Here is how it works (and, remember, there is
nothing physical). Each Bitcoin user must have a digital wallet. The
bitcoin wallet is
actually a thinking part of the worldwide Bitcoin
network; it contains unique encrypted digital
information that proves the holder duly owns the bitcoins and is allowed to spend them.
Within the merchant/consumer buy/sell
mechanisms, bitcoins are generally used in the
way people would use other money. That is,
bitcoins are used for trade at a certain
exchange value. Just like government fiat
currency, bitcoins can be exchanged, at a rate
that depends upon market factors.
But, the wildly innovative part of bitcoins is
not really in the bitcoins (just like a dollar
bill, standing alone, might be thought to be a
piece of paper), it is in the Bitcoin network
and the system of creating and managing the bitcoins themselves.
It is the banking system allows that dollar and
credit card to work. The creation of bitcoins
within the Bitcoin network is a fascinating study in
technological and commercial innovation;
that is, just to observe the organic science and art of
All innovation is necessarily disruptive...
network is made up of inter-connected privately
owned individual computers (that is, that you
and I own) called “miners” (since they "mine"
for bitcoins). They are all competing with
each other, usually in teams, to solve complex
computational problems that will, once solved,
create blocks of new bitcoins.
miners get rewarded with some bitcoins as
payment. Do you have a computer? You can make it a
miner, just download the software, and, of
course, allocate the fastest CPU (such as the
video card) to do the calculations, because you
are competing to solve the computational problem
first, so as to get paid. It is like there is one nugget of gold
at a time that all the
miners are trying to find it by decoding a map.
Using a sort of
reverse exponential paradigm, the more bitcoins
that are created over time, the harder it is to
create new bitcoins. This has a natural
diminishing effect. According to the
formula, the maxim number of bitcoins is 21M
bitcoins, which is effectively the same as
having mined all the gold that exists or will
ever exist. The limit is expected to
be reached in 2140.
process of private people dedicating their
computers to mine for bitcoins is so competitive
and technologically burdensome that there are
that anyone can use that calculates whether your
computer will use more electricity in computing
the problem than you would earn from the reward bitcoins you receive for having solved it.
It is important to understand that fiat
money is controlled by
governments, but bitcoins are generated and
controlled by algorithm. Governments can
always print more money
To sustain, we must adapt, which means overcoming
the inertia of the status quo and embracing
innovation. Like any other muscle, we need to
condition for flexibility.
—as we know they do—but,
in the current paradigm, there will only ever be
approximately 21M bitcoins. As this
digital system gains traction it is a threat to
the stability of the established order.
But, according to Gregg Zegarelli, "All
innovation is necessarily disruptive. The
more innovative, the more it threatens someone."
software that drives the bitcoin is apparently
open-source and any change to the rules is
thought to require such distributed consensus
that the paradigm is claimed to have integrity;
that is, safety. However, what can be
built can almost always be broken, and the
Bitcoin is unregulated by any authority of
controlled consensus. If we should assume
that the Bitcoin network grows and everyone
begins to rely upon it, and if it "breaks," or
if it is compromised, it seems that everyone would
run to exactly the authority from which they
sought to escape: their respective government.
As to stability of value,
the price has fluctuated so greatly, that it is
difficult to stabilize exchange values,
particularly with "investment" speculation.
This is a real-time practical problem for the
bitcoin. And, as
to acceptability, which tends to be a function
of the other two qualities, it appears that the
bitcoin has a achieved critical mass of
momentum. But trust is necessarily more a slow burn than a
flash, so we will need to wait and see.
bitcoins is legal as a
general rule, but commercially
very aggressive. The
simple reason is that the bitcoin remains an
experiment, and, by
that, we mean the test
of ultimate effect from
the cause has not yet
been proven. But,
that is the same
argument for not
oceans, or conducting space
programs. We have
learned something in our
firm over the past 25 or
so years: To sustain, we
must adapt, which means
overcoming the inertia
of the status quo and
embracing innovation. Like any other muscle,
we need to condition for
adjustment, and change
is not always easy.
