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Category Archives: Litigation

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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

Hot Off the Press: The January-February Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Cloud Computing, FTC, Infographic, Litigation, Wearable Computers

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 discuss key–and often ignored–legal concerns regarding social media assets in M&A transactions; we explore whether anti-Glass hysteria may have doomed Google Glass; we highlight a landmark case finding that… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The December Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in Copyright, Infographic, Internet of Things, Litigation, Privacy, 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 look at several topics surrounding the proverbial online thumbs up, including the emerging legal status of Facebook likes and similar social media constructs; Facebook’s recent prohibition of the popular… Continue Reading

Forced to Cyber-Spy: Court Rules Parents Can Be Held Negligent for Child’s Facebook Activity

Posted in Litigation, Terms of Use

Are parents now liable for what their kids post to Facebook?  According to a recent decision in the Georgia Court of Appeals, they are. The Georgia Court of Appeals held that the parents of a seventh-grade student could be found negligent for failing to ensure that their son deleted an offensive Facebook profile that defamed… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The November Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in FTC, Internet of Things, Litigation, Privacy, Statistics, 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 discuss an important Ninth Circuit decision refusing to enforce an arbitration clause in a website “terms of use” agreement; we examine “Operation Full Disclosure,”… Continue Reading

New York Family Court Magistrate Allows Unprecedented Service of Process via Facebook; Will Others Follow?

Posted in Litigation

In a little-noticed decision, Matter of Noel v. Maria, Support Magistrate Gregory L. Gliedman—a Staten Island, New York family court official—recently permitted a father seeking to modify his child support payments to serve process on the child’s mother by sending her a digital copy of the summons and petition through her Facebook account. Magistrate Gliedman’s… Continue Reading

The Death of Courtesy and Civility Under the National Labor Relations Act

Posted in Employment Law, Litigation

In 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the “Board”) found a “courtesy” policy unlawful. Since then, the NLRB has continued to create more and more tension between the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA or the “Act”) and employers’ legitimate interests in maintaining and enforcing workplace guidelines governing courtesy in a nondiscriminatory fashion. This… Continue Reading

To Click or Not to Click? Ninth Circuit Rejects Browsewrap Arbitration Clause

Posted in Litigation, Terms of Use

In Kevin Khoa Nguyen v. Barnes & Noble Inc., 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 15868 (9th Cir. 2014), decided on August 18, 2014, the Ninth Circuit rejected an attempt to bind a consumer to an arbitration clause found in an online terms of use agreement not affirmatively “click accepted” by the consumer but readily accessible through a… Continue Reading

She Liked It. She Really, Really Liked It: Federal District Court Holds Facebook Fan Page Manager Doesn’t Own “Likes”

Posted in Litigation

A federal district court broke new social media law ground in August 2014 when it held in favor of the cable network Black Entertainment Television (BET) in a suit brought by the founder of an unofficial Facebook fan page for one of the network’s television shows. In holding that BET acted lawfully when it asked… Continue Reading

Hot Off the Press: The August Issue of Our Socially Aware Newsletter Is Now Available

Posted in DMCA, FDA Regulations, Litigation, Privacy, Statistics, Supreme Court, Wearable Computers

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 examine the use of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act to combat web scraping; we explore the launch of Google Glass in the UK… Continue Reading