Lightbulb sign with 2017 against concrete wall

Every December and January you can count on the trade press and the mainstream media to run lists of predictions for the upcoming year and retrospectives on the year past ranking the “best” and “worst” of everything from podcasts to memes. Social media users have even begun publishing lists of their own most popular posts. (Instagram users, for example, have been creating their own “best nine 2016 Instagram pics” posts using a web generator.)

At Socially Aware we’ve made an annual tradition of curating a “List of Lists”—an inventory of the roundups we think will be of most interest to our readership.

We’ll update this page throughout the month as additional pertinent content is published.

Happy 2017!

Technology & Social Media Law

2017: Predictions From Socially Aware’s Editors and Contributors

Top 10 Internet Law Developments of 2016

Cybersecurity Law in 2017—Predictions and Prognostications

Social Media (General)

5 Social Media Trends That Will Dominate 2017

The Top 17 Social Media Trends in 2017, According to the Experts

Five Predictions for Political Tech and Social Media in 2017 Continue Reading A List of Lists

InfluenceAndEngage2017This Friday, January 13, in New York City, Socially Aware will be co-sponsoring and attending Influence + Engage 2017, a conference hosted by The Social Edge that will explore the intersection of social influence and audience engagement.

With a keynote to be given by one of the world’s highest profile social media influencers, George Takei, the conference will include panel discussions on cutting-edge social-media-marketing issues such as how to manage the consequences of algorithms and filter bubbles and how to make sponsored content more authentic.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how to best connect with audiences and build your brand’s voice on social media.

The conference will run from 10 am (registration to open at 9am) until 5 pm at the SVA Theater on 23rd Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan. For more information regarding the event, click here.

"Top 10" on a screen. More>>

Last year we explained how companies could protect their social media currency and heed the FTC’s warning on native advertising. We examined court opinions establishing the criteria for enforceable website terms of use and defining the scope of protection afforded to website owners under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. We discussed courts’ struggles to interpret emoji and to determine whether “friending” a litigation adversary violates attorney ethics rules. We also explored questions such as whether ad blockers will kill online publishing and whether trolls are killing social media marketing.

We did our best to cover it all. But—of course—some articles resonated with our readers more than others. These were the most popular posts that appeared on Socially Aware in 2016:

  1. New Copyright Office Rule Creates Potential “Gotcha” for Blogs and Websites Hosting User-Generated Content
  2. Social Media Safety Guide for Companies
  3. The Internet of Things: Interoperability, Industry Standards & Related IP Licensing Approaches
  4. Don’t Worry, Be (Un)Happy: Does U.S. Labor Law Protect a Worker’s Right to a Bad Attitude?
  5. Augmenting Reality: A Pokémon Go Business and Legal Primer
  6. Controversial New Jersey Consumer Protection Law Creates a Potential “Gotcha” for E-Commerce Companies
  7. The Internet of Things: Interoperability, Industry Standards & Related IP Licensing Approaches (Part 2)
  8. #Trademarks?: Hashtags as Trademarks Revisited
  9. Mixed Messages: Courts Grapple With Emoticons and Emoji
  10. Clickwrap, Browsewrap and Mixed Media Contracts: A Few Words Can Go a Long Way

We are delighted to announce that Socially Aware has been included in the 10th Annual Blawg 100, a list of “100 excellent legal blogs” selected by the staff and readers of the ABA Journal, the American Bar Association’s flagship magazine.

The ABA Journal’s editorial staff notes that it compiles the BLAWG 100 list as a service to its readers, “pointing them to a collection of some of the very best legal writing and commentary on the Web.”

We’re honored to have been selected from among the more than four thousand legal blogs in the ABA Journal’s directory. And we’re flattered to be listed alongside many of our own favorite law blogs, such as Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog and Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log.

We’d like to thank our many contributors to the blog and our wonderful readers.

Here’s to another great year!

Socially Aware editors John Delaney and Aaron Rubin will be in Austin, Texas, for SXSW Interactive from March 11th to March 15th.  They plan to “live tweet” a number of the presentations via our @MoFoSocMedia Twitter account. If you will be in Austin for SXSW Interactive, give us a shout!

