Category: law

A Long-Overdue Red Carpet Event For Savannah

A Long-Overdue Red Carpet Event For Savannah
By Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

When it comes to the movie industry, Savannah is no Hollywood. Why? Because it is far better! For the past two years, the state of Georgia has been the world’s most popular filming destination (as evidenced by the ever-present Georgia Peach logo at the end of so many films and television shows). While the majority of these productions film in the Atlanta area, Savannah is the second-most popular destination in the state.

That’s right. Move over Los Angeles and New York. Over the past decade, Savannah has enjoyed record-breaking year after record-breaking year as a location for some of the most well-known productions in the film and television industry.

In 2018, more than 200 professional movie and television productions and 147 student projects were filmed in the Savannah area. According to the Savannah Regional Film Commission, these productions accounted for $120 million in direct spending locally and had a total economic impact of well over $250 million in FY 2018 alone. These figures shattered the record set in 2017 of $65 million in direct spending with $138 million in total local economic impact.

It would seem a celebration of Savannah’s rightful place in the television and film industry is long overdue.

As if right on cue, enter a glitzy new event on Savannah’s social calendar with the launch of the Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala. Developed to recognize and honor several key local professionals for their invaluable contributions to the Savannah film and television industry, the event will make its debut this September.

The Gala will be open to the public so that everyone in town has the opportunity to experience an evening of Hollywood glamour right here in the Hostess City of the South. It also affords a chance for local businesses to show their support for an industry that is now intrinsic to our area’s present economy and financial future. It will honor Savannah’s rightful place as a key player in today’s film and television world while also giving a fun nod to the industry’s history through its theme of “Old Hollywood.”

The people who are doing great things to ensure Savannah’s rightful place in the film industry will be recognized and honored for their contributions. The Gala will not only be wildly entertaining, but it will shine the spotlight directly on many of the industry members who are quickly becoming shining stars (not to mention economic drivers) in our community.

The Gala will also feature an immersive theater experience whereby guests will interact and engage with live entertainers at an old Hollywood “High Society” gathering. There will be amazing food and drinks, special guests, live musical performances, and many other surprises. The goal is to give every attendee an experience they will remember for a long time.

Unfortunately, threats of a Georgia boycott have dominated the news recently. It’s time to wipe away the negativity. The Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala aims to shift the focus to all of the entertaining, fun, and positive aspects of the local entertainment industry.

The inaugural Savannah Film Alliance Gala will be held Saturday, September 28, at the new event venue, Victory North, located at 2603 Whitaker Street. All of the details can be found at savannahfilmalliance.org.

Charles Bowen is an entertainment attorney and founder of the Savannah Film Alliance. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

Boycotts and Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill

Boycotts and Georgia’s Heartbeat Bill
By Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

As every parent knows, children’s fairy tales and fables are often founts of considerable insight and wisdom.

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” sheds considerable light on politicians who vainly strut on the state and national stage. “Cinderella” contains valuable lessons regarding the mistreatment of the poor. It is one of Aesop’s Fables that is most directly relevant to today’s headlines, however: “The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs.”

The story recounts the tale of a farmer who owned a goose that laid a solid gold egg every morning. While these eggs made the farmer a wealthy man, he still wanted more. “Then one day the idea came to him that he could get all the golden eggs at once by killing the goose and cutting it open. But when the deed was done, not a single golden egg did he find and his precious goose was dead.”

The state of Georgia has its own such rare and valuable goose. It is our film and television industry, and we have fed and cared for it well. Due to a combination of economic incentives, workforce development, and commitment to infrastructure, Georgia has become one of the most preferred destinations in the world for film and television productions.

Over the past several years, these productions have had an economic impact in our state of roughly $10 billion annually. Locally, we hosted approximately 200 professional film and television productions in 2018 that accounted for $250 million in direct spending in Chatham County alone.

The question our state faces now, however, is whether the passage of Georgia’s “heartbeat bill” may result in a costly boycott by the film and television industry. Such a boycott has been threatened by several actors and professional organizations.

For those unfamiliar, the proposed law would ban abortion as soon as a doctor can detect a fetal heartbeat, which typically happens around six weeks into a pregnancy. This law would be one of the most extreme abortion bans in the country, particularly considering that most women do not even realize they are pregnant at six weeks. As of this writing, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has not yet signed the Georgia legislation, but there is little doubt that he will do so.

There is almost unanimous agreement, even among its proponents, that the law is patently unconstitutional. It is specifically designed to attempt to get the question of abortion rights back before a U.S. Supreme Court that is now stacked with conservatives. The real goal is to overturn Roe vs. Wade, the landmark 1974 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. But it is a long way to the Supreme Court, and every effort to pass a similar bill in other states (18 at last count) has been struck down before it has reached that level.

It is this legal layer of protection that I believe is likely to temper any threatened boycott from the entertainment industry. While there will certainly be action and anger from some, it is unlikely to result in an industry-wide consensus to boycott the state of Georgia unless and until a fetal heartbeat bill were to survive the inevitable court challenge and actually go into effect.

By way of analogy, imagine if the Savannah City Council enacted a local ordinance stating that no one over six feet tall was allowed to own a local business. While such an action would obviously inspire immediate anger, most reasonable people would understand that due to our system of legal checks and balances, there would no need for panic because of the certainty that such an unenforceable ordinance would be immediately struck down by the courts.

As far as the heartbeat bill, the vast majority of the entertainment industry will likely wait and see what ultimately happens. But they will absolutely be taking notes.

 

Inaugural Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala to Recognize Film and Television Professionals

Inaugural Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala to Recognize Film and Television Professionals

(SAVANNAH, GA) Savannah’s calendar of social events gets a glamorous new entry this year with the launch of the Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala. The Gala will recognize and honor several key professionals for their invaluable contributions to the local film and television industry. The theme of the event will be “Old Hollywood” and will be held Saturday, September 28, at the new event venue, Victory North, located at 2603 Whitaker Street.

 

Savannah Film Alliance Honors Gala

 

Entertainment will be the focal point of this red carpet event. The Savannah Film Alliance (SFA) will invite its membership of filmmakers, musicians, and actors to show off their talents throughout the night.

There is also an immersive theater experience planned for the event, whereby guests will interact and engage with live entertainers at an old Hollywood “High Society” gathering. “The immersive experience is designed to transport event attendees back in time into a glamorous alternate reality,” said Charles Bowen, founder of the SFA. “This is the cutting edge of live theater and I think people will remember this night for a long time.”

