Social Media and the Law - by Tom Cowling


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Social Media Law: Branded content, conversations and the new responsibilities of marketers online

Brands are becoming publishers, participants and distributors on the social web. What do they need to bear in mind from a legal perspective?

In partnership with Wired Sussex.

Published in: Business
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Social Media and the Law - by Tom Cowling

  1. 1. Swan Turton iCrossing, Brighton SOCIAL MEDIA & THE LAW 21 April 2010 Tom Cowling Tel: 020 7520 9561 Email: [email_address] 68a Neal Street, London WC2H 9PA
  2. 2. Lawyers are human too!
  3. 3. The Law & Social Media <ul><li>Complex, dangerous environment </li></ul><ul><li>Broad legal rights and obligations </li></ul><ul><li>Traps & pitfalls </li></ul><ul><li>Invest in knowledge & understanding: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Cohesive image and brand enhancement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduced exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harness the power of Social Media </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Competitive advantage </li></ul>
  4. 4. The Law & Social Media <ul><li>Some useful resources: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The Law and Social Media <ul><li>4 sections: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contractual Rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Laws and regulations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Third party rights </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Contractual Rights <ul><li>“ Not tonight son…!” </li></ul>
  7. 7. Contractual Rights <ul><li>Prominence & accessibility </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Home page & other </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plain English </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Dovetail where appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>3 main documents: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>T&C’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Privacy Policy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disclaimer </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. T&C’s
  9. 9. T&C’s <ul><li>Identity & contact details </li></ul><ul><li>Participation conditional on acceptance </li></ul><ul><li>Eligibility (eg 18+) </li></ul><ul><li>Term </li></ul><ul><li>Registration </li></ul><ul><li>Acceptable use </li></ul><ul><li>Right to suspend or terminate </li></ul><ul><li>Jurisdiction </li></ul>
  10. 10. Privacy Policy
  11. 11. Privacy Policy <ul><li>Date of Policy </li></ul><ul><li>Identify yourself as the Data Controller </li></ul><ul><li>Scope & nature of information </li></ul><ul><li>How is the information dealt with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Published </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moved abroad/outside of EU </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sold to third parties </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Users’ use and access rights </li></ul>
  12. 12. Disclaimers
  13. 13. Disclaimers: <ul><li>Because shit happens… </li></ul><ul><li>Part of T&C’s or, better, keep separate </li></ul><ul><li>Damage limitation you won’t regret </li></ul><ul><li>Exclude eg loss of profit, damage to reputation </li></ul><ul><li>Indemnity from user (better than nothing) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Laws & Regulations <ul><li>Data Protection Act </li></ul><ul><li>Gambling Act 2005 </li></ul><ul><li>Protection from Harassment Act 1997 </li></ul><ul><li>Racial, sexual and age discrimination legislation </li></ul><ul><li>Obscenity Publications Act 1959 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“… obscene if it is intended to corrupt or deprave persons exposed to it” </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Laws & Regulations <ul><li>The Terrorism Acts 2000 & 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Money Laundering Regulations </li></ul><ul><li>CAP Codes & the ASA </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency and Honesty </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Careful with trans-national campaigns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Consumer Protection from Unfair Commercial Practices Regulations 2008 (CPR’s) </li></ul><ul><li>Contempt of Court </li></ul>
  16. 16. Third Party Rights
  17. 17. Copyright
  18. 18. Copyright <ul><li>No Registration </li></ul><ul><li>Originality and degree of skill, labour or judgment </li></ul><ul><li>No copyright in an idea only in the expression of that idea </li></ul><ul><li>Internet ≠ copyright free! </li></ul><ul><li>Life of author plus 70 years for most works </li></ul><ul><li>Owned by creator of the work (except employees in the normal course of their employment duties) </li></ul><ul><li>Restricted acts = copying of the whole or any substantial part of a work </li></ul>
  19. 19. Copyright
  20. 20. Copyright
  21. 21. Trade Marks <ul><li>GOONER </li></ul>
  22. 22. Trade Marks <ul><li>Registration required </li></ul><ul><li>45 classes of goods & services </li></ul><ul><li>Infringement but: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>not when used to identify goods etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comparative advertising </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Use of ® or ™ symbol </li></ul><ul><li>False endorsement / Passing-off </li></ul>
  23. 23. Defamation <ul><li>Words which “ lower the plaintiff in the estimation of right-thinking members of society generally ” </li></ul><ul><li>Libel v slander </li></ul><ul><li>The rule against repetition </li></ul><ul><li>Godfrey v Demon Internet 1999 </li></ul><ul><li>Jurisdictional exposure </li></ul><ul><li>Complaints & take-down procedures </li></ul>
  24. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>Look before you leap: </li></ul>
  25. 25. Conclusion <ul><li>Invest in: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Good, robust contractual protection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Knowledge & understanding of threats </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Know what’s on your and your employees’ platforms </li></ul><ul><li>Implement take-down policies </li></ul><ul><li>Impose sanctions for breaches </li></ul>
  26. 26. TOM COWLING Tel: 020 7520 9561 Email: [email_address] 68a Neal Street London WC2H 9PA LinkedIn: