Oklahoma Enacts Emergency Rules to Implement Use Tax Law
September 28, 2010

The Oklahoma Tax Commission has adopted, and Governor Brad Henry has signed, a set of emergency rules to implement a use tax notice law passed by the legislature at the end of May. A rulemaking to set the permanent rules will likely commence next spring. The effective date for the rules is October 1, 2010.

Internet Sales Tax Legislation Stirs Debate
August 3, 2010

Dueling pieces of legislation, both of which were introduced in Congress in July, address the issue of whether to close the loophole that allows online shoppers in most states to avoid paying sales tax.

Senate Tackles Online Privacy With New Legislation
July 28, 2010

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Communications Subcommittee, said Tuesday that he will introduce an online privacy bill that will create standards for how consumer data is collected and used for marketing.

Bilski v. Kappos: The Blockbuster That Was a Bust
July 27, 2010

For patent lawyers, Bilski v. Kappos was the most eagerly anticipated Supreme Court decision in years — a decision on the patentability of business methods, the primary type of patent asserted against direct marketers that operate e–commerce websites. Unfortunately, when the Supreme Court finally issued its decision at the end of June, Bilski turned out to be this year’s Waterworld.

Senate Nixes House Proposal on FTC Expansions; Retailers Rejoice
June 25, 2010

The Direct Marketing Association is pleased to announce that the Senate three-times rejected a House proposal to drastically expand the powers of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) across all but a few sectors of the American economy. DMA led the charge in the fight to keep these FTC expansion provisions out of the Restoring American Financial Stability Act (H.R. 4173) as the final text of the bill was negotiated by a formal Conference Committee. These provisions would grant the FTC broad new rulemaking and enforcement authority, enabling the Commission to act essentially as an unelected legislature, governing industries and sectors that had nothing to do with the financial crisis.

ACLU Intervenes in North Carolina Request for Amazon Customer Data
June 25, 2010

A request by the North Carolina Department of Revenue for personally identifiable customer data that could be linked to purchases is unconstitutional because it violates Internet users' rights to privacy and free speech, the American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday. The ACLU, on behalf of seven Amazon customers, has intervened in a lawsuit that Amazon filed in April over an information request from the North Carolina Department of Revenue for all the purchase records of customers with a North Carolina shipping address since August 2003, as part of a tax audit.

Retailers Celebrate Victory in Debit-Card Fee Battle
June 22, 2010

Retailers stand to reap billions from the financial-overhaul legislation being finalized by Congress this week, possibly giving them a long-sought victory by slashing the "swipe fees" that credit-card companies charge merchants for every debit-card transaction. Members of the House and Senate announced an agreement Monday to include the debit-card fee cuts in the final version of the overhaul bill — a loss for the financial industry, which had mounted a furious campaign to eliminate or water down the proposed regulations.

Swipe Fee Amendment Will Stay in Final Financial Services Reform Bill
June 14, 2010

The two top members of a House-Senate conference committee negotiating over financial services reform legislation say an amendment requiring the Federal Reserve to determine “reasonable” swipe fees for debit card purchases could see some changes but will stay in the final version of the bill. The conference committee is working from the Senate version of the bill, which includes an amendment sponsored by Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., that would require the Federal Reserve to establish rules that would result in the setting of “reasonable and proportional” rates for the interchange or “swipe” fees that Visa and MasterCard banks charge merchants to process debit card transactions. The amendment is not included in the House bill.