The entertainment industry is a force to be reckoned with in Georgia as it has grown in the last decade from $240 million in 2007 to almost $10 billion in 2018 with 30 to 40 productions underway in the state at any given time. In Savannah alone, the economic impact from motion picture and television productions has risen from $26 million in 2012 to $254.6 million in 2018.

While threats of a Georgia boycott have dominated the news recently, the SFA Honors Gala aims to shift the focus instead to all of the positive aspects of the local entertainment industry. “I am especially excited for the opportunity to recognize and reward all of the hard-working professionals that have transformed Savannah into one of the most sought-after filming destinations in the world,” said Bowen. “The Gala will not only be wildly entertaining, but it will shine the spotlight directly on many of the industry members who are quickly becoming shining stars – not to mention economic drivers – in our community.”

VIP tickets to the Gala are $150 and will include valet parking, early entry at 6:30 p.m., private performances and meet and greets, a professional photo on the red carpet, a special award, and a VIP swag bag.

General admission tickets are $75 and will allow entry when the doors open at 7:30 p.m.

All attendees will enjoy live entertainment, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and an open bar. The honors ceremony will begin at 8:30 p.m. and an onsite after party will last from 9:30 until 11 p.m.

Sponsorship opportunities, including the title sponsorship, are available at several levels.

For more information on tickets and sponsorships, visit www.SavannahFilmAlliance.org.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
www.thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Carriage Trade Public Relations® Inc.
912.856.9075
cynthia@carriagetradepr.com
www.carriagetradepr.com

Savannah Attorney Charles Bowen to Discuss Film Industry at Buy Local Savannah May Meeting

Savannah Attorney Charles Bowen to Discuss Film Industry at Buy Local Savannah May Meeting

(SAVANNAH, GA.) Charles “Bo” Bowen of the Bowen Law Group will discuss the Savannah area’s burgeoning film industry when Buy Local Savannah gathers for its May meeting Thursday, May 23, at Cohen’s Retreat, 5715 Skidaway Road.

Charles Bowen

Charles Bowen

Bowen will discuss film and television production in the area, including existing barriers to its continued expansion and the risks presented by potential boycotts. Bowen’s law firm specializes in commercial and entertainment law, and he has expanded his involvement to larger interests in the film industry.

He is a frequent commentator and writer on entertainment industry topics in local media. In 2015, Bowen founded the Savannah Film Alliance to promote the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration.

He also founded Southern Gateway Production Services to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers coming to Savannah to film their projects.

Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, where he graduated with honors in psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. He has developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law.

The Buy Local meeting will run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and lunch will be served. Reservations are required.

The local trade association boasts about 150 member businesses in varied fields. Buy Local Savannah’s mission is to support locally owned and operated, independent businesses in the greater Savannah area, to maintain the area’s unique community character, provide continuing opportunities for entrepreneurs, build community economic strength and prevent the displacement of community-based businesses by national and global entities.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Based out of Savannah, Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial and entertainment law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. Bowen was named “Business Advocate of the Year” in 2015 by the Savannah Morning News. He won the “2016 Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” presented by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He also chaired the 24th Annual Kiss-a-Pig campaign on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. He also has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s 12th Annual Legal Elite in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law. He is the author of three eBooks. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Follow The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

Attorney Charles Bowen Honored by Georgia Senate Resolution and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award

Attorney Charles Bowen Honored by Georgia Senate Resolution and Outstanding Georgia Citizen Award

(ATLANTA, GA) A resolution passed by the Georgia State Senate has recognized Savannah attorney Charles “Bo” Bowen for his services to both the state’s entertainment industry and to its legal profession.

In addition, Georgia Secretary of StateBrad Raffensperger honored Bowenas an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen.”

The Senate resolution was sponsored by State Sens. Lester Jackson (D-Savannah) and Ben Watson (R-Savannah) and praises Bowen’s role in promoting Savannah’s growing movie and television industry. The resolution cites, in part, the reasons for the recognition: “Bo founded the Savannah Film Alliancein 2015 to foster cooperation and collaboration within the local entertainment industry; he is also the founder and president of Southern Gateway Production Services, which provides support to all out-of-town productions coming to the region; and he is the co-founder of Aeroscope Studios, the author of three eBooks on business and entertainment law, and currently serves on numerous corporate boards and councils.”

The resolution also recaps business honors Bowen has received. They include being named “Business Advocate of the Year” by the Savannah Morning News, winning the “Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” from the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerceand receiving additional accolades from the legal profession.

The full text of the resolution can be found here: http://www.legis.ga.gov/Legislation/20192020/183638.pdf.

Bowenfirst met with Governor Brian Kemp before heading to the Senate floor. Sen. Jackson then read the resolution aloud and invited Bowento address the Senate. He was then named an Outstanding Georgia Citizen by the Georgia Secretary of State.

The recognition from the Secretary of Statereads: “May this Outstanding Citizen be afforded every courtesy as a Goodwill Ambassador from Georgia in his travels to other states, to nations beyond the borders of the United States of America, or wherever he may hereafter travel or reside. Thank you for your service to our State.”

Charles Bowen

(Left to Right): State Sen. Lester Jackson, State Rep. Craig Gordon, Alayna Bowen, Charles ‘Bo’ Bowen, State Sen. Ben Watson and Alexandra Bowen.

Bowen’s two daughters accompanied him to the Georgia State Capitol. In his remarks before the Senate, Bowenstated: “I am deeply honored, and I am very grateful that my two teenage daughters could be here today to see firsthand that working hard in your profession and trying to help others succeed does not go unnoticed. I know that is a lesson they will carry with them into adulthood. I also want to thank all of you, the leaders of the State of Georgia, for the tremendous work you have done in promoting the entertainment industry and helping ensure every year that Georgia remains the greatest place in the world to conduct business.”

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Based out of Savannah, Charles Bowenis a business attorney who focuses on commercial and entertainment law. Bowen attended Mercer Universityin Macon, Ga., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown UniversityLaw Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. Bowenhas received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. He also has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s Legal Elite in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Groupis located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Follow The Bowen Law Groupon Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Carriage Trade Public Relations
cynthia@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

The Bowen Law Group Hires Attorney Ryan Schmidt

The Bowen Law Group Hires Attorney Ryan Schmidt

(SAVANNAH, GA) Ryan Schmidt, a former touring singer/songwriter, has joined The Bowen Law Group, a corporate and entertainment law firm, as an associate attorney.

The Bowen Law Group

Ryan Schmidt

Schmidt, who toured extensively as a musician prior to law school, appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” and his music has been featured on the Apple iTunes’ “New Music Page.” He also won “Critics’ Choice” at the Starbucks Music Makers Competition and served as community manager for Redstar Media, a two-time Emmy winning multimedia and production firm in Boston.

