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Category Archives: Litigation

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Social Links: Publishers claim ad blockers violate FTC rules; Twitter bags its “buy button”; has the IoT gone too far?

Posted in Advertising, Defamation, FTC, Internet of Things, Litigation, Marketing

The Newspaper Association of America has filed a first-of-its-kind complaint with the FTC over certain ad blocking technologies. Is it “Internet” or “internet”? The Associated Press is about to change the capitalization rule. Lots of people criticized Instagram’s new logo, but, according to a design-analysis app, it’s much better than the old logo at doing… Continue Reading

Will Ad Blockers Kill Online Publishing?

Posted in Advertising, Litigation, Privacy

The Internet contains over 4.6 billion Web pages, most of which are accessible for free, making content that we used to have to pay for—news, videos, games—available without having to hand over a credit card number. What makes all of this possible is online advertising. As Internet industry commentator Larry Downes has noted, “If no… Continue Reading

Social Links—Twitter loosens up; case against Google stands; should millennials be in charge of big social media campaigns?

Posted in Litigation, Livestreaming, Marketing, Privacy, Section 230 Safe Harbor

Here’s how Twitter is loosening up its 140-character limit. The federal government will now check the social media history of prospective employees before granting them security clearance. One expert says C-level executives shouldn’t entrust millennials with their companies’ social media feeds. Federal court refuses to dismiss a lawsuit against Google for allegedly removing sites from… Continue Reading

Social Links—Fines for social-media-posting jurors; Microinfluencers; Snapchat’s and Tinder’s sketchy new features

Posted in Advertising, Disappearing Content, Litigation, Privacy

A lawsuit alleges this Snapchat feature is making driving even more dangerous, and it’s not texting or instant messaging. This state is considering imposing hefty fines on jurors who post information to social media about the lawsuits they’re hearing. Facebook pulls back the veil (ever so slightly) on political ads. The exposure of the personal… Continue Reading

Judge in High-Profile Case Obtains Attorney Agreement Not to Engage in Juror Social Media Snooping

Posted in Litigation

It seems that almost everyone uses social media today. Of course, this means that most every juror is a social media user, and that courts are dealing with the thorny questions that arise out of the proliferation of social media usage among jurors. Like the long-standing practice of warning jurors not to talk about the… Continue Reading

New Jersey Supreme Court Questions Ethics of “Friending” a Litigation Foe

Posted in Litigation

Attorneys often research adverse parties online to obtain potentially useful—and publicly available—evidence for use in a case. But, as an ethical matter, may an attorney access information available only through an adversary’s private social media account? The New Jersey Supreme Court just considered this question in a professional-misconduct complaint involving “Facebook spying” of a plaintiff… Continue Reading

Social Links—Facebook-spying litigators; employees’ social media posts; Europe’s Right To Be Forgotten

Posted in Employment Law, Ethics, European Union, FTC, Litigation, Online Endorsements, Privacy, Protected Speech

Defense lawyers who checked out the Facebook page of a plaintiff suing their client can be prosecuted for attorney misconduct, New Jersey judge rules. Norwegian band changes its name to avoid “social media censorship.” Can public agencies control their employees’ social media posts? Google has complete discretion over whether or not to grant “right to… Continue Reading

Mixed Messages: Courts Grapple With Emoticons and Emoji

Posted in Litigation

Emoticons—such as :-)—and emoji—such as —are ubiquitous in online and mobile communications; according to one study, 74 percent of Americans use emoticons, emoji and similar images on a regular basis. Given their popularity, it comes as no surprise that courts are increasingly being called upon to evaluate the meaning of emoticons and emoji that are… Continue Reading

Social Links: A social media marketing fail; Facebook and prisoners, jurors, older people

Posted in Big Data, First Amendment, Litigation, Marketing

We’re trying something new here at Socially Aware: In addition to our usual social-media and tech-law analyses and updates, we’re going to end each work week with a list of links to interesting social media stories around the Web, primarily things that caught our eye during the week that we may or may not ultimately… Continue Reading

How to Protect Your Company’s Social Media Currency

Posted in Digital Content, DMCA, IP, Litigation, Marketing, Section 230 Safe Harbor, Terms of Use

Today’s companies compete not only for dollars but also for likes, followers, views, tweets, comments and shares. “Social currency,” as some researchers call it, is becoming increasingly important and companies are investing heavily in building their social media fan bases. In some cases, this commitment of time, money and resources has resulted in staggering success…. Continue Reading

New Court Decision Highlights Potential Headache for Companies Hosting User-Generated Content

Posted in Copyright, Digital Content, DMCA, IP, Litigation

In this election season, we hear a lot of complaints about laws stifling business innovation. And there is no doubt that some laws have this effect. But what about laws that spur innovation, that result in the creation of revolutionary new business models? Section 512(c) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (the DMCA) is one such… Continue Reading

Go Fish: Do General Discovery Rules Apply to a Litigant’s Facebook Posts?

Posted in Discovery, E-Discovery, Litigation

While discovery of social media information has been commonplace for some time, courts are still struggling with when such discovery should be allowed. While courts generally hold that normal discovery rules apply to social media discovery, at least one judge has identified—and railed against—emerging trends in such cases that impose additional hurdles for litigants seeking… Continue Reading

Frying Small Potatoes: Will Amazon’s Pursuit of Individual Fake-Review Writers Pay Off?

