Instant Fame and the FTC Endorsement Guides

Native advertising—or advertising that appears to match the form and function of the platform upon which it appears—and social media endorsements provide considerable opportunities for companies to strengthen their brands and reach consumers in innovative ways. More and more, “influencers” like Instagram “models,” fashion and lifestyle bloggers, “pinners,” and “vloggers” are joining the ranks of A-list celebrities in receiving substantial sums, or freebies like helicopter rides and luxury cars, to endorse products in their social media posts. Companies stand to gain sizable increases in their brand value and sales by capitalizing on the fame of social media influencers.  But they must also be careful to follow the requirements when it comes to native advertising, product placement, and endorsements. Continue reading

TTAB Blocks TM Registration for Social Networking Services

According to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), only social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn will be able to register a trademark for the service of providing an online community.

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German competition authorities initiate proceeding against Facebook

Facebook became the latest American technology company to face antitrust hurdles in Europe after the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), a competition authority, opened an investigation into whether Facebook Inc., USA, Facebook Ireland Limited and Facebook Germany GmbH abused their alleged dominant position in social networking by violating data protection laws. Accordingly, unlike other proceedings the Cartel Office’s investigation targeting Facebook is for the first time based on the potential invalidity of its terms of use pursuant to German data privacy laws. Continue reading

Internet’s ‘Hide and Seek’ Battle Continues in Canada

The anonymity of the Internet has posed many challenges to the protection of intellectual property rights. The sheer size of the population of online users and the millions of file-sharing programs and other social media outlets that exist have left IP rights holders struggling to protect their property and goodwill in the digital era. For example, the battle between protecting copyright online while simultaneously protecting the privacy rights of online users has led to interesting debates in the courts as well as new IP strategies that are currently being explored.

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Is my SnapChat really deleted?

Yes and no. SnapChat automatically deletes most messages after they have been opened or expired.  However, it warns users that the recipient may take a screenshot or use some other screen capture technology (or simply take a photo of their screen with another camera).  Our long-time readers may recall that SnapChat entered into settlement agreements with both the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Maryland Attorney General on the topic of whether messages disappear.

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Socially responsible advertising

On April 6, 2016, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority considered a complaint made against Guccio Gucci SpA regarding a video, which originally appeared on the website at  The advert featured several models dancing in a house, clothed in the apparel of the global fashion brand, and the complaint centred around the physical appearance of these models. Continue reading

Liability for friends’ defamatory statements

Liability for third-party defamatory comments on one’s personal account, whether on Facebook or another internet-based platform, is an emerging legal issue in Canadian law.

If a social media “friend” posts defamatory statements about another person on your profile, or other site, can you be personally liable to the defamed person? Do you have any obligation to actively monitor your social media existence in the face of such statements?  Are you liable for third party statements that you may not even be aware of?  Continue reading

Rise of the social media bots

As we discussed in a recent post, “Social media overload”, social media has grown exponentially over the past decade and has caused businesses to change how they operate and how they make decisions. Social media has quickly become one of the most important marketing platforms, providing a convenient way for companies to reach broad audiences. Continue reading

Adding to Glossary of Social Media Terms

We have several new readers to our blog, and we want make sure everyone is aware of our features that not only include blog posts, but also several glossaries. One of our glossaries to help our readers understand what the Marketing and Promotions employees have already discovered is our Glossary of Terms.  Here are some new terms that you may not be familiar with:

  • Vine.  Vine, a social media application owned by Twitter, allows users to record and share looping videos that are six seconds or less. A video can be a full six-seconds, or can be separate, short videos, that are compiled together into a six-second video. A user’s videos that are published on Vine can also be shared on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr or embedded onto a website. Users can also share other Vine users’ content with their Vine followers by “revining” a video, which posts Vine videos taken by users directly onto the user’s feed. Vine is used by individual users, but has also been used by numerous companies and brands to promote its products or services. See our posts that include Vine.
  • Revine – the act of sharing a Vine video with all of the user’s Vine followers. Similar to Retweet on Twitter and Share on Facebook.
  • Thunderclap. Thunderclap is a crowdspeaking platform, on which a user creates a campaign (a “Thunderclap”) and invites followers to support his campaign. The campaign message is limited to 117 character, however, the user can tell a more detailed story on their Thunderclap page. A campaign can be a link to a charity or online petition, an auction, a health PSA, a political campaign, a campaign to raise awareness regarding a certain issue, a book launch, or any other campaign. If a Thunderclap user chooses to support the campaign, the supporter allows Thunderclap access to their social media account and permission to share a message on the user’s Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr account. If the number of campaign supporters rises to a pre-determined threshold prior to the end of the campaign, then Thunderclap will “blast out” the social media messages from the supporter’s social media accounts at the same time. If the campaign creator does not recruit enough supporters by the campaign’s end date and time, no posts will be made. According to Thunderclap, the platform is not just for non-profits and social causes and can also be used by brands to connect with its audience, promote an event or product launch, or more. See our posts on Thunderclap.

You may also be interested in our other glossaries: Worldwide Glossary of Law, Glossary of Guidance, and Glossary of Social Media Sites.