“Ryan is a rising star and a key addition to our team of entertainment sector advisers,” said Charles Bowen, Founder of The Bowen Law Group. “We are excited to have him join our office as the volume of work we do throughout Georgia and the Southeast continues to grow.”

Schmidt attended Belmont University College of Law in Nashville, where he graduated summa cum laude and served on the Law Review Executive Board. He also clerked for a Nashville-based law firm representing clients in the music industry, fine arts, and digital media.

“With everything happening in the film industry in and around Savannah, it is a great time to be working with a firm whose efforts are helping grow a sustainable local entertainment industry for generations to come,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt, a native of Atkinson, NH, is married to Hillary Schmidt, a Savannah College of Art and Design graduate who works with the Savannah-based museum and exhibit design firm DMDG2.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Based in Savannah, Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial and entertainment law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Ga., where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, he moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. Bowen was named “Business Advocate of the Year” in 2015 by the Savannah Morning News. He won the “2016 Helen V. Head Business Leader of the Year Award” presented by the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. He also chaired the 24th Annual Kiss-a-Pig campaign on behalf of the American Diabetes Association. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. He also has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s 12th Annual Legal Elite in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law. He is the author of three eBooks. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Groupis located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit www.thebowenlawgroup.com. Follow The Bowen Law Groupon Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen, Founder
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Cradduck
Carriage Trade Public Relations®, Inc.
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

The Dewitt Tilton Group Delivers Holiday Meals to Thunderbolt Fire and Police Stations

The Dewitt Tilton Group Delivers Holiday Meals to Thunderbolt Fire and Police Stations

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Dewitt Tilton Group prepared and delivered holiday meals to the first responders and staff at the Thunderbolt fire and police departments.

Dewitt Tilton Group Delivers Holiday Heals to Thunderbolt Police and Fire_2822

Andrew DeWitt and Chris Tilton, owners of The Dewitt Tilton Group, with Sean Clayton, Thunderbolt Chief of Police.

Because first responders are always on the move, the meals were delivered in to-go boxes for easy transportation. Chris Tilton and Andrew Dewitt, principals of The Dewitt Tilton Group, personally packed the boxes and hand-deliver them.

Dewitt Tilton Group Delivers Holiday Heals to Thunderbolt Police and Fire_2800

Baleigh Youmans, Administrative Assistant; Andrew DeWitt, Co-owner; Chris Tilton, Co-owner; Kim Thomas, Director of Operations.

The meals included turkey, stuffing and sides with all of the fixings of a home-cooked meal. Altogether, over 30 first responders and staff members received a meal.

“Police and fire departments serve around the clock, even in our little town of Thunderbolt,” said Tilton. “This is our way of saying thank you to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep our community safe.”

MORE ABOUT THE DEWITT TILTON GROUP:
The Dewitt Tilton Group, a premier commercial construction firm located in Savannah, Ga., specializes in commercial construction. The principals, Andrew Dewitt and Chris Tilton, have over 50 years of combined experience in the local construction industry. The firm manages every aspect of a commercial project from pre-construction to the final walk through. Known for using only highly reputable contractors, the Dewitt Tilton Group brings to the table design, engineering and construction capabilities which guarantee a smooth construction process for each client. The firm is located at 2807-A Roger Lacey Avenue, Savannah, GA 31404. For more information or to contact the Dewitt Tilton Group, please call 912.777.3404 or visit www.dewitttiltongroup.com

CONTACT
Kim Thomas
Dewitt Tilton Group
912-777-3404
kim@dewitttiltongroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Junior Partner
Cecilia Russo Marketing
cynthia@crussomarketing.com
912-856-9075
www.crussomarketing.com

Savannah Area Republican Women Announces their Second Annual Lunch and Learn Event, Ladies, Guns & Ammo

Savannah Area Republican Women Announces their Second Annual Lunch and Learn Event, Ladies, Guns & Ammo
Keynote Speaker will be Rachel Campos-Duffy from FOX News

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Savannah Area Republican Women will hold the second annual Ladies, Guns and Ammo event on Saturday, Oct. 13, at the Savannah Golf Club, located at 1661 E. President St. The event is intended to instruct women on the laws associated with handguns and proper safety protocols.

Ladies Guns & Ammo

Rachel Campos-Duffy will be the featured keynote speaker for the luncheon. Campos-Duffy, the wife of Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy, is a FOX News and FOX Business Contributor and a recurring guest host on hit shows, FOX & Friends and Outnumbered. She is a published author, communications consultant and television personality. Her presentation will focus on political analysis and culture.

There will also be two instructional classes available for participants. Sheriff John Wilcher has partnered with the Savannah Area Republican Women to provide instruction on gun rules/regulations, safety classes and shooting range practice at the Chatham County Sheriff’s Training Facility. Classes are limited to 60 participants. Guests are free to bring their own handgun or one will be provided.

“This event gives our community an incredible and unique opportunity to learn about handgun safety and firearm regulations while bringing attention to the Constitution’s First Amendment which provides freedom of speech as well as freedom to worship, freedom of the press, the right of the people to peaceably assemble and the 2nd Amendment which gives the right of free people to keep and bear arms,” said Marolyn Overton, president of Savannah Area Republican Women. “We can’t thank Sheriff John Wilcher enough for volunteering his time to teach these critical lessons. We are also ecstatic to welcome Rachel to this year’s event as our guest speaker. Her experience and talent offer so much to our audience.”

Tickets for the safety classes, shooting range practice and luncheon are $95; for the luncheon only, tickets are $45. The lunch is open to both men and women but is limited to 150 guests.

Savannah Area Republican Women will hold a raffle for multiple handguns and other items during the event. Winners do not need to be present to claim their prize. Raffle tickets are $25 each or five for $100. There are also t-shirts available for $20.

Businesses interested in sponsoring the second annual Ladies, Guns & Ammo are asked to contact Savannah Area Republican Women’s president, Marolyn Overton, at (912) 598-7358.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the Savannah Area Republican Women’s efforts to promote Constitutional Government, emphasizing the 1st and 2nd amendments, Republican candidates, as well as, the philanthropic efforts of the Savannah Area Republican Women.

