Legal issues concerning social media & publicity


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Legal issues concerning social media & publicity

  1. 1. Legal Issues ConcerningSocial Media and Publicity
  2. 2. What is Social Media?• Refers to web-based platforms, which fosterinteraction, discussion, and community.• Examples:– Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter (networking)– Flickr, Tumblr, Youtube (photos & videos)– Blogs (articles)• Powerful publicity tool because:– Outreach– Low cost– Instantaneous– Fewer restrictions and regulations
  3. 3. • Freedom of Speech– Defamation– Sedition Act• Intellectual Property Infringement– Copyright Infringement– Trademark Infringement• MDA Guidelines– Broadcasting (Class License) Notification– Internet Code of PracticeRelevant Legal Issues
  4. 4. Freedom of Speech• Every citizen of Singapore has the right tofreedom of speech and expression.• BUT, Parliament may impose restrictions on thefreedom of speech in the interest of:– Singapore’s security;– Maintaining friendly ties with other countries;– Public order or morality;– Protecting privileges of Parliament;– Preventing defamation.(Art. 14 Constitution of Singapore)
  5. 5. • How should the Freedom of Speech beexercised in the political arena?– Conservatively• Speech perceived as dangerous will be stubbed out.– Deferentially• Government is superior to the people.• Government’s authority will be diminished if it isconstantly exposed to censure.– In an Issue-Centric Manner• Governed by facts; not assertions and emotions.Freedom of Speech
  6. 6. • Defamation actions taken to protect reputation.– Concept of government by honourable men.– False allegations threaten moral authority.– Leads to weak government and political instability.• Political speech is not privileged in Singapore.• Aggravated damages for public figures.– In Tan Liang Hong v. Lee Kuan Yew, the Court ofAppeal awarded LKY $2m in damages.• Avoid publishing material critical of apolitician’s character if no concrete evidence.Defamation
  7. 7. • Sedition Act commonly used to police rascistand anti-religious comments.• Public Prosecutor v. Benjamin Koh• Posted anti-Muslim and anti-Malay content on blog.• Sparked off over 2000 comments, with racistexchange to and fro.• Charged under the Sedition Act for promoting feelingsof ill-will and hostility between various races.• Published material must be racially andreligiously sensitive.Sedition Act
  8. 8. • Intellectual Property refers to creations of themind, such as:– Inventions (patents),– Artistic, literary, and musical works (copyright), and– Names, signs, and symbols (trademarks).• Significant risk of committing copyright andtrademark infringement in the course ofpublicity.Intellectual Property
  9. 9. • Copyright owner’s exclusive rights include:– Reproducing the work, and– Communicating the work to the public.• Right to make the work available on a network.(s. 26(1) Copyright Act)• Possibly infringing acts:– Article reproduction– Photo usage– Music usageCopyright Infringement
  10. 10. • Seek license to use copyrighted work.– Copyright is only infringed when one uses the workwithout the copyright holder’s authorization.(s. 31(1) Copyright Act)• Produce salient parts of the copyrighted work(with acknowledgment) in a critique/review.(s. 36 Copyright Act)• Provide link to copyrighted work, instead ofreproducing it.• Self-creationAvoiding Copyright Infringement
  11. 11. • “Use in the course of trade” is a necessaryrequirement for trademark infringement.(s. 27 Trade Marks Act)• If publicity is not sales-related, trademarkinfringement becomes impossible.• However, non-sales-related usage of atrademark is still subject to copyright law.Trademark Infringement
  12. 12. • MDA is responsible for ensuring that all internetcontent providers in Singapore do not broadcastcontent that:– Compromises public interest, order, or security;– Goes against national harmony; and– Offends against good taste or decency.• All political parties registered in Singapore, whichprovide content on the internet have to belicenses.(s. 3 Schedule to Broadcasting (Class License) Notification)• Internet Code of Practice applies to all licensees.MDA Guidelines
  13. 13. Internet Code of Practice• Prohibited materials include that which:– Depict nudity and genitalia calculated to titillate;– Depict sexual violence or non-consensual sex;– Depict explicit sexual activity;– Depict homosexualism, lesbianism, and unnaturalsex;– Depict detailed or relished acts of cruelty/violence;– Glorify, incite, or endorse ethnic, racial or religioushatred.(s. 4 Internet Code of Practice)
  14. 14. • How do we discharge our obligations under theCode?– By ensuring our content does not contain prohibitedcontent.– By ensuring content contributed by invited personsdoes not contain prohibited content.– By policing private discussion fora hosted on oursite/page (e.g. chat groups).– Taking down content if directed to do so.• Obligations only apply if we have editorial control.(s. 3 Internet Code of Practice)Internet Code of Practice
  15. 15. • Many issues pertaining to social media andpublicity are not strictly of a legal nature.• Non-legal issues may be just as problematic.• Explore other forms of social media apartfrom facebook.Moving Forward
  16. 16. Questions?Prepared by Natalie Yap
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