The Legal Environments

Firms, as societal entities, operate in particular economic, political, and legal environments. The legal environment is a result of legislative intervention by the government (state) and the positive practices that are recognized and sanctioned by the positive law. Historically, the legal environment has usually been nationally defined, although scholars have tried to group legal systems into various groups, based on their similarities and dissimilarities.

A student of this topic would usually argue that there are two basic groups of legal systems, which traditionally have been opposed: the Anglo-Saxon (Anglo-American) model and the continental European law. However, although both main systems of law may have their distinctive features listed, in fact there are far too many convergences in recent times. In the past the common law (Anglo-Saxon) model would be predominantly based on the precedents, and the continental European law would be primarily based on the codifications.

But, there is ever-increasing legislative activity in the Anglo-Saxon countries, with a number of codifications taking place as judiciary may uphold the consistency of court practice. In either system, a judge may take a stance to create a precedent, but the sources of precedent would differ significantly. Growing empirical literature has attempted to prove the overall superiority of the Anglo-Saxon model. Although it is evident that economies of Anglo-Saxon countries may be doing comparatively better than the others in the long run, it is not empirically corroborated that the growth sustained over a period of time may be directly attributed to the features of the legal system (legal environment).

Legal systems, although they may be classified into larger groups, are basically heavily influenced by national colors and experiences of legal development, especially in revolutionary environments (when there is abrupt change in the development). Scholars studying legal environments would focus more, nowadays, on judiciary independence from the state and the politicians. It is believed that if the judiciary protects consistently property rights, even from the state, the results of development will be better, and in the case-law system, judges historically have been more prone to uphold the sanctity of private property rights.

Ex post judging is far better in responding to local information, rather than the application of abstract law, regulating the principles. However, increasingly the common law countries are resorting to promulgating laws and codices, in order to better capture different areas of law. In the United States, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) is probably the best example. The growth in legislative activity may also be seen as a sign of upcoming struggle between judiciary and legislative power for predominant societal influence. Most recently the discussion on “political delegation” would suggest that it is necessary to subsume, at least formally, all institutions of the state to the highest democratically elected body in the country (assembly, parliament, etc.), although that body is controlled exclusively by the politicians.

The literature has also defined a common law system as one in which judges exercise discretion to decide cases in independent and/or adaptive lawmaking ways, while in continental European countries the state would control judicial outcomes and the content of law as well. The basic premise of change between the two wider legal groups has been the perception as to what extent the judicial practice may influence the future legal decision taken by the court. It is a fact that in Anglo-Saxon countries precedents are a source of law and they have to be regarded in the future when the act is required in a similar situation. However, although in the continental European legal system judiciary practice is not a formal source of law, judges take into consideration the prior practice in order to ensure consistency in acting in the court and the country.

In comparative law, the literature is quite often focused on a set of five parameters, like (1) judicial incentives; (2) exogenous legal human capital; (3) the processing of litigant information into judicial error-reducing legal human capital; (4) the cost of producing evidence and legal arguments; and (5) the penalties (damages) levied in adjudication. Judicial incentives may be influenced by the way their independence is defined. Often in the analysis judicial independence features highly, especially as it is believed to be an important feature of the Anglo-Saxon model, which contributed to its better results. In the U.S. model, over 80 percent of serving judges are subject to some kind of election, reelection, or recall voting.

But even in the United States the upper echelons of judiciary are dependent on politicians who decide on their promotion to the highest offices. Similarly, in the continental European countries, the government may have a strong say in appointment of judges, especially in the case of higher courts. However, the very path of professional progression differs between European (especially French) and U.S. judges. In Europe, judges are often career civil servants, who have opted for the judiciary profession almost immediately upon graduation from the university; in the United States, judges are appointed from among practicing lawyers who have had more than 10 years of professional experience.

Comparative analysis of independence has shown more than a puzzle-judges should be independent, but the question is from whom? And, if one is independent, does it mean that he or she is also unbiased (objective)? Often it is assumed that judges, if not appointed by the government directly, will be critical of the government and look at the breaking of law made by the government in an unbiased manner. However, empirical research does not corroborate this claim. Some judges are more independent and unbiased in the way they operate than others, but it cannot be generalized as to what contributes to that. Another important feature is the relationship between precedents and statutes.

