The Law and Business of Social Media
May 20, 2019 - Advertising, Trademark, Artificial Intelligence, Data Security, Hacking, Defamation, Fair Use, Litigation, Right of Publicity

Trademarks as hashtags; influencer sues company allegedly depicting him in an ad; new uses for AI technology

A federal district court in California has added to the small body of case law addressing whether it’s permissible for one party to use another party’s trademark as a hashtag. The court held that, for several reasons, the 9th Circuit’s nominative fair use analysis did not cover one company’s use of another company’s trademarks as hashtags. Whether a hashtag is capable of functioning as a trademark, the topic of two of Socially Aware’s most popular posts, is—of course—another issue entirely.

In what The New York Times describes as “the latest in a line of rulings allowing companies to use arbitration provisions to bar both class actions in court and class-wide arbitration proceedings,” the Supreme Court held that the employment agreements of workers at the lighting fixture retailer Lamps Plus can’t band together to sue the company for allegedly failing to protect their data. The details of the data breach make for an interesting read.

The U.K.’s data regulator has proposed rules that would prevent social media platforms from allowing children to “like” posts. Here’s why.

Officials in a Georgia city might pass a law that would allow elected and appointed officials and employees of the city to sue—at the city’s taxpayers’ expense—anyone who defames them on social media.

Instagram influencer Gianluca Vacchi, who is not a fictional character, but—according the complaint he filed in a federal court in New York—“an international social media celebrity, influencer, fashionista, and disk jockey” —is suing E*Trade for allegedly depicting a character in its commercials who is “stunningly identical” to him. The suit claims copyright infringement, Lanham Act false association and unfair competition, and violation of New York’s right of publicity and privacy.

The Chinese social media company Weibo restored access to this type of content from its platform after significant backlash from its users.

In the age of smartphones and social media, what can trial lawyers do to secure a jury that relied only on the evidence presented in court?

Artificial intelligence is informing which items McDonald’s includes on its outdoor digital menu displays.

The California State Bar is considering using artificial intelligence, too. The bar hopes that AI can help it to more efficiently determine which attorney misconduct complaints to pursue, and perform a function that affects every wannabe lawyer.

Should Wendy’s put Spicy Chicken Nuggets back on its menu? Social media users have spoken (with some prompting from Chance the Rapper).