FTC, Instagram Posts, and Endorsement Guides

On May 4, 2017, the public received access to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) advisory letters to approximately 45 companies and 45 celebrities/bloggers relating to potential “endorsements” on Instagram.  As a result, we now have some additional guidance on the FTC’s expectations with respect to its Endorsement Guides. Continue reading

Social media and insurance

The mining of social media and the use of big data (vast amounts of available internet data that can be analysed and exploited) by insurers to analyse consumer behaviour will change the face of insurance. The basic principles of insurance include the good faith sharing of information between insurer and insured, a pooling of good risks with bad risks, and assessing a fair premium for policyholders.  Paradoxically, regulations that require insurers to price more competitively and estimate their reserves more precisely to see that they are sufficiently capitalised are leading insurers to find ways to price insured risks more accurately. Continue reading

Crowdfunding platforms and IP enforcement

In today’s world, intellectual property owners are well aware that social media users frequently post infringing content. Companies and brand owners have developed various strategies for enforcing their intellectual property rights on social media, utilizing methods such as demand letters and takedown requests. Often there are so many infringing uses that brand owners must be strategic with their enforcement efforts by developing guidelines for the types of infringement that are worth confronting. For example, an infringer that is impersonating a company or selling counterfeit goods on social media may be worth the time and cost of enforcement measures, while a user who posts a single copyrighted image may not justify such measures. In addition, a company may decide strategically to monitor only certain social media platforms that have a broad enough popularity or impact among the public. Continue reading

Germany considers € 50 million fines for social media sites failing to remove hate speech

The German Justice Ministry has introduced a draft law that would impose fines of up to €50 million on social media companies that fail to remove hate speech and other illegal content from their platforms quickly.

The fines would be imposed whenever social media companies do not remove online threats, hate speech, or slanderous fake news. Any obviously illegal content would have to be deleted within 24 hours; reported material that is later determined to be illegal would have to be removed within seven days. Continue reading

Growth of Digital Payments on Social Networks

A recent UN study reveals that rapid growth of social networks and e-commerce platforms has driven financial inclusion, economic activity and security in practically all countries and in particular China. The report highlights that popular applications WeChat and AliPay have developed into some of the largest and most sophisticated financial ecosystems in the world. For example, AliPay was first launched in 2004 and by 2016 AliPay was processing 175 million transactions per day, and more than half through a mobile phone. Continue reading

Car websites “scraped” but only slightly dented

In Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841 (CanLII), the Ontario Court of Justice has opined on a number of points arising out of the 2012 copyright amendments introduced by the Copyright Modernization Act.

The interesting points in the decision concern

1. making a work available to the public

2. fair dealing

3. when is framing an infringement

4. when can a Web host claim to be an “information location provider” and

5. when and under what circumstances can statutory damages be reduced.

Read the full Client Alert here:

Advertising on the Internet – What Makes a Disclosure “Clear and Conspicuous”?

Increasingly, companies are turning to the internet and social media platforms to advertise their products, often by using native advertising or by providing incentives such as payments or free products to social media “influencers” (Instagrammers, Pinners, Bloggers and Vloggers, to name a few) in exchange for an endorsement.

As we have previously discussed, the FTC has issued Endorsement Guides that provide guidance on appropriate advertising on social media. The FTC has stated that advertising on social media platforms is subject to the same consumer protection laws that prohibit deceptive advertising and that advertising claims must be accompanied by “clear and conspicuous” disclosures.  For example, the FTC has stated that endorsements from social media influencers constitute advertisements that require a disclosure of the connection between the endorser and the advertiser company. If a necessary disclosure is not made or is insufficiently clear and conspicuous, companies may face enforcement action from the FTC. Continue reading

Who is Fact Checking the Fact Checkers?

With the proliferation of so-called “fake news”, companies are starting to rely on third party organizations to perform a “fact checking” function in order to distinguish between legitimate news and fake news. The fake news epidemic gained traction in the recent US presidential election.  We have previously written about the fake news problem, as well as the UK Government’s plan to tackle the issue.

While fake news began as false information disguised as legitimate news sources, the problem with fake news and the question as to what constitutes fake news is becoming more complicated and nuanced. Continue reading

Court orders ex-employee to update LinkedIn profile

A South African High Court  on March 8, 2017 reportedly gave a former estate agent five days to correct the employment information on his LinkedIn profile.

Three years after Mr. van der Schyff resigned from his position at Danie Crous Auctioneers, his profile still reflected that he was employed there. Despite two years’ worth of requests from the company to correct the information, eventually followed by a demand from its lawyer, van der Schyff refused to do so.  The company then approached the court for an order to compel the profile correction. Continue reading

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