Bitcoins provide an
adapting to the future,
provided you are able to
control the risk of the
transactions and the
may be opportunities for
new markets and
inventive ways to handle
that justify the new
Deciding not to move forward with something new is
one thing, but not knowing you need to make a
decision is something quite different.
Right now, the bitcoin has a testing
innovation of the
bitcoin is a warning, if
we should be open to see
it: new digital
commercial systems are
coming, whether we like
it or not. The
warmth of a living horse
as a travelling partner
may be one way to do it,
but automobiles came,
and roads, and speed
The important thing is
that we contemplate the
to a reasonable business
decision in the best
interests of our
Deciding not to move
forward with something
new is one thing, but not
knowing you need to make
a decision is, well, something
And, yes, for
certain limited transactions,
our law firm will gladly
But, please do not consider our
acceptance of bitcoins as a
endorsement—we just like
to be in the game.
We are entrepreneurs,
just like you.
You can get started by
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2. Self-Publishing Framework
You have something to
share, and you think it is pretty good.
Fantastic. In the old days—oh, about
5 years ago—you might need to write a
manuscript, and then to "dog and pony" your work
to agents or publishers. Now, you can
publish via new available paradigms,
and, more particularly, by using print-on-demand and digital
In the old
days, a publisher would basically underwrite a
print publication by selecting a very limited
number of works and then often providing the author with an
advance payment against future royalties.
Authors could always pay the costs to publish a
work themselves and be responsible for
distribution, but this was the exception because
of market entry barriers; that is, being relatively
too expensive to print and to distribute, which
requires its own order and fulfillment
With the new
digital technologies, there are new
"print-on-demand" services. These allow
authors to publish their works, usually with
minimal fees up front. The POD
service will print "onesy" books as they are
ordered, including ordered by you. The good
of it is that you have little up front costs and
relatively little administrative requirements,
since they handle the printing and the
distribution logistics. The bad of it is that your
ability to make a profit is limited because you
cannot get the low volume per-unit costs that
are appurtenant to large print runs.
Anyone who has ordered business cards knows that
all the work is in the first copy, after that it
mostly paper and ink; the cost is in the setup.
Check out Amazon's affiliate,
Remember, the market will only bear so much
these days for a printed book. If you sell
your print book on Amazon, as a general rule, you will get
approximately 50% of the sales price, and that
50% must also cover your entire cost to print,
mailing to Amazon, internal costs, etc.
Therefore, if you are selling a $12.50 book, and
you get, e.g. $6.25 and you still have to pay for the
cost of printing the book. So, for
example, on the one hand, if you are a doctor
who makes a significant income from practicing
medicine, your books need to be flying off the
shelves, or be picked up by a traditional
publisher, to have any material impact on your
income. On the other hand, if income is
not your primary goal, POD accomplishes your
goal of getting you published immediately with
very little logistics or cost.
It might be important to note that the POD model
may have constraints, such as size limitations.
For example, you might be required to do a
standard size book.
If you are a doctor who makes a significant income
from practicing medicine, your books need to be
flying off the shelves...
of course, is the
for a POD model, they need to streamline
production into standards. Authors
sometimes have a precise size for the
intended book, such as for a spindle or as a
handbook, and the manuscript template would need
to be constrained to the print size model.
Some text only works in certain size formats.
POD is a physical print
model. Regarding the electronic
publishing, Amazon is the heavy-hitting vendor.
There are other vendors, but doing business with
Amazon is effectively required.
Investigate by going to
Almost the same
manuscript can be used for the print publication
as the digital publication, but the truth of the
matter is that getting a print-ready manuscript
into a form for Kindle, for example, is best
handled by professional companies. Our
office has contacts for the conversion, and the
process of finding contacts to do a reliable job
tends to be more burdensome than the cost to do
the work. Amazon offers free automated
conversion, but our experience is, again, that
you are better off to get a dedicated company.
Having identified some
basics around self-publishing, here are some
think-ahead take-aways for you:
need a manuscript, as final and as
grammatically perfect as you can get it.
2) You should have a table of contents and
index, which Microsoft Word, for example,
can do for you.