Anglo-Saxon law is believed to be based on a set of more or less harmonious precedents (stare decisis), while the continental European legal practices are based on the interpretation of law and the application of the abstract legal (statutory) rule to a concrete situation. However, even in the latter case there is a high level of consistency in judiciary practices, as the higher courts have the right of cassation and therefore for the performance of judges it is important that their decisions not be annulled and/or modified by the higher court. Therefore, even in the continental European legal systems, court practices are consistent, that is, jurisprudence constante.

At the far end, the issue is primarily behavioral-whether the judges will be expansive or rather conservative (narrow) in their apprehension of laws. Some recent empirical research has clearly shown consistency of judicial behavior across various systems. However, de jure legal practice is not a formal source of law in continental European legal systems, but, as already pointed out, will be seriously considered in the process of application of law. In both systems the vast majority of judges will opt not to rock the boat.

The 7 Best Ways to Legally Make Money Online

There is plenty of advice available for people who want to legally make money online. However most of it, unfortunately, is offered by people selling ridiculous get rich quick schemes, so called instant money makers or, even worse, scams. If anybody tells you that making money online is “effortless” or “quick” then alarm bells should be sounding for you. If you seriously want to legally make money online then you need to be prepared to put in the necessary work.

Nonetheless the rewards for getting it right are massive. Not just in terms of your income but, perhaps more importantly, in terms of the improvement in lifestyle that comes if you can work from home. Initially you may have to work harder to start your business but, once it has, you could work as little as 4 hours a day in return for a fantastic improvement in your quality of life.

So what are the 7 best ways to legally make money online. Each of the 7 steps outlined offer a basic introduction to the most effective ways generate an income for yourself and your family working with your PC from your own home. Each has the potential to provide anything from a little extra cash to a very healthy full time income. They are not presented in any order of preference and it should be noted that most successful internetpreneurs use most, if not all of these, techniques to legally make money online.

1. Affiliate Programs: – Fundamentally, if you act as an affiliate it means that you advertise others products in return for a commissions on any sales made by a customer who has arrived at the product via a link from your advertisement. This way to legally make money online is best achieved by a placing advertisements in the form of banners or contextual links on your website or blog. You will need to learn a little about web design or blogging. Once your site or blog is designed you can place your affiliate links on them and, if done correctly, will soon start earning some commission. You don’t even need a website as you can use “landing pages” such as Hubpages or Squidoo lenses to advertise your affiliate products. Furthermore some products don’t even require that you make a sale. They ‘convert’ (meaning pay commission) for you sending them possible customers which they can then promote to (often known as ‘leads’). However the best commissions are invariably earned for referrals that result in direct sales.

You can find affiliate programs for products in many ways. Search engines, directories, forums and social networks are but a few of the places you could find affiliate programs but perhaps the best places to start are the affiliate networks such as ClickBank, Commission Junction or Linkshare. Affiliate payouts can be extremely high and it is not unusual for successful internetpreneurs to earn substantial incomes this way.

Sounds easy to legally make money online with affiliate programs then? But of course it is not that simple. It’s totally useless having a great site or blog with high quality affiliate links if no one is looking for or visiting your links. No traffic equals no sales and wasted effort.

In order to succeed with affiliate programs you have to understand the marketing process. From ‘keyword analysis’ through ‘product selection’ to ‘link building’ a clear affective and powerful marketing strategy is essential if you are really going to legally make money online. It will take some time and effort to master marketing techniques but, with the help of some of the excellent affiliate training products that exist, there is no reason why you can’t earn a fantastic online income with affiliate programs.

2.Information Products: – Information products are digital and therefore have minimal storage and delivery costs. Once designed and produced you overheads thereafter are extremely low and sales prices represent high percentage profits. Information products can be Ebooks, software, training videos or anything else you can download. There are many ways to sell and to market digital products from placing them on your own sites or blogs to marketing them on via your own affiliate program via affiliate networks such as ClickBank.

