To our Social Media Law Bulletin subscribers

Our Social Media Law Bulletin team has been contributing articles on legal issues in social media since 2012.

The blog has gained a reputation for timely and substantive content. We appreciate your interest and the topical discussions that have resulted from the blog. As of March 6, 2015, however, the social media blog will become inactive.

The blog will remain searchable and our writers will continue to cover social media on our other popular blogs in Norton Rose Fulbright’s blog network.

We encourage you to visit and subscribe to any of these blogs for continued social media updates:

Best regards,

Sue Ross, Chief Editor

UK MPs consider social media terms & conditions too complex

A recent report by the Science and Technology Committee (a UK parliamentary select committee) on the Responsible Use of Data (the Report) concludes that online terms and conditions for the use of social media platforms are unnecessarily complex and may not serve their intended purpose of obtaining informed consent from a user for the right to process personal data. Continue reading

Who owns your Instagram content?

You do (at least as between you and Instagram—your employer may have ownership rights in certain situations)!  Instagram does not claim ownership of any content that you post.

You do grant Instagram very broad license rights:  a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use content that you post. This license grant means that you have given Instagram the right to use any of your photos for free, for any reason, anywhere in the world. Instagram can also give those rights to a third party. Continue reading

The “Uber” rise of peer-to-peer sharing

Social media has changed the way we do business by connecting us online to buy goods and services from each other. This has resulted in the rise of “peer-to-peer” sharing apps and websites that connect people to share goods and services, such as transportation and accommodation, among other things. Companies that create these apps – such as Uber and Airbnb – have recently attracted considerable attention worldwide.

Just last month Uber reported a valuation of $40 billion, which is more than the current annual revenue of the taxi and limousine market. Airbnb’s reported valuation is expected to exceed $10 billion. It is no surprise that these high price tag “sharing economy” firms are gaining international recognition. Continue reading

Guidelines relating to social media

In addition to laws and regulations, as well as the terms and conditions posted by the social media sites themselves, regulators and trade associations sometimes offer companies guidance to help them comply with requirements, best practices, and principles.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Social Media Law Bulletin is proud to offer a Glossary of Guidance documents listing various references attributed to social media issues. Some are general guidance by subject matter (such as the FTC’s guidelines on the use of endorsements) and others can be very industry-specific (the FDA, FINRA, and the SEC have each issued social media guidance).  The Glossary includes links to our respective blog posts on the documents.

Take a look at our Glossary of guidance section for more information and topics of these document.


Sue Ross ( +1 212 318 3280) is a lawyer in Norton Rose Fulbright’s US commercial disputes practice.

Legal blogs and protected speech

In Huon v. Breaking Media, LLC, the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois held that federal law protects internet publishers from defamation claims based on content posted by commenters to online news stories (See Memorandum Opinion and Order, No. 1:11-cv-03054 (Dec. 4, 2014)).

In Huon, the plaintiff sued the popular online legal blog Above the Law (among other internet publishers). Above the Law had posted an article concerning the plaintiff’s arrest and trial related to sexual assault charges. The article generated over 100 comments, some of which the plaintiff claimed were defamatory, and the plaintiff sought to hold Above the Law liable for publishing those comments. Continue reading

Legal considerations for social network APIs

An application programming interface (API) is a library or structured set of software tools that provides an interface to a backend software platform, such as a social networking platform, without providing direct access to the underlying source code of the platform.

For example, Facebook™, Twitter™, Instagram™, LinkedIn™, Google Plus™, and Tumblr™ offer APIs so that developers can interface with their social networking platforms, resulting in widespread development of various social network based software applications. Continue reading

Consumer confusion with marketing on social media

Social media often serves as a powerful mechanism that trademark owners can employ to promote and expand their brands, but a case currently pending in the Southern District of California illustrates just how easily social media can also be used to spread consumer confusion.

In Faegin v. LivingSocial, Inc., No. 14CV00418-WQH-KSC, 2014 WL 5307186, at *1 (S.D. Cal. Oct. 15, 2014), the plaintiffs operated a residential and commercial cleaning service in San Diego called A.T. Your Service Cleaning and Janitorial. Continue reading

WhatsApp your contract

“This post discusses an interesting case in South Africa involving contract amendments via e-mail and other electronic platforms.”

A recent court decision, Spring Forest Trading v Ecowash, potentially allows contracting parties to sign their contracts by way of a data message (which includes emails and other communication platforms such as WhatsApp, BBM and social media) by typing their name at the end of a message. In the case, the contract was subject to a non-variation clause stating that no variation or consensual cancellation would be valid unless reduced to writing and signed by both parties. An email signed “Greg” was held to be a signed document. Continue reading