For more information, tickets and reservations, visit http://sarw.org/event

ABOUT SAVANNAH AREA REPUBLICAN WOMEN
Founded in 1961, Savannah Area Republican Women (SARW) has stressed that it is not a social club but a serious working organization concerned with issues, recruiting good candidates and getting them elected. The organization meets on the first Wednesday of every month at Carey Hilliard’s Banquet Room, 11111 Abercorn St. Reservations for the luncheon meeting should be made no later than noon on the Monday before the luncheon. For more information, contact SARW’s president, Marolyn Overton, at (912) 598-7358. To RSVP for a luncheon meeting, contact Rebecca Rhinehart at (912) 398-0111 or visit SARW.org/reservations

Navigating Georgia’s New Hands-Free Law

Navigating Georgia’s New Hands-Free Law
By Joanie Iaco

Joanie Iaco, Peacock Automotive

Joanie Iaco

It’s the law. Georgia motorists will have to put down their phones while driving to comply with the new Hands-Free Georgia Act that becomes effective July 1.

The goals of the new law, signed earlier this year by Gov. Nathan Deal, are to lower incidents of distracted driving and rising insurance premiums by prying our eyes and our attention away from cell phones while we’re behind the wheel.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionhas reported that highway fatalities rose by one-third in Georgia from 2014-16. While cell-phone use cannot be pinpointed as a cause for this increase, the state Department of Driver Servicesprocessed 3,866 citations for using phones while driving in 2016, up more than 30 percent from 2014.

The costs associated with car crashes differ depending on the injuries sustained, but the average cost for the physical damage to one car is $7,500. If there is a fatality, the financial impact can reach into the millions. Even for non-fatal crashes, total costs can soar into the hundreds of thousands.

The hands-free law doesn’t allow drivers to support any wireless device with any part of their body when they’re behind the wheel unless they’re legally parked. This means that you cannot hold it in your hand, lay it in your lap or hold it against your ear with your shoulder.

While the new law prohibits you from holding your phone while driving, you can still talk and even text as long as you’re using hands-free technology.

You may also use your phone as a GPS, but you must set it up before you begin driving. If you need to change your route, you must be legally parked before you pick up or touch your phone. This does not include being stopped at a light or stop sign. You are only considered legally parked if your vehicle is parked in a parking space, parking lot or driveway.

The new law also prohibits drivers from watching or recording a video and from typing, sending or reading any text-based communication unless legally parked.

The only exceptions to the hands-free law would be if the driver is reporting a traffic accident, medical emergency, fire, crime, delinquent act or hazardous road condition. Law enforcement officers are exempt from the law as long as they are performing their official duties.

The prohibition is considered a primary enforcement law, which means an officer may cite a driver for using a hand-held cell phone without any other traffic offense taking place.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safetysays the Georgia Department of Public Safetyand local law enforcement may issue warnings as part of the effort to educate and to help motorists adapt to the new law. However, citations can and will be issued starting July 1. Penalties will begin at $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense and $150 for three or more violations.

With the passage of the new law, Georgia becomes one of 16 other states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to prohibit drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.

In South Carolina, it is illegal for motorists to text and drive, but hand-held cell phone use is still permitted and drivers are allowed to use the GPS feature on their handheld device for navigation purposes.

Joanie Iaco is Manager of Peacock Collision Center, part of Peacock Automotive, which owns and operates 24 automotive dealerships representing 31 brands in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida. The company’s headquarters are located at Peacock Auto Mall on U.S. 278, 5 miles east of I-95 at Exit 8 near Bluffton, S.C. For more information about Peacock Collision Center, call 843-645-5500or www.peacockcollisioncenter.com.

10 Legal Questions Small Businesses Don’t Always Know to Ask

10 Legal Questions Small Businesses Don’t Always Know to Ask 
By Charles Bowen

Owning a small business is an exciting endeavor, particularly when it means turning your passion into an income-generating career. But as almost every entrepreneur learns somewhere along the way (often painfully), being a business owner, unfortunately, does not make you a legal expert.

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

I’ve worked with small business owners for well over twenty years now and helped them manage corporate compliance issues, intellectual property laws, contract disputes, state and federal regulations, litigation, and countless other unexpected legal hurdles. As a result, I wanted to share the answers to ten questions that small business owners often don’t know to ask until it’s too late:

1. Do all of my agreements need to be in writing?
Keeping track of every transaction and conversation may be tedious, but it is crucial to your company’s success in the event of a dispute. Whether it’s contracts with your customers or just a receipt for merchandise, written records greatly reduce your liability and can serve as winning evidence if a disagreement arises. Even a simple email memorializing a conversation can make the difference between legal victory and a costly defeat.

2. How can I avoid getting sued?
Knowing and addressing the most common risks of your industry can greatly reduce your risk of getting sued. Lawsuits can arise in many areas, such as employee complaints, accidentally infringing on someone else’s intellectual property, and failing to meet all state and federal regulations for operation. The first step is to recognize where your company is most at risk and then taking steps to minimize that risk as much as possible.

3. What impact will investors have on my business?
Investors can be a great source of the capital, knowledge, and connections necessary to grow your business. However, it is important to remember that every investment also brings added duties to the investor and reduces your autonomy as the owner. Be sure to that your investment agreement is clear and comprehensive, and that you are not ultimately giving up more than you are receiving.

4. Can I use my personal assets to operate my business?
One of the most common and devastating mistakes made by small business owners is blurring the line between personal and business assets. It is crucial to keep them separated. When you are transferring assets, pay yourself with the same company checks you use to pay your employees. Remember: if you treat your personal and business assets as one and the same, then creditors and courts can do so, too.

5. What can I do to protect my brand?
Regardless of industry, the most important assets of any business are its name and reputation. That’s why making certain your brand is protected is an extremely important part of any business plan. Be sure to register trademarks for your brand name, logo, and other important identifiers of your company. Registering can also help you put a stop to any competitors infringing on your intellectual property.

6. Should I incorporate or operate as a sole proprietor?
If you do not form a formal business entity, you are placing all of your personal assets at risk. To prevent this scenario and limit your personal exposure, you can form a corporation, limited liability company, limited liability partnership, or a limited partnership. Review each structure and how each will affect the way your business is owned, managed, and taxed. Then choose the style that best suits your vision.

7. How can I foster a good work environment and limit my risks as an employer?
Rule one: don’t be a jerk. Now that we have that out of the way, another very effective way to ensure a good relationship with your employees is to create a comprehensive company policy and procedure manual. Knowing the rules (and knowing they will be followed) allows all employees to feel valued, protected, and secure. In addition, stay informed on all federal and state employment laws that affect your business, including anti-discrimination laws, health and safety regulations, wage and hour laws, and licensing requirements.

8. What should I do if I get sued?
The unfortunate reality is that the more successful you are, the more likely you are to get sued at some point. More success means more employees, more customers, more transactions, and inevitably more complaints. If you do get sued, follow three simple rules: (1) remain calm and do not respond in anger; (2) gather together all of the documents and other evidence in your possession related to the lawsuit; and (3) contact your insurance company and/or attorney immediately. If you follow these simple steps, most lawsuits can be resolved quickly and easily.