Many people think it’s impossible for them to produce a product that anyone else would be interested in let alone want to buy. However everybody possesses knowledge that others want. For example I don’t know how wire my house and am terrified to even try because I lack the knowledge required to do so. So whats my solution? I need to have the right information in order to learn how to wire my house. Needless to say I would be willing to pay to have that information. So if you are an electrician I would be willing to buy that information from you. If you then consider the massive scope of the Internet market place you can start to see how you can legally make money online selling information products based upon the knowledge you already have. No matter if your an electrician, a cook, a successful mum or even a bus driver you know something other would pay to find out.

You don’t even need to be a writer, you can commission a ghost writer, or you can develop your own software or even produce your own instructional video. Do your research, read product reviews and look at other top selling products. Get this way to legally make money online right and the rewards can be very high.

3. Google Advertisement: – In the same way that you can place banners or contextual links for affiliate programs on your site, blog or landing page (well some of them anyway) you can also place ‘Google AdWords’ advertisements. Signing up for AdWords is very simple and is entirely free. Once you have set up your site or blog etc, and it has been accepted by Google, you can go ahead and design your AdWords ads. The advantage of these ads is that they will be automatically targeted to your sites content by Google. Each ad will offer a link to related products offered by people who use Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) on Google. In the same way that affiliate programs will pay out for successful conversions, Google will also split it’s commission with you for the same. Whilst this is unlikely to be as lucrative a way to legally make money online as pure affiliate programs it is a valuable addition to any internetpreneurs income.

4.Online Store: – Ask most people what they think will be a good way to legally make money online and they invariably suggest some sort of shop or Internet trading site. Whilst selling physical products can earn you a fantastic income initial set up costs can be high and the chances are that you will be competing against some well established competitors. There are a number of automated store building solutions and “turn key” websites that mean you need to know little about web design or hosting etc in order to set your store up (though you will probably be far more likely to succeed if you do). Furthermore there are some excellent free order processing and inventory solutions such as PayPal that you can use for processing orders on your site once it is set up.

Unlike selling digital products you have to consider how you are going to store your stock, deliver to your customers etc. If you are intending to sell a broad range of products you need to secure a supplier. Buying wholesale may improve your profit margins but you need to be aware that the percentage markup is usually quite low on most products. Therefore you need a considerable volume of sales in order to make a good return on your investment.

Perhaps a better approach is to identify a ‘niche market’ and sell exclusively to that. Commercially speaking a niche can be said to be any smaller segment of a broader market. For example if the broader market is ‘Car Products’ then a niche market could be ‘classic car parts’. However, you may find that this is too broad a market to compete in and so may consider an even more specific niche such as ‘classic car tires’ or ‘classic car electrical components’. By identifying ‘niche’ markets in this way you will reduce the competition but your market will be smaller. The trick is to find a niche that is small enough to compete in but has sufficient demand for you to legally make money online.

There are plenty of wholesale directories on the Internet that offer access to products at cheap wholesale prices. Unfortunately this is a sector of the market that attracts some real scam artists so you need to be very careful about “paying for information” as many so called wholesale directories are simply lists of links to wholesalers (many of which turn out to be dead). Nonetheless, if you are careful, read plenty of reviews and ask others who they’ve found to be effective suppliers in your chosen “niche”, you can find some excellent wholesale directories, find some good suppliers and legally make money online by reselling the products to the customer via your online shop.

However, it’s little use finding a great niche product line and building your website store unless you can attract customers. In order to do so you will need to successfully market your store and products just as you would with affiliate or digital products. Once again an effective marketing strategy is central to your success.

5. Auction Sites: – Chances are that most of us have either sold or bought something off an auction site, such as eBay, at some time or another. If you do want to legally make money online then selling your own product or reselling for others through an auction site can be highly rewarding. Many of the top eBay traders (the ‘powersellers’) are full time and , if you want to know how to make money this way, then simply check out some of their eBay stores and products in order to get an idea of what is achievable.