3) You need a title, and possibly a subtitle.
4) Your page numbering
is regulated by custom: there are specific rules for "front matter"
and "back matter," in terms of the order of
pages, and what is on the recto (right)
side of the book. For example, there is the
cover, then a short title, then long title,
copyright page is on the left, usually the
Table of Contents is on page vii or ix
recto, etc. Forewords, Prefaces and
Introductions are not customarily the
same thing. Basically, the order of a
book has some options within a constrained
set of customs. See
Chicago Manual of Style,
5) You need to pick a font, for
both text and
titles. Remember there are serif fonts
Times) and sans-serif fonts (like
Arial). (Serifs are the hooks on a
letter.) The font you use will
sometimes significantly affect the size,
look and feel of the book. Some people
use a general rule of serif fonts for text,
and sans-serif for titles.
need a cover, for which there are some good
design tools on Amazon, but it is preferred
to use an art tool or hire a
professional. Keep in mind when
designing a cover that the front of the book
is on the right side of the spine text for a
You need an ISBN if you intend to sell
through most standard commercial mechanisms;
this is a
standard book number bar code that you
normally get from a publisher or print house.
You can buy yourself at
keeping in mind that, unless you buy for
yourself in a block, the bar code will have
someone else identified within it, such as the
vendor selling the barcode (part of the ISBN identifies the
You need to determine the suggested retail
price, which can be part of the ISBN (look
at the back of many books, there is a long
code and short code that reflects the price,
with the short code containing the price).
9) You should get control and
cataloging information at the Copyright
use this information in your copyright page.
may need a headshot that you are entitled to
use, for a picture on the cover or inside of
the book, as well as on marketing materials
11) You should consider having a website and domain name to support the
book name, and you might include this website on the
last page of the book.
can help you publish your book. If your
work is a spiritual or philosophical work, our
affiliate publishing company can take care of
many of the details for you.
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Porn and Selfies
The so-called "Revenge Porn" is not so much
about porn, but about one person getting "revenge"
upon another by
basically turning something into the equivalent
of porn. For quite some time, we have warned of the
risks of digital photography, first as counsel against Google for its Street
View program (which often captures more than the
street), and more recently to high school
students in a "Don't be a Poser"
presentation of the dangers of casually posing
in intimate or compromising pictures.
take a common sense step back: there is power,
and there is authority. Power is the
ability to do something. Authority is
whether the act is permitted. Authority is
immaterial for the powerless, since the
powerless have no power to do the act with or
one way to avoid the question of wrongful
publication of your picture is simply not to
appear in pictures, and, accordingly, you remove
the power to publish what does not actually
is a new term for a self-taken picture, such as
taking a picture of yourself sunbathing, as
movie stars will do for publicity. If you
publish a selfie, you have volunteered
the publicity of the picture, and you have
provided others with the power to do things with
the picture, whether or not they are allowed to
That is, without regard to authority, others now
have power, and selfies gave it to them. In
some cases, "Revenge Porn" is close to a selfie
at the source of the power to do wrong.
Women and men—many of them adults—are posing in
intimate or compromising positions, often for
loved ones, spouses or partners, at that time.
But times change. And, that is where the
revenge steps in. A common scenario: a
woman and man want to share an intimate moment
on camera, or the woman (or man, of course)
poses for a picture in the nude. Then, for
example, the relationship ends, and the man has
possession of the picture. Now, the woman
must endure someone having an intimate picture
of her, looming for the rest of her life.
Maybe the boyfriend kept the pictures a secret,
but he dies and the computer is transferred a
few times until it comes into the hands of some
remote teenagers, who then have the pictures
recovered from the hard drive.
[You know that deleting a picture from a hard
disk does not delete it from being recovered,
right?] Then, maybe the woman becomes a politician, judge, Miss America,
or married with children.
Or, in the case of revenge porn, for example, the boyfriend
simply wants to inflict pain on his
ex-girlfriend, because maybe she hurt him.