9. What contracts does my business need?
Well-written contracts protect your company by clearly defining the responsibilities of both parties. They help avoid disputes, make sure you get paid, and provide a clear remedy if one side fails to fulfill their obligations. For most small businesses, I suggest preparing a form agreement that you can use repeatedly and that includes all of the important protections that your company needs. If you operate online, it is also important to make certain that your website includes written disclaimers, terms of service, and privacy policies.

10. Do you have all necessary licenses and permits?
Be certain to annually monitor all federal, state, and local licensing and permitting requirements related to your industry. One very easy way to determine your requirements is to simply visit sba.gov. This website allows you to simply enter your zip code and business type, and it will generate a list of required licenses and permits.
Following these rules can go a long way towards protecting your small business from legal snafus and lawsuits. There are many online and community resources for small business owners that can be of great assistance.

Adoption Bill Endangers Georgia’s Economy and Reputation

Adoption Bill Endangers Georgia’s Economy and Reputation

By: Charles Bowen, Esq.

In a clear effort to legalize discrimination against the gay community, the Georgia Senate recently passed a bill authorizing taxpayer-funded adoption agencies to refuse to provide any service that violates their “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

This bill was thankfully rejected.

The entertainment industry is thriving in Georgia, generating $9.5 billion in 2017. History has shown that legalizing discrimination can instantly destroy this progress.

In 2016, North Carolina passed the infamous “bathroom bill.” The fallout was immediate. The state lost $4 billion in revenue as major businesses pulled out of the state, film and television shows relocated, musical artists canceled concerts, and the NBA and NCAA withdrew sporting events.

In Georgia, numerous businesses and individuals have already publicly stated that they would stop doing business in Georgia passed any similar law legalizing discrimination.

Writer and producer Ben Wexler, the showrunner on “The Grinder” and “Arrested Development,” made his feelings about the adoption bill clear on Twitter: “To my fellow showrunners: if this dumb bill becomes law, let’s be done filming television shows in Georgia.”

Alyssa Milano, who is filming the Netflix series “Insatiable” in Atlanta, agreed. “If it does pass the House of Representatives and if the Governor signs the bill, I think the film and entertainment industry will take a strong stand and will pack up and leave the state of Georgia,” Milano said. “There is just no tolerance for discrimination of any kind.”

Such discriminatory laws are also flagrantly unconstitutional. We are all constitutionally entitled to equal protection under the law. And while we also enjoy freedom of religion, personal religious beliefs may not be used to justify actions that are illegal or harmful to others. If you refuse to pay your taxes, stating that you did not pay because of your religion is not going to help.

If Georgia were to allow public adoption agencies to refuse adoptions based on religious beliefs, for example, nothing would require them to stop with gay couples. The same law could be used to discriminate against single parents, divorced men and women, unwed couples or individuals of different races or faiths, including Christianity.

Regardless of the rhetoric emanating from a few clock stoppers in the legislature who were pandering for votes, denying even one single child a parent who wants to love and support that child unconditionally is indefensible and immortal. We must remain vigilant that Georgia remains a state that is welcoming to all.

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SOUTHERN GATEWAY PRODUCTION SERVICES
Entertainment attorney Charles Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Southern Gateway Production Services is a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. Southern Gateway Production Services is located at 7 East Congress St, Suite 1001. For more information, contact Charles Bowen at cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.comor 912-544-2050.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
Southern Gateway Production Services
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

Divorce is About Making Good Financial Decisions

Divorce is About Making Good Financial Decisions

By Sam Hubbard
Principal, Coastal Divorce Advisors

While you’re in the midst of a divorce, you’re going to have to weigh a lot of financial choices while dealing with the weight of strong emotions. You can minimize emotional stress by anticipating what decisions you have to make and understanding what’s involved in making them.

Below are common hurdles that people who are divorcing need to be aware of and the factors they need to consider to make confident, constructive decisions.

Can you afford to keep your home?
While you may have a personal attachment to your house, especially since your kids call it “home,” it is ultimately a huge expense to maintain year after year. All too often, the spouse who wants to keep the house only analyzes whether he or she can cover the mortgage and the property taxes, but fails to consider the “oh no’s”: “Oh no, the built-in refrigerator broke,” “Oh no, the HVAC system needs to be replaced, “Oh no, we have termites.”

Unforeseen expenses can cost thousands of dollars and could cause you to lose your house, or worse, push you toward bankruptcy. While a house is an asset, it is ultimately an expense. Make sure to take all homeownership costs – anticipated and unexpected – into account and try to remove emotion when deciding whether you can afford to keep the house.

Should you divide your property down the middle?
When you begin a divorce, it’s only natural to think “all our assets should be split right down the middle.” But since no two assets are created equal, this type of thinking may put you at the short end of the stick.

In a divorce, it’s common for spouses to divide property by what they see as equivalent value. For example, if one spouse gets the house, the other spouse may get the investment accounts, both valued around the same amount.

But tread carefully. Some assets, like certain pensions, may be completely illiquid and cannot be sold or transferred to a spouse. Others assets may have significant tax implications from a low-cost basis or may have large transaction fees (like the sale of a house). Make sure you initiate a complete analysis of the assets before making any decisions.

Do you want to tackle debt before your divorce?
If your spouse ran up balances on your credit cards during your marriage, in the bank’s eyes, it’s a shared responsibility, no matter who did the spending — even if the court decides your ex-spouse is responsible for it all.

Banks can still come after you for payments your ex-spouse didn’t make, jeopardizing your finances and damaging your credit score for years. Making the choice to pay off as much debt as possible before you finalize the divorce is often a good one.

Should you protect yourself from unanticipated events?
If you will be receiving alimony and child support, what happens if your ex-spouse passes away or becomes seriously disabled? Would you be able to support yourself and your kids if you no longer receive these payments? Consider purchasing life and disability insurance specifically tailored for divorce so support payments continue if something unforeseen happens to your ex-spouse.

Should you evaluate your settlement agreement from a current perspective?
When looking at a settlement proposal, what may seem like a great deal now could quickly turn into financial ruin down the road. You need to make sure you don’t evaluate your proposed settlement by your current costs or budget but by how your finances will look in 5 or 10 years.

Projecting your cost of living will help you determine the long-term consequences of a settlement option and whether you’ll be financially well-positioned years after the divorce. Make sure you have accurate projections on-hand and do not rush into signing a proposal just to be done with it.

