1. SharesPost is in trouble because it didn't register as a broker and is brokering securities. Duh.
2. Other markets have no issues and there are at least 1/2 dozen others. Besides, a very, very well informed source tells me that few shares are actually sold in any secondary transactions as companies almost always exercise their right of first refusal.
3. The 500 shareholder limit is almost never an issue because it only applies to people in the US and most of the demand is from overseas. Also, most (all?) SEC rules related to private stock transactions only apply in the US, which is why quite a lot of secondary activities take place overseas.
Really this is about the SEC going after people doing stupid things - e.g. brokering stock transactions without a license and advertising private stock for sale, both of which are big no-nos & finance 101. These people deserve to have the book thrown at them.
Well, they do both. They push US companies as a whole, but when a specific company (e.g. Dark Helment, Inc) comes to them for help on a specific topic (and it's within guidelines), then they will help a specific company with said topic. Also applies to narrow industry sectors.
It's pretty much equal access, although the quality of the help you might get is highly variable. It's also true that the more effort you put into preparing, the more likely a positive outcome (and effective help).
And they are not averse to putting together specialist teams to help companies on specific issues, esp. where it relates to government (where they, obviously, have the most access/influence) - see this FCS page - http://export.gov/faq/eg_main_017486.asp#P16_761 - obviously, the bigger the company, the more incentive FCS and other agencies have to help.
I would also point out that the US gov't, via it's embassies, gathers a lot of economic data about markets and makes it available to everyone. It's a good starting point for figure out how to work with foreign markets...
Hmmm, I think this topic may be outside of your knowledge sphere. There are 30+ people at the Dept. of Commerce who's only job is to help Boeing with exports.
Why? Because Boeing is the single largest exporter in the US.
And any US business that needs export assistance can contact the local embassy/consulate for help with introductions, business development and even sometimes marketing. The reverse is also true, if you want to buy US goods, embassies have specialist staff to help find the right company. It's very company to company specific work and it happens every day.
It's absolutely part of their job description. In fact, it's a core part of their job. My father was a career diplomat, I worked at FAS in Vienna, Austria (see post below) and my wife is a consular official - we all have been heavily involved in helping companies get more business.
Pushing and facilitating exports is a core diplomatic function, probably more than it's ever been. I've work on the contract negotiations (as a gov't. official) between private sector companies, facilitating the conversation and providing a back channel.
This sort of deep involvement is probably the most valuable thing embassies do these days.
Don't be surprised, it's part of their job description...
... all embassies, from all countries, help sell the products from their country. It pretty much doesn't matter what it is, that's a core part of all missions. And their are specialist for most industry verticals doing this.
Back in the late '80s, I helped sell US foodstuffs to the Soviet Union. I was working for the Foreign Agricultural Service, a part of the USDA which is present in a lot of embassies. It was my job to help market and sell US agricultural products to Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia - and, as it happens, the Soviet Union.
It makes no sense for an embassy to push anything open source or free as that brings zero economic benefit to the country. They might do so as part of a wider policy initiative, but most policies are not so prescriptive.
It's important to remember that diplomats don't exist for altruistic reasons. Their job is to gather information and knowledge about a country/region and to use that knowledge to push the interests of their country at every level, but particularly economically.
This is the same group that decided to standardize on Wang systems when everyone else was moving to DOS - I still remember working at a Wang desk (basically a computer that was the whole desk, like something out of 1960s futurist comedy...) in the late 1980's.
State Dept's forte is people and cultures, not technology.
If this is happening globally and the artist in question is based in the US, why not sue GEMA in a US court for loss of incoming + damages (or whatever is the appropriate thing for preventing you from exercising your rights)?
If you win, you could have any GEMA exec detained if they come to the US, might wake them up...