And, he's got these very embarrassing pictures,
so he extracts revenge upon her by publishing them,
including on porn sites. Enter "revenge
California is the first state to pass
it a misdemeanor to post nude photos
of someone else online without their consent,
and the person posting the photos or videos must
have done so with the intent of causing
emotional distress or humiliation. A conviction
could result in six months in jail and a $1,000
fine. The law does not currently include selfies.
Allowing people to post nude
photos of ex-lovers, along with personal
information about the victims, has become a
cottage industry for some websites. The sites
themselves are sometimes protected from liability because
of Section 230 of the federal
Decency Act, which says that websites and
Internet service providers cannot be treated as
a publisher for "any information provided by
another information content provider."
The victim might be able to file a take-down notice to
the hosting website, via the federal
Millennium Copyright Act,
victim is the owner of the picture (which is
But, the key words in many criminal statutes is
"without consent." This is the fulcrum for
the balancing of the interests. "Consent"
is complicated. If a women poses nude for
her boyfriend in the bedroom, or even provides a
selfie, what exactly is the scope of the
consent. I give you the keys to my car or
house, what exactly is my intention or the
meeting of the minds?
Posing for pictures is
certainly consent for something, no matter who
takes the picture. In other words, if you
find a picture of yourself naked on the Internet
and you are not posing, or you are asleep, then it is
reasonably clear you did not consent, at least
in that moment; however, once you pose, you consent
to something, and the scope of that something is complicated.
As a result, we are back to the basics: someone
has your picture, for which you posed and
consented, and now we need to determine the scope of
authority by a long and embarrassing trial.
The rule of common sense is this: do not pose in any
picture that you would not want to be published.
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4. The Essential Aesop
Gregg Zegarelli and Arnold
Zegarelli, his father, have co-authored a new
book, bringing some basics back to adults,
The Essential Aesop: For Business, Managers,
Writers and Professional Speakers.
book is available on
as well. Abraham Lincoln was said to have
memorized the fables, and he often used them to
fables in the book are, well, the fables that have been
available for more than 2,500 years. But,
what Gregg and Arnold have done is to create consistent one-page
fables, each reduced to its salient essence. This
allows speakers to embellish as required for the context.
Moreover, the fables are packaged specifically
for contemplation by adults. This edition
has 111 fables, plus 24 bonus stories and an
From a usage
perspective, it is particularly good for politicians,
speakers, entrepreneurs, students, clergy, etc., where
wisdom or speaking "hooks" about the causes and effects
of human nature is important.
Importantly, there is a misconception that
Aesop's Fables are for children, but they are
for everyone. The fables do exactly what
they are intended to do: they build character through the wise
recognition of human nature. Teaching about human nature is important
for everyone, for all ages. These fables are a great reminder
to adults about human nature and foolish acts; adults are not immune from
Aesop's fables provide
common-sense reminders about thinking ahead.
Forefathers knew Aesop, and they thought ahead.
Without electronic diversions, the Forefathers
read the classics. Following is an excerpt from
James Madison, also known
as the "Father of the U.S. Constitution" (in a way that
Thomas Jefferson is
also known as "Drafter of the Declaration of
Federalist No. 51, The Structure of the Government
Must Furnish the Proper Checks and Balances Between
the Different Departments Independent Journal
Wednesday, February 6, 1788:
Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The
interest of the man must be connected with the
constitutional rights of the place. It may be a
reflection on human nature, that such devices should
be necessary to control the abuses of government.
But what is government itself, but the greatest of
all reflections on human nature? If men were
angels, no government would be necessary. If
angels were to govern men, neither external nor
internal controls on government would be necessary.
In framing a government which is to be
administered by men over men, the great difficulty
lies in this: you must first enable the government
to control the governed; and in the next place
oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the
people is, no doubt, the primary control on the
government; but experience has taught mankind the
necessity of auxiliary precautions.
in the Epilogue of the book, wisdom transcends all walks of life and all ages.
Jesus had parables,
and we keep reading Jesus.
and we keep reading Socrates. Confucius and
Laozi had similes,
and we keep reading Confucius and Laozi.