Can you be disciplined to make financial decisions in unison, not one by one?
When going through a divorce, looking at any single financial aspect in a vacuum and not seeing how it relates to others could cost you. The division of assets and liabilities, tax consequences, inflation, alimony, and child support are all pieces of the settlement puzzle that need to work together to help ensure the most favorable settlement agreement. For example, if you have income from your job and agree to take a large alimony payment, you may be pushed into a higher tax bracket than if you were to increase the amount you receive in non-taxable child support.

Take a careful, comprehensive approach to your finances to have a better chance of coming out ahead.

Sam Hubbard Coastal Divorce Advisors Savannah

Sam Hubbard

Sam Hubbard, MBA, CFA, CDFA is the principal of Coastal Divorce Advisors, LLC, (CDA), a firm specializing in helping clients understand their financial situation and options throughout the divorce process. CDA is an affiliate of Coastal Capital Management, LLC. For additional information, e-mail Sam@CoastalDivorceAdvisors.com, call 912-234-3657 or visit www.CoastalDivorceAdvisors.com. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney. If you require legal advice, please seek appropriate legal representation.

Entertainment Attorney Charles Bowen Addresses Georgia Entertainment 101 Event

Entertainment Attorney Charles Bowen Addresses Georgia Entertainment 101 Event

(SAVANNAH, GA) Business and entertainment attorney Charles Bowen was a featured speaker at the Georgia Entertainment 101 Event in Atlanta.

Bowen’s presentation “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” focused on the importance of vetting production companies coming to the area as well as positioning Savannah as a top-notch provider of the local services required by productions.

Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015, and, more recently, he founded Southern Gateway Production Services, which offers seamless opportunities for out-of-town producers and movie executives to navigate finding the best crews, talent and location services available in Savannah.

“We started the Film Alliance to promote the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration,” Bowen said. “My overall goal with both entities is to continue to build upon Savannah’s stature as one of the country’s most desirable and user-friendly filming locations in ways that will greatly benefit production companies while strengthening the relationship between visiting productions and local crew, vendors and service providers.”

Bowen’s presentation highlighted the importance of Savannah’s rising star as a production destination, with local spending on motion pictures and television in the area rising from $18 million in 2014 to an all-time high of $60 million in 2016.

The purpose of the Georgia Entertainment 101 event was to connect top-tier professionals at a targeted and strategic networking event. Key financial, legal, banking and governmental leaders were in attendance as well as studio executives and producers. Other presentations focused on event security, investing strategies, entertainment banking and a look at what’s happening in Savannah.

The invitation-only event, held at the Moonshine Post-Production in Atlanta, was sponsored in part by: Argentum Entertainment, Atlanta Sound Guy, Cinema Greens, Creative Financial Group, Endeavor Sound, FilmTribe, MatchKey Consulting, Moonshine Post-production, Paradigm Security, River Oaks Studios, Sapelo Insurance, Sonesta Hotels and Zoe’s Kitchen.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SOUTHERN GATEWAY PRODUCTION SERVICES
Entertainment attorney Charles Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Southern Gateway Production Services is a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. Southern Gateway Production Services is located at 7 East Congress St, Suite 1001. For more information, contact Charles Bowen at cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com or 912-544-2050.

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
Southern Gateway Production Services
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
Cecilia Russo Marketing
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912-856-9075

Charles Bowen to Present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” to Hinesville Rotary Club

Charles Bowen to Present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” to Hinesville Rotary Club

(HINESVILLE, GA) Charles Bowen, founder of the Savannah Film Alliance and owner of Southern Gateway Production Services, will be the featured speaker at the Hinesville Rotary Club meeting Tuesday, July 11.

Bowen will present “The Economic Impact of the Entertainment Industry on Savannah” during the weekly luncheon at the La Quinta Inn and Suites on Highway 84.

Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. The organization promotes the film community within Savannah and the greater Coastal Empire through advocacy and action via education, outreach and collaboration.

Most recently, Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services, a gateway for producers and movie executives to navigate finding the best crew, talent and location services available in Savannah.

After going through a significant vetting process, Southern Gateway Production Services became a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. IATSE is the union that represents most film and television crews. This allows Southern Gateway clients to gain access to the most favorable terms and conditions offered in the industry.

“From our work with Southern Gateway Production Services and the Savannah Film Alliance, I’m able to get a unique perspective into the inner workings of making films in our community,” said Bowen. “I hope to share this information with other area leaders to promote the growth of this promising industry.”

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

Attorney Charles Bowen, Founder of The Savannah Film Alliance and Southern Gateway Production Services

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT SOUTHERN GATEWAY PRODUCTION SERVICES
Entertainment attorney Charles Bowen founded Southern Gateway Production Services with the mission to ensure a seamless experience for out-of-town producers by providing connections with local crew, vendors and service providers. Southern Gateway Production Services is a signatory to all IATSE National Term Agreements. Bowen is recognized within the Savannah film community for his formation of the Savannah Film Alliance in 2015. As the founder of The Bowen Law Group, he has also developed a reputation as one of Savannah’s most experienced attorneys in entertainment law. Southern Gateway Production Services is located at 7 East Congress St, Suite 1001. For more information, contact Charles Bowen at cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com or 912-544-2050.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
Southern Gateway Production Services
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
Cecilia Russo Marketing
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com
912.856.9075

Gray Divorce: How to Handle a Divorce Later in Life

Gray Divorce: How to Handle a Divorce Later in Life

By Sam Hubbard, principal, Coastal Divorce Advisors, LLC

You’re sitting at the dinner table and there’s silence. Not only are your kids off to college but you and your spouse have nothing to talk about. After 25 years of marriage, you realize that without the kids, you really have nothing in common anymore. More and more, you’ve been thinking you don’t want to spend the rest of your life in an unfulfilling relationship. Divorce has been crossing your mind more frequently.

You are not alone. Many couples in long-term marriages feel the same way. In fact, a new term, “gray divorce,” has been coined to define this demographic. Gray divorce describes couples over the age of 50 who have been married for at least 20 years and choose to divorce their spouse.

While the divorce rate across the country has held steady near 50 percent, the rate of gray divorce has more than doubled in the past 20 years, according to Bowling Green State University research.

Surprisingly, it’s not discord or even cheating that’s driving the choice to divorce. It’s the fact that spouses are simply growing apart. And more often than not, it’s women, not men, making the decision to part ways. According to an AARP study, women are the drivers behind 66% of gray divorces.

The uptick in gray divorce has been attributed to the increase in three factors:
women’s financial independence;
life expectancy; and
social acceptability of divorce.