However selling through an auction site introduces further set up costs which need to be carefully considered as part of your business plan. It’s important to carefully read their fee structure and listing policies before attempting to sell your products through them. Remember your profit margin per item may be reduced but the volume of sales you can expect could be greatly increased due to the customer base and brand loyalty that sites like eBay already have.

Many of the more successful sellers combine their Auction site stores and trade with their other online stores. By combining you efforts in this way you gain an increased exposure for your products by ‘cross promoting’. Again it will be important to to identify a niche market for your goods on the auction sites and the same marketing methods need to be used in order to gain custom.

6. Membership Sites: – As we’ve already discussed if you have specialist knowledge or expertise, or if you offer a unique niche product or service then you can probably legally make money online selling that information or expertise. A membership site charges a recurring ‘subscription fee’ to those members who wish to join. The successful ones offer their members access to specialist niche products and information that is difficult to find elsewhere and has continued value.

For example let’s assume that you you are an expert (or know someone who is) on dog training and breeding. You could create a subscription site that offers member access to all the latest dog training products and breeder lists. You could create an exclusive community with access to forums; offer dog training videos; breeding lists and instructional products. For those people who are avid dog trainers and breeders such a site would have great value and the chances are that they would be happy to pay a modest monthly subscription to be a member.

Marketed correctly (there we go again) membership sites can be an extremely profitable way to legally make money online. Of course whilst you are building you list of members you are also developing a valuable list of people who are interested in your chosen niche market. These people may well be interested in other niche related products you have to offer.

7. Newsletters and Ezines: – If you seriously want to legally make money online then there is an idiom of marketing you should always bear in mind. The saying the ‘money is in the list’ is central to marketing. If you build a large list of subscribers, that you can regularly send offers and promotions to, your business will soon grow. The people on the list represent your best and most valued customers because they have already shown a predisposition towards what you have to offer by opting in to your list in the first place . Once they have given you their email detail you can begin to circulate your Ezine or newsletter. Your Ezine needs to continually bring your customers high quality content and offers or they will soon lose interest. However, providing that you do, you will also be able to market your own products and affiliate products to your list members.

Conclusion: – Each of the 7 methods introduced here offer the opportunity for you to legally make money online and each has the potential to provide you a substantial income. These approaches are by no means intended to represent an exhaustive list of methods. The Internet is a dynamic and rapidly developing market place and the best online businesses are able to rapidly adapt to these changes.

Inevitable all of us are better at some things than others and most successful internetpreneurs specialise in certain aspects of online business. For example some are practically full time affiliate marketers whilst others predominantly operate online stores and auction trade. Generally speaking most are successful because they combine many, if not all the, the methods outlined here as part of their business plan.

However all have one thing in common, they understand how to market. Building stores and excellent web sites with valuable content is part of the way to earn online but without customers (traffic) you can not succeed. Therefore it’s essential that you spend some time researching Internet marketing techniques and strategies. The best plan is to find someone that’s successful and learn as much from them as possible. Keep learning until you feel confident that you understand the basic marketing principles. Test your theories and look for profitable markets and niche products that offer you high profit potential.

Thoroughly research and plan you marketing strategy and, whatever method you favour, you will be able to legally make money online.

The Legal Hurdles of Adapting A Novel or Book

Here’s a question I recently received from a student:

The Question:

Given that I have very few connections to the industry, how would you best recommend moving forward if I have a novel in mind I’d like to adapt? Is it necessary to have a literary agent? Is it best to go through the publishers to find out about the rights? What would help me to get my foot in the door?

My Answer:

Most likely, novels by major authors will have already been snapped up by people with much deeper pockets than you have. However, older or lesser known novels and non-fiction books by less famous authors may very well be available. And some very old novels even exist in the public domain, which means you can use them without optioning anything!

Contacting The Subsidiary Rights Department

The way to start is by contacting the Subsidiary Rights Department at the book or novel’s publisher. You can usually find the contact information for the Subsidiary Rights Department down in the fine print at the bottom the publisher’s website, or by calling the publisher directly.

Break Out Your 1990′s Technology

Believe it or not, many Subsidiary Rights Departments still require contact via fax, so unless your publisher accepts email requests, go ahead and crank back the calendar to 1994, break out your old fax machine, and get ready to rock.