Aesop has fables, and we should keep reading
Aesop. These simple stories just get better, as they should,
with age and deepened knowledge. The more wisdom
you have, the more wisdom you get.
Deepened philosophy, to wit: the tendencies of human nature,
coated in the literary device known as the
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Meadows Casino Case
we reported that
President Judge Court of Common Pleas of
Washington County, Pennsylvania, issued an
important ruling that is likely to affect the
gambling industry within the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania, and possibly other jurisdictions.
Our firm represents the plaintiffs. The case is Litman v. Cannery Casino, 2012-8149 (Washington
County, PA 2012).
Order dated October 7, 2013,
Judge O'Dell-Seneca denied the Casino's motion to dismiss the
case and ruled that patron gamblers of casinos are
bring civil lawsuits in the Court of Common Pleas for claims that the casinos violated
rules of the game.
After losing the motion
to dismiss, on November 4, 2013,
the Casino filed for
Following additional motions, briefs,
responses in opposition, and two presentations, the Court
upheld the case again and its original ruling.
On December 17, 2013, President Judge O'Dell-Seneca further
in part the Casino's preliminary objections and upheld counts
for Court upholds counts against casino for BREACH OF IMPLIED
CONTRACT, UNJUST ENRICHMENT, FRAUD, CONVERSION, CIVIL CONSPIRACY
AND FOR AN ACCOUNTING.
Casino, which is claimed to have collected
improper fees for more than one year, and was
fined by the Pennsylvania Gaming Board,
unsuccessfully argued that it should not be
liable in the Pennsylvania courts, nor should it
be liable for breach of contract, unjust
enrichment, fraud, conversion, civil conspiracy
or for an accounting.
According to Gregg Zegarelli, counsel for
Because the Casino unsuccessfully requested reconsideration
of the first ruling, and filed additional
briefs and arguments, the ruling by
President Judge O'Dell-Seneca in favor of
Plaintiffs is now even more thoughtful and
clear. Plaintiffs have a right to bring the
action in the Pennsylvania courts under the
new gambling laws. The ruling upheld
counts for breach of contract, unjust
enrichment, fraud, conversion, civil
conspiracy and for an accounting. This
is significant for Plaintiffs and the people
of the Commonwealth, particularly for people
similarly situated by playing craps at the
Meadows Casino from approximately May 27,
2011 through August 27, 2012.
Moreover, the ruling is important because it
is seminal and sets the stage for the entire
body of the new Pennsylvania Gambling Act;
that is, that claims against casinos can be
brought in the Pennsylvania courts and not
only addressed administratively by the
The effect of this ruling levels the playing field and keeps casinos in check and
constrained to follow their own rules.
additional information, the
documents are located here.
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6. The LLLP
and entrepreneurs use limited partnerships as an
entity through which to conduct business
transactions. Limited partnerships contain one
or more general partners and one or more limited
partners. As a general rule, the general
partners manage the partnership and are liable
for the debts, and the limited partners are
similar to a "silent investors"
concept and are not
liable for the debts of the partnership (that
is, a maximum risk of the investment).
afford the partners partnership taxation, while
allowing the limited partners limited liability.
In many cases, the general partner is a
corporation or LLC, which thereby nevertheless
insulates the owners of the general partner
Enter the Limited Liability Limited Partnership.
difference between the LLLP and a traditional
limited partnership is that the general partners
also have limited liability from the debts of the
limited partnership. Certain LLLP
elections take the form of a limited partnership
electing to be a limited liability partnership,
such as Delaware, and, in other states, the
election is made in the certificate of limited
partnership, such as Florida.
Sometimes entrepreneurs will select a state of
organization that recognizes certain forms of
entities, so having an option for limiting the
liability of a general partner in a limited
partnership can be significant.
all states recognize the LLLP, so it is
important to coordinate carefully with legal
counsel who is familiar with the latest entity
structures in this regard.
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7. Quote of the Issue
But what was shocking to me as an
activist was to learn how important the
role of commerce was in ending extreme
poverty and the role that
entrepreneurial capitalism has played in
taking people out of extreme poverty.
December 2, 2013
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