As women become more financially autonomous and know they’re going to live decades longer, they realize they now have the means, motivation and mindset to go out on their own.

Gray Divorce Comes with a Silver Lining
Divorce is always challenging, especially gray divorce, since the decisions are more complex and the stakes higher. Divorcing couples must keep in mind that there are fewer years to recover from financial mistakes and economic setbacks from the divorce. Also, there’s less time to save for retirement.

But there’s a silver lining – financial independence – as long as you prepare. Here are five essential financial tips to consider when untying the knot later in life.
Understand Social Security benefits. Social Security is complex, so make sure you are aware of all the nuances to gain the most benefit. In a nutshell, since you’ve been married for more than 10 years, and if you’re 62 and single, you can collect up to half of your ex-spouse’s Social Security benefit. Your benefit will not impact the amount of his or her benefit.

Don’t depend on alimony. If you receive alimony, make sure you don’t rely on it exclusively. Keep in mind that alimony can be changed well after the divorce has been finalized. It also can be jeopardized if something happens to your ex-spouse. Make sure to consider life and disability insurance that protect alimony and child support payments if your ex-spouse is unable pay. And be open to considering career opportunities to help you gain additional financial independence.

Protect yourself with reasonable insurance. As you age, insurance becomes even more important. If you need a caregiver, for example, your ex-spouse will no longer be there to take on that role. In addition to health, life and long-term care insurance, make sure to think about auto insurance and homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.

Secure enough retirement savings. Women tend to live longer than men and therefore often have higher retirement costs. A big, and emotional, question is whether keeping your house is worth potentially risking your retirement savings. If your spouse keeps his pension plan and other assets and you retain the house, will you have enough money to support yourself down the road? You must determine whether you have the time to save what you need to and if you’re willing to sell your house later to help fund your lifestyle.

Choose new retirement account beneficiaries. Make sure to update your beneficiaries on all retirement accounts and insurance policies. Additionally, update your power of attorney, health care proxies and living wills. If you don’t, your ex-spouse could end up with those funds or decision-making powers.

While decisions and finances are often complicated surrounding a gray divorce, with the right support, including guidance from a divorce financial planner, you can be on the right track to financial independence.

Sam Hubbard Coastal Divorce Advisors Savannah

Sam Hubbard, MBA, CFA, CDFA is the principal of Coastal Divorce Advisors, LLC, (CDA), a firm specializing in helping clients understand their financial situation and options throughout the divorce process. CDA is an affiliate of Coastal Capital Management, LLC. For additional information, e-mail Sam@CoastalDivorceAdvisors.com, call 912-234-3657 or visit www.CoastalDivorceAdvisors.com. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author, who is not an attorney. If you require legal advice, please seek appropriate legal representation.

Local Kiwanis Club Announces Upcoming Guest Speakers

Local Kiwanis Club Announces Upcoming Guest Speakers

Skidaway Island Kiwanis Club Announces Upcoming Guest Speakers for the Second Quarter

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island is pleased to announce their spring 2017 line-up of guest speakers. The club meets every Thursday morning at 7:25 a.m. in the Plantation Ballroom, The Landings, 1 Cottonwood Lane, Savannah, Ga 31411.

Guests are encouraged to attend the weekly program, and the organization is always accepting new members. To make a reservation for a particular program, please call Chris Butler at 912-443-1492. For more information on the Kiwanis Club of Skidaway Island, visit https://kiwanisofskidaway.com

SPRING 2017 PROGRAMS

Thursday, April 27
Bill Hubbard, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce

Thursday, May 4
Herb Windom, Anecdotes of Early Skidaway Island

Thursday, May 11
Jennifer Mykins, Army Combat Aviation Battalion

Thursday, May 18
Dr. Johnston, Medical Program

Thursday, May 25
Jerry Davis, Revenue Logistics, Supply Chain Expert

Thursday, June 1
Dan Pavlin, Buy Local & Landings Race

Thursday, June 8
Andrew Wilford, Patent Attorney

Thursday, June 15
Chris Roberts, Local Artist

Thursday, June 22
Allison Newberry, Mars Theatre

Thursday, June 29
Gary Sanchez, AT&T Regional Director

 

Kiwanis of Skidaway Island

Kiwanis Club of Skidaway is a service organization comprised of 133 men and women in the Savannah area. Since 1988, the club has raised and distributed more than $1.4 million and invested more than 300,000 service hours toward their mission of supporting at-risk children in our region.

Media Contact:
Cecilia Russo
912.665.0005
info@crussomarketing.com

The Legal Risks of Live Streaming By Charles Bowen

Over the past year, live streaming apps like Periscope and Meerkat have become extremely popular. Now even Facebook has gotten into the live streaming game. These apps allow users to broadcast any event live using their smartphone. Not surprisingly, this technology has raised a host of legal issues, primarily in the areas of copyright infringement and privacy concerns.

While these apps ban users from posting content that violates others’ copyright, trademark, privacy and publicity rights in their standard Terms of Service, these warnings are often ignored. The first major legal battle erupted last year when hundreds of people who purchased the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao via Pay-Per-View live streamed the entire television broadcast. Anyone rebroadcasting a live simulcast is committing copyright infringement and can be subject to substantial fines.

The best approach in determining whether your broadcast is violating copyright law is to simply use your common sense. If you paid to view the content, that content is likely protected by copyright. If you live stream a movie in the theater, for example, you are obviously violating federal copyright law. Similarly, live streaming a concert would likely infringe on the copyrights of the artist, label, and publisher. Even broadcasting live sporting events carries significant legal risks as networks pay large sums of money for the exclusive right to broadcast games live.

Privacy concerns are a little more challenging from a legal perspective. The most important factor is location. If you are in a public place, neither you nor the people around you have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Anyone can typically take your picture or stream video of you in public legally, provided they are not trespassing or going beyond innocent recording to actually harassing, stalking or peeping.

One major exception is commercial use. You are not allowed to film others for advertising or other promotional content without first procuring a release from that individual.

If you are not in public, however, live streaming is much more likely to be violative of others’ right to privacy. Recording someone in a private place (such as their home, a restroom or a doctor’s office) without their permission is generally illegal.

As a rule of thumb, the following rules apply:

(1) Do not stream any produced content that you do not own. This includes movies, television, music, and other entertainment that is a performance of a work of authorship and is likely subject to copyright protection. To do so will not only likely result in your account being shut down, it may also subject you to a copyright infringement lawsuit.

(2) Do not use another company’s registered trademark as a hashtag for your broadcast. These are easily detectable and large corporations are typically very vigilant in monitoring for the unauthorized use of their name.