In case you missed Socially Aware’s and Practising Law Institute’s recent Social Media conference in San Francisco, we will be hosting the conference in New York City this Wednesday, February 24th.  The NYC conference will be chaired by Socially Aware co-editor John Delaney, and will feature presenters from AmEx, Citi, Dell, Etsy and Pepsi as well as representatives from the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York Attorney General’s Office.  The event will conclude with a network session.

Don’t miss what has become one of the leading conferences addressing cutting-edge social media-related legal issues! For more information or to register, please visit PLI’s website here.

Last year, entrepreneurs, companies and courts grappled with questions over content owners’ rights with respect to livestreaming, Yelp reviewers’ anonymity expectations, bankruptcy creditors’ access to business’ Facebook and Twitter accounts, and the constitutionality of laws punishing the posters of revenge porn and banning ballot selfies. And federal regulators weighed in on emerging issues such as cross-device tracking and the Internet of Things, as well as native advertising, marketing, and paid endorsements on social media.

We did our best to cover it all. But—of course—some articles resonated with our readers more than others. These were the most popular posts that appeared on Socially Aware in 2015:

  1. #Trademarks?: Hashtags as Trademarks
  2. Infographic: Social Media Marketing
  3. Social Media E-Discovery: Are Your Facebook Posts Discoverable in Civil Litigation?
  4. Data for the Taking: Using Website Terms and Conditions to Combat Web Scraping
  5. Employer Access to Employee Social Media: Applicant Screening, “Friend” Requests and Workplace Investigations
  6. First-Ever Award of “Any Damages” for Fraudulent DMCA Takedowns Under Section 512(f)
  7. Twenty Years Down the Road: A Q&A With Paul Goldstein, Author of Copyright’s Highway
  8. Shorter and Simpler, Yes – But Is IBM’s New Cloud Services Agreement Any Sweeter? 
  9. Five Social Media Law Issues To Discuss With Your Clients
  10. Big Data and Human Resources—Letting the Computer Decide?

 

 

 

 

We are delighted to announce that Socially Aware has been included in the 9th Annual Blawg 100, a list of “100 excellent legal blogs” selected by the staff and readers of the ABA Journal, the American Bar Association’s flagship magazine, which is read by half of the nation’s 1.1 million lawyers every month.

The ABA Journal’s editorial staff notes that it compiles the BLAWG 100 list as a service to its readers, “pointing them to a collection of some of the very best legal writing and commentary on the Web.”

We’re honored to have been selected from among the thousands of blogs dedicated to disseminating legal news and information to professionals and consumers. And we’re flattered to be listed alongside many of our own favorite law blogs, such as Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog and Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log.

We’d like to thank our many contributors to the blog, our wonderful readers and Gabe Meister, our former colleague and Socially Aware co-founder who left us to join the NBA (as a lawyer, not a player).

Here’s to another great year!

As we previously reported, a company’s social media pages and profiles, and the associated followers, friends and other connections, may constitute valuable business assets. In our experience, however, social media assets often receive little attention in M&A transactions. Purchasers in such transactions generally require sellers to make robust representations and warranties regarding the target company’s assets, but a typical purchase agreement may give social media assets only cursory treatment or, in some cases, not explicitly cover social media assets at all. In an attempt to rectify this oversight, this article outlines a set of representations and warranties that a purchaser may consider to address issues relating to a target company’s social media assets in an M&A context.

To begin, it is necessary to define the category of assets at issue. In defining this category—which we will refer to as “Social Media Accounts” for convenience—a purchaser may wish to capture a broad swath of online assets not limited just to a company’s pages and profiles on the major social networks (although those should certainly be addressed), including all accounts, profiles, pages, feeds, registrations and other presences on or in connection with any:

  • social media or social networking website or online service;
  • blog or microblog;
  • mobile application;
  • photo, video or other content-sharing website;
  • virtual game world or virtual social world;
  • rating and review website;
  • wiki or similar collaborative content website; or
  • message board, bulletin board or similar forum.

