of the Patriot Act.
Originally enacted into law as part of a larger action to curb domestic terrorism, this piece of legislation has been used to punish cryptocurrency criminals (crypto-criminals?) Of money laundering – as In the above Silk Road case. But it has attracted significant controversy since 9/11 as an invasion of privacy, with a growing sense that the Patriot Act needs to be amended or abolished.
A portion of the Patriot Act is scheduled to expire at the end of 2020, seemingly due to indifference from the current administration. However, any future discussion around cryptocurrency will inevitably draw attention to this law and Title III – whether in the context of preventing another crime or preventing legitimate businesses from competing.
3. Social Media and Section 230
Perhaps the biggest entrepreneurial success story of the 21st century is Silicon Valley.
Starting with computers and telephones and later programs running on these machines, companies such as Apple, Intel, Google and Facebook have developed cutting-edge technology that now defines the way we live, work and communicate with others. .
The last point is of particular concern, as many successful social media websites are currently in the crosshairs of the White House because of what they communicate and do not support on their platforms.
What’s the issue?
As part of the Communications Decisions Act of 1996, section 230 specifically covers “interactive computer services”, which apply to social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This line asserts that these companies are not legally considered publishers of content shared on their platforms.
While this may sound inconsistent, this small part of a larger law is necessary for the existence of big players in Silicon Valley and many other technology companies. It has even been referred to by some as “26 words manufactured on the Internet”. And now that it is under heavy scrutiny by politicians on both sides of the spectrum, it is likely to be transformed into a rough form if it is completely removed.
After several congressional hearings with tech CEOs such as Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, the implications of Section 230 on current technology companies and their future are being enthusiastically discussed. However, it does affect the potential impact that this law can have on small, small businesses by changing it. After all, what chance does a newcomer have in building a successful social media company if the biggest social media services cannot save the climate?
So what can you do about these issues? My advice is to find out which one personally affects you, learn more about the wider context and join the conversation.
If you want to make an impact in 2021 and beyond, the best way to start is to get a clear picture of the issues, conversations, and court battles that will most likely define the future. And if you live in a country like USA, Canada, UK, Australia or many other countries, you can accomplish this effectively by joining politically.