(3) Respect privacy rights. Limit your live streaming of others to public places, and procure releases if you are using the broadcast for commercial purposes. The safest approach is simply to avoid streaming for business purposes from a public location.

Finally, there are also legal implications relating to the archiving of your live stream broadcast. Although Meerkat does not currently archive its streams, Periscope saves streams for 24 hours for unlimited rebroadcast during that time period, and Facebook videos are permanently recorded to your story. That means that if the original broadcast was illegal, you could be sued for multiple counts of infringing upon a copyright holder’s reproduction rights.

Some users have tried to claim that the Digital Millennial Copyright Act’s “safe harbor” provisions should shield them from liability, but that law only protects the live streaming service itself, not the actual broadcaster. That law, which YouTube constantly relies upon to protect itself, states that streaming services are protected if they respond promptly to rights owners’ takedown requests and don’t have “constructive” knowledge of infringement. But this will not protect you from an infringement claim if you knowingly broadcast illegal material.

Live streaming is likely here to stay, as it seems to be a perfect fit for today’s smartphone-carrying, internet-connected world. The bottom line is simply this: be smart and use common sense. Do not broadcast copyrighted material that you do not own, do not be creepy and invade people’s privacy, and procure releases if you are using your broadcast for business purposes. If you follow these simple rules, you will very likely protect yourself from any potentially expensive legal claims.

Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, manufacturing and entertainment law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. He may be contacted at 912.544.2050 or cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com

Savannah Attorney Invited to Panel the 2016 National Health Policy and Clinical Practice Conference

(SAVANNAH, GA) Savannah business attorney Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group will be a featured panelist in the Second National Health Policy and Clinical Practice Conference to be held in Savannah from Thursday, March 31 to Saturday, April 2 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf & Spa Resort.

The overall purpose of the event, sponsored by the Multiple Chronic Conditions Resource Center, is to extend an opportunity to interdisciplinary health care professionals and the general public to review, identify and discuss pertinent changes that are impacting and influencing American health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

The culmination of the three-day conference will be held on Saturday, April 2. Experts from diverse and different disciplines, including Bowen, will participate in a panel discussion on policies and practice. Other participants include Robert Rollings, MD; Lisa Hayes, PhD; Elizabeth Harrison, PhD; State Representative Jesse Petrae; State Representative Craig Gordon and Joanne Lynn, MD. The panel discussion will take place from 10:30 a.m to 12:30 p.m.

“The 2016 Health Policy and Clinical Practice conference will facilitate a discussion and better understanding on how health policy interfaces with clinical practice,” said Bowen. “It will also be an opportunity for practitioners and the public to become better informed about massive health care changes being generated by the sixth year of the Affordable Care Act and that will transform the U.S. health care system.”

In a timeline announced earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services expects the standard fee-for-service payment structure to be dramatically reduced by the end of 2018 due to efforts to move Medicare and the health care system at large toward paying providers based on the quality rather than the quantity of care given patients. According to Multiple Chronic Conditions Resource Center, this is of particular significance to the largest, fastest growing and most costly U.S. patient population, those who have two or more chronic conditions.

The conference sponsor has additionally partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Health Research and Quality, to provide a FREE Train the Trainer Program on SHARED Decision Making at the conference. This will offer the opportunity for medical professionals across multiple disciplines to receive 8.5 continuing education contact hours by attending required sessions.

Early bird registration before Monday, February 1 is $289 for medical professionals and $195 for the general public. To register for this event, please visit MultipleChronicConditions.org.

ABOUT MULTIPLE CHRONIC CONDITIONS
Multiple Chronic Conditions Resource Center is an interdisciplinary source for clinical practice updates, guidelines, blogs, and courses used to support best practices in the care and management of America’s largest patient population – those with two or more chronic conditions. The Center is recognized by the US Department of Health and Human Services as a clinical resource for interdisciplinary health care professional’s providing care for patients with Multiple Chronic Conditions. For more information, visit MultipleChronicConditions.org

MORE INFORMATION ON THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law since 1995. Bowen has his mediation certification by the Georgia Supreme Court as both a General Civil Mediator and a Domestic Relations Mediator. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the Georgia Bar. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Find The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR, Inc.
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
carriagetradepr.com

Savannah CFO Council To Discuss Future of Healthcare Industry

(SAVANNAH, GA) How will healthcare be delivered in the next three to five years in the Savannah area and what impact will it have on local employers? The Savannah CFO Council will seek answers to that question on Wednesday, September 16, during its monthly breakfast meeting at the Coastal Georgia Center.

The event will feature a guest panel representing the healthcare community, facilitated by local business attorney Charles Bowen, founder of The Bowen Law Group. The discussion will focus on how laws affect healthcare practices and how providers envision the healthcare industry changing in the coming years.

This topic is of special interest to the CFO Council audience, which is primarily comprised of financial representatives of local businesses and organizations, each with the responsibility of financial oversight of their respective organizations. Since significant percentages of most businesses’ budgets are dedicated to the cost of group medical insurance for employees, a large turnout is expected for this event.

Interested attendees must register in advance. The breakfast meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 16, at 7:15 a.m., at the Coastal Georgia Center, located at 305 Fahm St. Thanks to event sponsor Seacrest Partners, Inc, there is no cost to attend, but seating is limited and registrants are asked to abide by the group’s attendance guidelines. Please go online to: http://goo.gl/forms/4KbnEJL0Q4 for more information and to register for the meeting. Reservations must be made by Friday, September 11.

ABOUT SAVANNAH CFO COUNCIL:
The purpose of the council is to provide an educational forum for Senior Financial Executives (SFEs) to share best practices, to discuss current financial issues, and to learn about current topics related to the performance of their jobs, including but not limited to: finance, operations, legal, regulatory requirements, technology, risk management, and Generally Accepted Accounting Practices.
For more information about the organization, contact Sandi Roth at cfocouncilsavannah@gmail.com.

ABOUT CHARLES BOWEN
Based out of Savannah, Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law and also offers comprehensive mediation services. Bowen attended Mercer University in Macon, Georgia where he graduated summa cum laude with honors in both psychology and political science. Upon graduating from Georgetown University Law Center in 1995, Bowen moved to Savannah and established a corporate law practice. He has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. Also, Bowen has been selected by the members of the State Bar of Georgia as one of Georgia Trend’s 12th Annual Legal Elite for December 2014 in two categories: Business Law and Corporate Law.

EVENT CONTACT
Terry Lemmons
CFO Council
912.629.6924
tlemmons@optimhealth.com

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR, Inc.
912.844.9990
savannahpublicrelations@gmail.com
carriagetradepr.com