Armed with a broad definition of “Social Media Accounts” as described above, a comprehensive set of social media representations and warranties would require the seller to provide a list of all Social Media Accounts that the target company uses, operates or maintains, and to identify, for each such Social Media Account, any account names, user names, nicknames, display names, handles and other identifiers registered, used or held for use by or for the target company (which we will refer to collectively as “Social Media Account Names”).

The purchaser may then ask the seller to make some or all of the following representations and warranties with respect to Social Media Accounts and Social Media Account Names:

  • None of the Social Media Account Names infringes or otherwise violates any trademark rights or other intellectual property rights of any third party.
  • All use of the Social Media Accounts complies with and has complied with (i) all terms and conditions, terms of use, terms of service and other agreements and contracts applicable to such Social Media Accounts, and (ii) applicable law and regulation.
  • The target company has implemented and enforces an employee social media policy that:
  • provides that the company, and not any company employee or contractor, owns and controls the Social Media Accounts and Social Media Account Names (including all associated information and content, all relationships, interactions and communications with fans, followers, visitors, commenters, users and customers, and all associated good will and opportunities);
  • requires all employees and contractors to relinquish to the company all Social Media Account Names, passwords, and other log-in information for the Social Media Accounts upon termination of employment or engagement or at any other time upon company’s request;
  • includes appropriate guidelines and restrictions regarding the use of (i) the Social Media Accounts, and (ii) personal social media accounts, including, in each case, with respect to endorsements, attribution, disclosure of proprietary information and violation of intellectual property rights; and
  • complies with applicable law and regulation.
  • Each of the target company’s employees and contractors has agreed in his or her company employment agreement to comply with such social media policy.
  • The contemplated transaction will not result in the loss or impairment of the target company’s ability to use, operate or maintain any Social Media Account or Social Media Account Name, or in the breach of any terms of use, terms of service or other agreements or contracts applicable to such Social Media Accounts.

It should be noted that a set of representations and warranties incorporating all of the points above may be more than is practical or necessary for many transactions. Purchasers will need to determine in each case how robust the social media representations and warranties should be based on the particular circumstances of the transaction, including the nature of the target company’s business, the extent of the target company’s use of social media and the relative negotiating positions of each party.

One last caveat: We use the term “assets” in relation to a company’s social media pages and profiles advisedly, given that their legal status as property is tenuous at best (in almost all cases, these “assets” could be taken away by the third-party operators of the relevant social media platforms). But the issues addressed above are issues that we have seen arise repeatedly in reported cases, so we hope that this article will at least be helpful in thinking through some of the points that a purchaser should consider when acquiring a target company that uses social media in its business.

Well, it’s that time of the year, when our news feeds are dominated by lists of predictions for the coming year. We thought it might be helpful to our readers to gather links to various technology and social media-related predictions for 2015. We’ll post additional links here over the coming weeks:

Technology & Social Media Law

The Top Ten Internet Law Developments of 2014

What You Need to Know About the New Tech Laws For 2015

Digital & Social Media Marketing

Corporate social media fails of 2014: big brands make big mistakes

Brands: Avoid These Social Media Mistakes in 2015

Top 3 Technology Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2015

The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015

21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015

The Future of Social Media: How Will It Impact Marketing, Sales, and Customer Service?

2015 Mobile/Location-Based Marketing Predictions From 10 Experts

What’s on the Horizon for Mobile Marketing?

8 Bold Predictions for Digital Marketing in 2015

6 Predictions About the State of Digital Marketing in 2015

Top IT Predictions for 2015

The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015

Top 10 Technology Predictions for 2015

Apps

5 Predictions of How Apps Will Change in 2015

8 Predictions for Mobile App Development in 2015

10 Mobile Enterprise App Solutions Predictions for 2015

E-Commerce

Data Driven Predictions for 2015

20 E-Commerce Trends and Predictions for 2015

Ecommerce Trends 2015: 19 Predictions From Top E-Commerce experts