Social media: Online brand protection


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Hannah Clipston and Leon Deakin from Thomas Eggar LLP discuss social media and online brand protection – from the Sport and the Law Conference 2014.

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Social media: Online brand protection

  1. 1. Social Media Online brand protection Hannah Clipston and Leon Deakin Thomas Eggar LLP Sports Group
  2. 2. Defining Social Media “Social media is the use of based and mobile technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, create, discuss and modify user generated content.” Examples • Blogging and Networking via users own website • Networking sites – Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter • Sharing sites – YouTube; Flickr; Pinterest, Google+ • Review sites, publications, third party blogs and the wikis – Wikipedia, Blogspot, WordPress, Industry Forums
  3. 3. Some Stats… Over 1 billion tweets are sent per week; Facebook has approximately 31 million users Twitter has an estimated 15 million users in the UK (Sept 2013) with half of those users preferring to “read” rather than “post” 80% of Twitter users are active on mobile devices Linkedin is responsible for 64% of visits to corporate websites from any social media site Pinterest has gone from 200,000 users to over 2 million (July 2013) Up and coming for 2014 (13 -20 demographic) – Snapchat and WhatsApp
  4. 4. Social Media Law? • Malicious Communications Act 1988/Communications Act 2003 • Protection from Harassment Act 1997 • European Convention on Human Rights – Articles 8 and 10 • Breach of confidence • Contempt of Court Act 1981 • Defamation Act 1996 • The Fraud Act 2006 • Data Protection Act 1998 • Advertising Standards Authority/ CAP Code Don’t forget…. Intellectual Property issues
  5. 5. Where is the law going? Interim Guidelines on Prosecuting Cases involving Communications sent via Social Media More latitude to offensive and satirical comment • Paul Chambers v DPP 2012 Prosecutions only for communications that are more than offensive, shocking, satirical or the expression of unpopular or unfashionable opinion, even if distasteful to some Civil cases: sanction for repeated publication of defamatory statements on social networking sites Human Rights Act 1998 (incorporating ECHR) – privacy and confidence versus freedom of expression
  6. 6. Opportunity Exposure for governing bodies (London 2012 was the first ‘twitter’ Games’) Interaction with fans – online communities Medium for supply of information – facts, fixtures, travel information Marketing the experience and brand
  7. 7. The Risks When [social media is] done poorly it is a complete and utter nightmare for those of us trying to manage and lead teams. It is like giving a machine gun to a monkey. Hugh Morris, Managing Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board #AskCarrick – PR disaster Unfortunate tweets can affect personal and NGB sponsorship deals Stephanie Rice – “suck on that, fa**ots!” (lost sponsorship deal with Jaguar) Steve Nash – Wow! @usairways with the worst customer service”
  8. 8. The Risks Sporting sanctions and disciplinary action at times necessary • Kevin Pieterson “man of the world cup dropped from the T20 side. It’s a f**k up” “can somebody tell me how Nick Knight has worked his way into the commentary box. “ • Azeem Rafiq “a useless wa*ker” • Ryan Babel • Fined £10,000 • Breach of FA Rule E3 (1)
  9. 9. Protecting individuals Sochi 2014 – Elise Christie “It has been our experience that when asked, service providers such as Twitter do act quickly in shutting down sites or removing offensive content.[But] I do believe service providers must be a part of the solution and probably could do more to help keep these things from happening.” BOA Darryl Seibel – February 2014
  10. 10. Managing the risks Education Solid guidance and policies in place • Do not need to be long or complicated – clarity is key • Link to disciplinary rules and disrepute clauses • Reflect the rights of free speech • specific policies for athletes, employees, members, coaches, child protection, parents (parent from hell syndrome) • Be aware what is being posted in the sport’s name • Ensure trademarks/usernames registered • Negative comments policy – PR v Legal
  11. 11. Some thoughts on education and policy content Do’s Encourage the use of social media and encourage athletes to show personality Everyone can see you (PAUSE AND THINK) Be honest, accurate, professional and polite Share sporting achievements Engage with fans – avoid inflammatory topics Promote the sport Report other posts that cause concern (do not respond) Make sure privacy settings are understood (Kevin Pieterson) and postings are permanent
  12. 12. Some thoughts on policy content… Don’ts Talk negatively about competitors, other NGBs, other organisations Comment on athlete injuries, team tactics, any information confidential to the sport/team Post during competition time Post when you are emotional or angry Give away personal info/locations (Serena Williams) Provide inside information (Tennis Integrity Unit/Ekateria Bychkova) Post or use the sport’s logo without consent Post spam
  13. 13. Websites – Issues Cookies and active consent Data Protection and marketing Compliance with DPA and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations Must make it easy to refuse unsolicited material Under the DPA: Personal Data can only be used for specified purposes Personal Data cannot be processed without consent Personal Data cannot be kept for longer than necessary Appropriate measures must be taken to safeguard personal data Must register with the Information Commissioners Office Failure to comply can lead to large fines Put in place clear policies
  14. 14. Websites – Commercial considerations Terms of use and privacy policies If an NGB sells merchandise remember laws on: Distance selling e-commerce consumer protection Blogs/online chat rooms: Liability for comments Should have content standard Remove offensive or potentially defamatory material Copyright/Tradmarks/Keywords
  15. 15. Case Study Case Study Questions
  16. 16. Hannah Clipston Partner Tel: +44 (0)23 8083 1233 Email: Leon Deakin Senior Associate Tel: +44 (0)23 8083 1233 Email: