Startup News Digest 11/11/16

Our weekly take on some of the biggest stories in startup and tech policy. To receive this weekly digest in your inbox, sign up at

Tech Confronts the Reality of a Trump Presidency. It’s no secret that Donald Trump has been at odds with the tech community throughout his campaign. And while much of the industry is still reeling after Tuesday’s results, startup and tech leaders are beginning to come to terms with the reality of a Trump presidency. While a number of the positions espoused by Trump are antithetical to those held by the tech community (think immigration, encryption, net neutrality, etc.), some tech leaders are approaching President-elect Trump with an open mind and expressing a willingness to work with him. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, there’s VC Sherwin Pishevar calling for California to secede. No one can know exactly what Trump’s presidency will mean for startups and tech, but numerous publications are making predictions. A few of them can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Judge Approves a New San Francisco Rental Law. A federal judge in San Francisco rejected AirBnB’s challenge of a law that requires the company to confirm that online listings have been registered with the city. While an appeal is likely, if the ruling is upheld, this case may set the stage for similar regulations in short-term housing markets around the country. The San Francisco law, passed this year, requires hosts to have city-issued registration numbers and the site to publish these numbers on listings. The law holds both the host and AirBnB responsible for non-compliance. The parties will reconvene on November 17 to discuss how the law will be enforced.

Changes to DMCA Safe Harbor Requirements. Do you run a website or an application? If so, you may need to take new steps to protect yourself from copyright infringement liability. Last week, the Copyright Office adopted rules changing the requirements around how service providers register designated agents. Here’s a bit of background: companies that host user-generated content rely on safe harbors in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to avoid liability for the copyright infringements of their users. In order to be eligible for protection under DMCA, a company must register a designated agent to receive notifications of claimed copyright infringement. For years, this had to be done via a paper registration system. But beginning December 1, the agency will rely on a new electronic registration system and require that designation be renewed every three years. Since the protections of the safe harbor are only available to platforms that already expeditiously process takedown requests, this new re-registration requirement serves little purpose other than to impose additional regulatory roadblocks to startups seeking to comply with the DMCA. Learn more here.

Join Us in TUESDAY for Vets in Tech Briefing. Engine is co-hosting a briefing with Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the Diversifying Tech Caucus, and the Congressional Future Caucus on preparing veterans for tech careers. The event will be held next week, on November 15, in the Cannon House Office Building. It will explore the actions that the government and the private sector can take to advance opportunities for veterans looking to enter the tech sector, a topic that Engine has addressed previously. Space is limited—make sure to sign up soon!