Posted in Endorsement Guides, Litigation, Online Reviews

Amazon’s customer reviews have long been a go-to resource for consumers researching prospective purchases. Unfortunately, fake customer reviews—product critiques commissioned by merchants and manufacturers in an effort to bolster their own products’ reputations or undermine their competitors’—have been around for almost as long. Now, in its quest to maintain the integrity of its customer reviews,… Continue Reading

Now Available: The October Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter

Posted in Bankruptcy, Compliance, Discovery, Employment Law, FTC, IP, Labor Law, Litigation, M&A, Marketing, Mobile, Online Endorsements, Online Promotions, Online Reviews, Securities Law, Terms of Use

The latest issue of our Socially Aware newsletter is now available here. In this issue of Socially Aware, our Burton Award-winning guide to the law and business of social media, we highlight five key social media law issues to address with your corporate clients; we discuss when social media posts are discoverable in litigation; we identify six important considerations in… Continue Reading

Status Updates: Court nixes VPPA claim; lawyer suspended over blog posts; Facebook ‘unfriending’ cited in bullying decision

Posted in Cyberbullying, Ethics, Litigation, Privacy

Tale of the tape. The Video Privacy Protection Act (VPPA), which requires video service providers to destroy personally identifiable information after a specified time, doesn’t provide a private right of action for plaintiffs whose information was retained beyond that period. So held the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Rodriguez v. Sony,… Continue Reading

Federal District Court Strikes Down Law That Bans Ballot Selfies

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation

The U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire recently struck down on First Amendment grounds a 2014 amendment to New Hampshire Revised Statute 659:35 that made it illegal for New Hampshire voters to post pictures of their completed ballots to social media. While several states have laws that disallow ballot sharing, RSA 659:35… Continue Reading

Social Media E-Discovery: Are Your Facebook Posts Discoverable in Civil Litigation?

Posted in Discovery, E-Discovery, Litigation

Judge Richard J. Walsh began his opinion in Largent v. Reed with the following question: “What if the people in your life want to use your Facebook posts against you in a civil lawsuit?” With the explosive growth of social media, judges have had to confront this question more and more frequently. The answer to… Continue Reading

Washington State Court Refuses to Unmask Anonymous Online Reviewer

Posted in First Amendment, Litigation, Online Reviews

In a precedent-setting ruling, the Washington Court of Appeals in Thomson v. Doe refused to grant a motion to compel brought by a defamation plaintiff who had subpoenaed the lawyer-review site Avvo.com seeking the identity of an anonymous online reviewer, holding that, for a defamation plaintiff to unmask an anonymous defendant, that “plaintiff must do… Continue Reading

Five Social Media Law Issues To Discuss With Your Clients

Posted in Arbitration, Copyright, Employment Law, IP, Labor Law, Litigation, Online Promotions, Terms of Use

The explosive growth of social media has clients facing legal questions that didn’t even exist a few short years ago. Helping your clients navigate this muddled legal landscape will have them clicking “like” in no time. What’s in a Like? Not long ago, the word “like” was primarily a verb (and an interjection used by… Continue Reading

Status Updates: Facebook Posts—Reliable Evidence?; Quora Post Costs Applicant a Job; a New Ephemeral Messaging App

Posted in Disappearing Content, Discovery, E-Discovery, Litigation, Status Updates

Facebook: Fact or fiction? These days, courts are more and more frequently faced with disputes over whether, as part of the discovery process, a litigant should be entitled to view the opposing party’s social media posts. As we’ve discussed, some courts deciding physical and emotional injury claims have held that the photos and status updates… Continue Reading

Effort to Hide Facebook Evidence by Deactivating Account Ends Badly for Louisiana Man

Posted in Discovery, E-Discovery, Litigation

  As social media has become ubiquitous, courts are wrestling with more discovery disputes involving social media accounts. In a recent case, Crowe v. Marquette Transportation Co. Gulf-Inland, LLC, the plaintiff deactivated his Facebook account in an effort to be able to claim that he was no longer on Facebook. A federal court in Louisiana… Continue Reading

#Trademarks?: Hashtags as Trademarks

Posted in Litigation, Trademark

Hashtags have become ubiquitous in social media, but their status as intellectual property—particularly as trademarks—is still developing. First adopted by Twitter users to link user posts, hashtags are character strings preceded by the “#” symbol that generate a link to all other posts containing the same tag. Today, in addition to providing the search-related functionality… Continue Reading

Rolling With the Punches: The Fight Over Livestreaming

Posted in Copyright, IP, Litigation

Boxing fans eagerly awaited the May 2, 2015, championship match between boxers Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. But the fight also drew the interest of those following online video apps Meerkat and Periscope. Launched at the end of February 2015, Meerkat is a livestreaming iPhone app that allows Twitter users to stream videos from… Continue Reading

Court Protects Anonymity of Yelp Users

Posted in Defamation, First Amendment, Litigation, Privacy

  Virginia’s highest court recently held that Yelp could not be forced to turn over the identities of anonymous online reviewers that a Virginia carpet-cleaning owner claimed tarnished his business. In the summer of 2012, Joseph Hadeed, owner of Hadeed Carpet Cleaning, sued seven anonymous Yelp reviewers after receiving a series of critical reviews. Hadeed alleged that… Continue Reading