The fax (or email) you send should include the following:

Your Name

Your Company Name (if Applicable)

Your Address

Your Fax Number

Title of The Novel

Author’s Name

Publisher

Publication Date

ISBN Number

A Request To Know Who Controls The Film Rights For The Novel

A Blank Space For Them To Write That Person Or Company’s Contact Info

Make sure your return fax number is printed clearly on the form, so they know who to send it back to!

Contacting The Rights Holder

Once you have the name of the person, company, or agent that controls the film rights, you can go ahead and reach out to them (usually by phone or email) about optioning the novel or book.

What The Heck is An Option?

Essentially an option is a legal agreement that gives you the right to buy or sell the film rights for a book or novel at an agreed upon price. Most options last for a year, and give you an option to extend for a second year for a fixed additional payment. Depending on the perceived value of the book or novel you’re optioning, an option can cost a fortune, or as little as a dollar.

The option is the thing that gives you the right to actually SELL the screenplay you write based on somebody else’s book or novel.

It’s not your job to know the ins and outs of options. When the time comes, you will hire a lawyer to walk you through the option agreement. For right now, just concentrate on contacting the rights holder, finding out if the film rights are available, and asking if he or she would be willing to work out a “free” (technically $1) or inexpensive option with you so that you can adapt the book or novel into screenplay form.

Your Pitch

If you’re like most writers, you probably don’t have a ton of money to spend on an option. If the novel’s been sitting on the shelf for years, the rights holder may simply be delighted to know that someone is interested. But the chances are, you’re going to have to do a little bit of selling of yourself in order to convince the rights holder that it’s in their best interest to put their project in your hands.

So that means before you pick up the phone, you want to have a clear take on the material, and an exciting pitch for how you’d transform it into a marketable screenplay, and maybe some ideas for big stars who could play the lead role once your screenplay is finished, and how your version of the adaptation would be perfect for those actors.

Remember, You Are Bringing Real Value To The Project

Generally, if the film rights for a book or novel are still available, it means the rights holder has already done everything in their power to sell the project as a film and failed. That means your script could give them a second chance to show someone how this story really could make a great movie and turn it from another project sitting in their files into a hot commodity that can bring them lots of money.

If you’re going to risk a year of your life writing that script for them with no upfront compensation, it’s reasonable to expect them to give you a year long option and the rights to extend for a second year for a reasonable amount of money.

What If They Want You To “Audition”

If the rights holder asks you for a short treatment or a writing sample, it’s probably worth your while go ahead and send it. But don’t under any circumstances start writing a screenplay until you legally control the option on the material.

I can’t tell you how many writers I’ve known who have “auditioned” by writing a script with the hopes that a rights holder would like it, only to have the rights holder sell the book or novel out from under them- often for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the script.

Why You Need A Lawyer

Remember that you only control the rights as long as you control the option, which means that once the option expires, you can’t sell your script without the author’s approval. That means you want a real entertainment lawyer to draw up your option agreement for you (even if you’re optioning the story for a dollar).

Think about the time you’re going to invest in this project. Do you really want to stake everything on an option agreement you pulled off the internet? You need an expert to protect your investment, and make sure you can do something with it when it’s finished.

Public Domain Books And Novels

As you can tell, when rights holders are involved, optioning a book or novel can be a challenging process for a young writer. However, if the book you’re interested in adapting was published in the United States prior to 1923, most likely you don’t have to go through ANY of this! Because most likely that book is in the public domain.

For this reason, if you’re interested in adaptation, one of the best places to start is with old books that you can use as you like without any option agreement.

The rules of public domain can be complex, so make sure to double check that the book is in the public domain before you start writing.

Writing Your Adaptation

Of course, optioning the book or novel, or discovering the public domain book you want to adapt is just the beginning. The process of making your adaptation is an art in itself.

Legal Disclaimer: I am a screenwriter and not a lawyer. Though I hope that this information will be useful to you, please be aware that no part of this article should be considered legal advice. For such advice please consult an entertainment attorney.