Social Media and the Law: #SMI12


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Ashley Hurst, a partner at Olswang in London, delivers his hit list on what all brands need to know to navigate the complex world of social media law. Hurst made this presentation at Social Media Influence 2012 on 12 June, 2012.

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Social Media and the Law: #SMI12

  1. 1. Social media and the law12 June 2012Ashley Hurst
  2. 2. Are twitter usersWho owns my LinkedIn account? bound by injunctions on others? Which laws Who owns my Twitter handle? apply to data Can I re-use a tweetstored overseas? outside of Twitter? Is service of Should we pre- documents moderate or post- through Twitter Should we pre-vet moderate?or Facebook valid? tweets? C a n I c o p y /p a s t e a p h o t o f r o m Howc e Ib o o anonymous internet users? F a do trace k ? 2
  3. 3. What are the legal issues?• Legal Liability• Protection of intellectual property • Copyright • Trade marks • Databases• Employment law issues• Contempt of court • Breach of court orders • Prejudicing criminal trials• Collection and use of data• Regulatory compliance3
  4. 4. Defamation I am not a cheat, Chris Cairns tells court in Twitter libel trial Josh Halliday, Tuesday 6 March 2012 16.53 GMT The former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns arrives at the high court in London . Photograph: Carl Court/ AFP/Getty Images The former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns has angrily denied allegations of match -fixing during a libel trial at the high court in London . Cairns said repeatedly "I am not a cheat " as he was cross -examined by the QC acting for Lalit Modi , the ex-chairman of the Indian Premier League . Cairns is suing Modi over what he described as an "unequivocal allegation " of match-fixing made on Twitter .4
  5. 5. Private/Confidential information 9 March 2012 Last updated at 08:28 Arrest after BPAS abortion advice service site hacked A man suspected of computer hacking is being questioned by police after the website of one of Britains largest abortion providers was accessed. The 27-year-old claims to have links to hacktivist group Anonymous. The British Pregnancy Advisory Service(BPAS) said no medical or personal information relating to women who There were claims the names of people who had received terminations would be released had received treatment had been accessed . But it took out a court injunction after details of people who requested information was compromised . Police said they were alerted to allegations that the BPAS website had been hacked on Thursday . Claims later appeared on Twitter that the culprit had accessed the names of women who had undergone terminations and was threatening to release them into the public domain .5
  6. 6. Ownership of LinkedIn/Twitteraccounts Company Sues Ex-Employee Because He Kept His Personal Twitter Account & Followers from the tweet-tweet dept Well, well, well. Look at this. Just about a year ago , we wrote a blog post questioning who "owned" a Twitter account when someone was an employee of a company and had built up a big "personal" Twitter following in that role ... but then left the company. The example we used was CNNs Rick Sanchez. That one never hit a legal conflict , but it really was only a matter of time . Venkat Balasubramani alerts us to a case in which the company PhoneDog sued a former employee because he kept his Twitter account. A couple of important points right upfront . This was not "the" PhoneDog Twitter account. The company had its own specific Twitter account . The employee in question , Noah Kravitz, simply named his account "@PhoneDog_Noah", which has become a fairly standard naming pattern among employees of certain companies -- using both the company name and their own name as part of the handle . Also, once Kravitz left PhoneDog , he switched the account to @noahkravitz. PhoneDog still sued , claiming (1) misappropriation of trade secrets , (2) interference with economic advantage ; and (3) conversion.6
  7. 7. What are the practical issues?• A consistent and integrated policy framework• Social media monitoring and moderation• Notice and take-down• Serving court orders• Identifying anonymous internet users• Crisis response7
  8. 8. Social Media ComplianceFramework Social Media Compliance Framework Corporate Social Media Policy Employment IT Policies Policies Employment Contract Employee Communications Data Security Data Retention Handbook Policy Policy Policy Employee Social Media Monitoring Policy Training Training8
  9. 9. Notice and take downPractical tips for notice and take-down letters:• The approach varies between website operators (Google and Twitter reluctant to remove defamatory material)• Look to base take down request on copyright, privacy, T&C’s instead• Consider timing – will removal stoke the hornets nest?• Use a legal letter to the legal department as well as online abuse mechanisms• Surgically remove only as necessary• Try to persuade the website operator not to tip off the user• Provide full URL links and screenshots• Keep monitoring9
  10. 10. Crisis response• Effective monitoring• Clear lines of reporting and escalation route• Training and empowering key employees to respond appropriately to online complaints• Knowing when to do nothing• Surgical removal of material• Establishing a crisis team10
  11. 11. Crisis team11
  12. 12. QuestionsFor more informationplease contact:Ashley Hurst+44 207 067 3486ashley.hurst@olswang.com6091687v2