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January 7, 2019

Interview: SKM Legal about law and technology

Agata Piekut by Agata

It is our pleasure to introduce you to our new Partner SKM Legal. We’ve sat at the beginning of this year to talk about law, technology and their key specializations – fashion law and blockchain.

What role does law play in technology and technology in law?

Magda: While law and technology might seem completely separate, in practice they are inextricably intertwined. On the one hand, lawyers rely on new technologies to make their work easier and significantly faster; on the other hand, they help ICT clients combine new technologies with law to make sure that any innovative solutions are both lawful and well protected by law.

Is technology your passion? Why did you choose this specialization?

Magda: IT has been the fastest growing field for a long time, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Nolens volens, law has to keep up with it. Therefore, as a law firm, we have decided to develop our specialization in this area. A strong background in the field definitely makes it easier to get a good grasp on new technologies. Mec. Szczudło has always been in touch with new technologies. He is a graduate of an IT-oriented technical secondary school, and he has always seen a great potential in new technologies, which we are developing now within our dedicated specialization.

What legal tips do you have for people starting a career in IT?

Magda: Those who intend to start their careers in the IT sector should pay attention to the terms and conditions of employment: the remuneration they will receive; when it will be paid; whether the employee’s duties and responsibilities are clearly specified in the contract; and if so, what are they. As regards developers and graphic designers, the moment of transfer of the author’s economic rights to items they create is also something to consider. Of course, the best solution is when the copyright transfer coincides with the payment of the remuneration, especially in the B2B sector.

You also have a very rare specialization: fashion law. Could you please tell us what, in legal terms, the creative industries should know about technology, and which creative aspects should be considered in IT?

Magda: It is true that the fashion industry is a unique specialization. We support our clients throughout the entire process of creating clothes: from the initial design to the consumer’s wardrobe. In the fashion industry, new technologies are present in several aspects. Some are quite obvious and visible, such as all e-commerce solutions, while others are less self-evident, such as innovative solutions used for the production of clothing, modern fabrics, or virtual fitting rooms, but also logistics and all technological solutions that support sales. For example, when analyzing a solution such as virtual fitting rooms, fashion entrepreneurs usually engage in “live” marketing, which involves collecting a lot of information, not only statistical data. In such circumstances, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must be taken into account. GDPR is a very good example of a legal regulation that had to be created in order to “cope” with new technologies and the circulation of personal data in the future.

We have to ask you this: blockchain is the hottest tech topic of 2018, but what is its impact on law in the creative industry, especially fashion law?

Arek: Blockchain enjoys great popularity in virtually every area of life these days, be it food, finance, e-commerce, big data or fashion. Blockchain can be used by the fashion industry in many ways. Innovative solutions are already being developed to prevent the copying of designs or for direct use in logistics. I have noticed that fashion still shies away from blockchain solutions, although they are now in use in other industries; there have been no applications for funding under ICO/STO and personalized marketing tokens are not yet popular either. The fashion industry could successfully use these elements not only to promote its own brands and products, but also to look for investors. This is what we strongly encourage and support in legal terms. Projects are currently more focused on internal improvements of the operation of specific brand management elements.

You are well known in the Polish tech community as the experts who like to share their knowledge. How do you do it and why?

Magda: As a law firm, we believe in the Givers Gain philosophy. We believe that sharing knowledge pays off. First of all, it builds our expertise. Secondly, it makes us feel that we are helping new technologies to develop, and this makes us happy. We try to reach the largest possible number of people through our blog – “Future Tech” – and the articles posted there, as well as through participation in many events, whether as trainers, panellists or observers. Being in this technological community really helps us to grow; we have access to the current problems that members of this community have to cope with, including legal ones, and we are able to stay up-to-date, which definitely contributes to our development and better understanding of our clients’ needs. And that is what it is all about, right? 🙂

Arkadiusz Szczudło
Magdalena Korol

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