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Category Archives: Online Reviews

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Social Links: Will a fan-made Star Trek prequel live long and prosper?; California bans driving while Snapchatting; apps that facilitate infidelity

Posted in European Union, Litigation, Marketing, Online Reviews, Privacy

A federal district court judge refused to grant summary judgment to the copyright owners of the Star Trek franchise in the infringement suit they brought against the team behind a fan-made, crowdfunded prequel to the original Star Trek television series. Strict new European Union privacy rules will restrict Internet companies’ access to consumers’ data. Brands might… Continue Reading

In a Rough Year for CDA Section 230, Manchanda v. Google Provides Comfort to Website Operators

Posted in Litigation, Online Reviews, Section 230 Safe Harbor

As we noted in our recent post on the Ninth Circuit case Kimzey v. Yelp! Inc., in the right circumstances, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) still provides robust protection against liability for website operators despite the unusually large number of decisions this year seemingly narrowing the scope of the statute. Defendants notched another… Continue Reading

Social Links: Yellow journalism rakes in cash; NYC law protects gig economy pay; Twitter suspends “alt-right” accounts

Posted in Disappearing Content, Free Speech, Mobile, Online Reviews

“Yellow journalism” websites are using social media to capitalize on popular ideology. And they’re making a bundle. New York City recently passed the country’s first law protecting the wages of “gig economy” workers. The Wall Street Journal published an illuminating infographic illustrating who’s making a living that way. Twitter suspended high-profile accounts associated with the… Continue Reading

Yelp Case Shows CDA §230 Still Has Teeth

Posted in Online Reviews, Section 230 Safe Harbor

2016 has been a challenging year for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the website operators who depend on it for protection against liability stemming from user-generated content. An unusually large number of cases this year have resulted in decisions holding that the defendant website operators were not entitled to immunity under… Continue Reading

UK Consumer Protection Regulator Cracks Down on Undisclosed Endorsements and “Cherry Picking” Reviews on Social Media

Posted in Advertising, Influencer Marketing, Online Endorsements, Online Reviews, UK

Social media is reportedly rife with influencers promoting or reviewing products or services without disclosing compensation or other consideration that they’ve received for such endorsements. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the UK’s consumer protection regulator, is stepping up efforts to combat such undisclosed endorsements. Following a ruling against an influencer marketing company, Social Chain… Continue Reading

Social Links: Yelp’s Communications Decency Act claim; Twitter loosens its character limit; building a Snapchat audience

Posted in Cyberbullying, Data Security, Internet of Things, Litigation, Marketing, Online Reviews, Privacy

The California Supreme Court agreed to hear Yelp’s case arguing that requiring the company to remove a one-star review of a law firm “creates a gaping hole” in the immunity that shields internet service providers from suits related to user-generated content. Images, videos and quoted tweets no longer count toward Twitter’s 140-charter limit. Google is… Continue Reading

Controversial California Court Decision Significantly Narrows a Crucial Liability Safe Harbor for Website Operators

Posted in Defamation, Online Reviews, Section 230 Safe Harbor

A recent California court decision involving Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is creating considerable concern among social media companies and other website operators. As we’ve discussed in past blog posts, CDA Section 230 has played an essential role in the growth of the Internet by shielding website operators from defamation and other… 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: People-rating app proves unpopular; new tech automates compelling-photo selection; Twitter 101 for the political class

Posted in Cyberbullying, Marketing, Online Reviews, Status Updates

Bad reviews. On September 30th, the soon-to-be-launched app Peeple was described by the app’s co-founder, Julia Cordray, as a “Yelp for people,” that is, a people-rating platform that would allow users to assign number ratings to anyone—anyone at all, fellow Peeple user or not—as long as the critic was 21, had an established Facebook account,… Continue Reading

How UK Brands That Use Vlogger Endorsements & Social Media for Marketing Can Stay on the Right Side of the Law

Posted in Compliance, Marketing, Online Promotions, Online Reviews

Vloggers have become the reality stars of our times. For an increasing number of social media users, what was once a hobby is now a lucrative career. You may be surprised to learn that Felix Kjellberg (aka “PewDiePie”), a 25-year-old Swedish comedian and the world’s most popular YouTube star, is reported to have earned $8.5… Continue Reading

FTC Continues Enforcing Ad Disclosure Obligations in New Media and Issues a Warning to Advertisers

Posted in Compliance, FTC, Online Promotions, Online Reviews

In December 2014, we noted that the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) settlement with advertising firm Deutsch LA, Inc. was a clear signal to companies that advertise through social media that they need to comply with the disclosure requirements of Section 5 of the FTC Act. On September 2, 2015, the FTC announced a settlement along… 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

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

Posted in Bankruptcy, Cloud Computing, Copyright, First Amendment, FTC, Infographic, Internet of Things, IP, Livestreaming, Online Reviews, Privacy, Trademark, 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 present a “grand unifying theory” of today’s leading technologies and the legal challenges these technologies raise; we discuss whether hashtags can be protected under trademark law; we explore the… Continue Reading