Your SlideShare is downloading. ×
Dr. Robert Sprague - Research
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5

Thanks for flagging this SlideShare!

Oops! An error has occurred.

Saving this for later? Get the SlideShare app to save on your phone or tablet. Read anywhere, anytime – even offline.
Text the download link to your phone
Standard text messaging rates apply

Dr. Robert Sprague - Research


Published on

The changing face of communication law in the rise of social media. …

The changing face of communication law in the rise of social media.

From Saturday's Session 2 of UGA Connect.

Published in: Business, Technology

1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total Views
On Slideshare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

Report content
Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

No notes for slide


  • 1. What does research tell us? What research is needed? Robert Sprague Assistant Professor University of Wyoming College of Business Connect. Public Relations & Social Media Conference University of Georgia Grady College October 19-20, 2007
  • 2. So many issues. So little time.
    • Employees fired for blogging
    • Employers using Google to screen applicants
    • Defamation and Reputation on the Internet
    • Copyright violations on YouTube
    • Bloggers as journalists
    • Deep linking
  • 3. Public Relations & Social Media
    • Legal issues
      • Commercial speech
      • Deceptive trade practices
      • Liability for content
  • 4. Commercial speech
    • Commercial speech is granted limited constitutional protection
      • Subject to regulation
        • Time, place, and content
    • What is commercial speech?
      • Never really defined by the courts
      • But, courts “know it when they see it”
  • 5. Commercial speech doctrine
    • Originally used to help communities restrict/prevent door-to-door peddlers
    • Traditional concept
      • Communication to propose a commercial transaction
        • I will sell you “X” product for “Y” price
    • Concept has been expanding
      • Statements encouraging a future economic transaction
  • 6. When is a blog a commercial site? Journalist: They gather, select, and prepare, for purposes of publication to a mass audience, information about current events of interest and concern to that audience. GM’s FastLane blog is a forum for GM executives to talk about GM’s current and future products and services
  • 7. Walmarting Across America
    • Oops!
      • Should Richard Edelman have known better?
    • Desire to control the message
      • blends independence with commercial backing
        • Is this deceptive?
  • 8. Deceptive speech
    • Commercial speech doctrine allows the government to prohibit deceptive speech
    • An act or practice is deceptive under federal law if there is a representation or omission of material information that is likely to mislead consumers
      • A representation or omission is material if it is likely to affect consumers’ choice of, or conduct regarding a product
  • 9. Buzz marketing
    • Buzz marketing is a major area of concern
    • The FTC is particularly concerned with “sponsored” consumers
    • Is it deceptive to fail to disclose that a marketer is paying a sponsored consumer to make claims to other consumers about the marketer’s product?
    • Consumers may reasonably give more weight to statements that sponsored consumers may make about their opinions or experiences with a product based on their assumed independence from the marketer
  • 10. No definitive guidelines
    • FTC has declined to issue specific guidelines
      • Will make determinations on a case-by-case basis
      • Where there exists a connection between the endorser and seller of the advertised product which might materially affect the weight or credibility of the endorsement, such connection must be fully disclosed
        • Must there be an “advertisement?”
  • 11. Buzz marketing on the Internet
    • Fake peers
    • Hidden sponsors
    • Pay-to-post
    • Sock puppets
    • Sponsored consumers
    • Assume FTC approach to “traditional” buzz marketing will apply to blogs and social media
    • Sock puppets will be illegal in the EU in 2008
  • 12. Commercial speech and new media Is Marié engaged in deceptive trade practices? Marié Digby Pop / Rock / Alternative Los Angeles, California United States Profile Views:  157788 Last Login:  9/22/2007                               
  • 13. Defamation
    • Another restriction on speech
    • A false statement that harms an individual’s reputation in the eyes of the community
      • Accusations of dishonesty, criminality, adultery
    • Historically, publishers have been held immune from liability arising from third party content
      • Bloggers assume they are immune from liability for linking to outside content
  • 14. New trend in publisher liability
    • What are the risks?
    • Courts are beginning to differentiate between “provider” and “publisher”
      • A provider merely reproduces material without alteration
        • Immunity preserved
      • New view of publisher
        • Making editorial decisions
        • Growing risk that minor editing of third party content may destroy immunity
  • 15. New areas of research?