MSMP 64: John Di Giacomo on Internet Law

While the Internet has created so many new opportunities for building business and creating revenues, the realities of the traditional business world have not disappeared.  In fact, with legislation like FATCA and GDPR now in place, it’s more important than ever to have access to a legal mind who understands the digital world.

John Di Giacomo, today’s guest for Mads Singers Management Podcast, is precisely one of those legal minds.  John has an internet law firm called Revision Legal which specifically serves those people who make money on the internet.  He’s been in the “internet law” business for a decade now, and has plenty of war stories to share.  

One of those stories was about legal trolls: people who find laws that you might be “violating” and then try to make you pay for those “violations.”  One such scam involves the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and website compliance with that act.  These trolls will test a site to see if the website is accessible to those with disabilities and if not, send a demand for compensation or even file a lawsuit.  John shared some tips on how to amend your website terms and conditions to avoid these trolls, but if you want to learn more, there’s plenty more ADA knowledge on his website.

He also noted that the Covid crisis has actually brought a fair amount of buying and selling in digital businesses and that he’s had a fair amount of work during this time.  But that’s also reminded him of things people fail to do when operating their businesses with a future sale in mind.  One of those things is locking down trademarks.  He shared a case in which a company with dozens of restaurants in its portfolio had to go through an expensive and time-consuming renaming process simply because someone else had duly filed copyright on the name and ordered a cease-and-desist.

He also warns against inexperienced buyers thinking they can just waltz in and operate a business.  John notes, “it’s not enough to have ‘read all the books’ or ‘listened to all the podcasts.’” There is no substitute for experience.

John has also had a fair number of FBA clients, and as such, has had to deal a lot with Amazon on legal matters.  While some of my friends and clients were involved in FBA businesses, some of what John had to share about Amazon’s policies and legal stances were really interesting.

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John was our first lawyer ever on the podcast and he’s set a great standard for future lawyers to appear.  Enjoy!

Key Learning Points:
1. John shares what kind of activity he’s seen a rise in during the COVID crisis - 2:25
2. John discusses what the true worth of a business is - 6:00
3. John warns about earnouts - 7:45
4. John notes the challenges of working with Amazon - 11:47
5. John talks about dealing with remote employees - 16:53
6. John clarifies that digital assets can be difficult to protect (and value) - 20:12
7. John relates a trolling technique and how we can counteract it - 22:03
8. John gives us a strategy for developing business in the US - 26:53
9. John discusses the costs of getting a trademark - 31:00

Connect with John Di Giacomo: