Facebook’s California Choice-of-Law Provision Rules the Day

On January 9, 2017, the Northern District of California granted Facebook’s motion to dismiss for claims brought under New Jersey’s Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty, and Notice Act (“the TCCWNA”). In Palomino v. Facebook, Inc., a putative class of New Jersey residents challenged Facebook’s Terms of Service, which, among other provisions, require users to waive potential claims for misconduct such as deceptive and fraudulent practices. Plaintiffs argued that this violated two provisions of the TCCWNA that prohibit such waivers.  The case was resolved before advancing to the merits. Continue reading

NLRB Reviews and Approves Northwestern University’s Revised Football Handbook Social Media Policy

On January 1, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) released an advice memorandum (dated September 22, 2016) that reviewed and approved Northwestern University’s revised Football Handbook’s social media policy. The NLRB Office of the General Counsel, which prepared the advice memorandum, was asked to advise whether the university’s Football Handbook policies, including its social media policy, were lawful. Continue reading

Tort claims may be adapting to a world of social media

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled, on January 18, 2017, on a defendant’s motion to dismiss replevin, conversion, and trespass claims related to the misuse of various domain names and social media accounts.  Salonclick LLC d/b/a Min New York , 16 Civ. 2555 (KMW), 2017 WL 239379 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 18, 2017).

The plaintiff in the case (“Plaintiff”) operated a business that manufactured and sold a variety of grooming products, including hair and skin care products. The Plaintiff used various domain names and tag lines in its business, including www.newyorkheart.org and a corresponding Facebook page, which spoke out against ivory poaching. The social media page was used, in part, to promote the company as a socially responsible business. Continue reading

Risks of unlawful social media content: changes in UK defamation landscape and what you need to know

A carefully curated social media presence is a critical business requirement, but there are risks. One of these risks is unlawful content – be that unlawful content posted to your businesses’ own social media account (exposing the company to potential liability) or harmful content about your business (or its C-Suite or key personnel) posted on independent sites.

So how do you tackle unlawful content? Often the first point of call is the law of defamation. The UK is renowned as a claimant friendly jurisdiction for defamation litigation. With its widely respected court system and judiciary, the UK has been the forum of choice for international defamation disputes. Note that the rules have recently been tightened up with stricter thresholds brought in for defamation actions and a requirement, aimed at stopping “libel tourism,” that for claims against non-EU defendants the UK must be the “most appropriate place” in which to litigate (the Defamation Act 2013). Continue reading

Liability for Hyperlinks: German Court Increases Responsibility of Website Operators

The Regional Court of Hamburg recently applied for the first time the new decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) regarding the liability for hyperlinks and further increased the risks and responsibilities for social media website operators.

The EU Court Decision

The CJEU held in September 2016 that using a hyperlink may constitute an infringement of copyright law, if (a) the linked website to contains infringing content, (b) the hyperlink was provided with the intent to realize profits and (c) the person providing the link did not review the content on the linked website. Continue reading

The edit button: can the past be erased?

Social media users have a new demand for 2017 – they want the ability to edit their public messages. Spelling mistakes, missing words and misplaced pronouns can have embarrassing, unintended and sometimes dangerous consequences.  The ability to edit one’s message is an attractive feature.  This request has led some users on the social media platform Twitter to ask its CEO when an edit function would be introduced. Continue reading

FDA Proposes New Research on Social Media Promotion of Prescription Drugs

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) regulates the use of social media to disseminate information about prescription drugs and medical devices. Our blog previously covered the social media guidance released by the FDA in 2014, and a sampling of Warning and Untitled Letters that the FDA has issued to drug manufacturers advertising on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

Our firm sister blog, Health Law Pulse, covered last year’s controversy surrounding Kim Kardashian’s Instagram post that endorsed the morning sickness drug Diclegis® without including relevant risk information in the text of her post. After the manufacturer of Diclegis® received an FDA Warning Letter, Kim posted a corrective ad stating the risk information associated with that drug. Continue reading

President Obama signs the “Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016”

On Thursday, December 15, 2016, President Obama signed into law H.R. 5111, now officially titled the “Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016.” The substantive provisions of the bill, which we discussed in a previous post, are virtually unchanged, but the law’s text provides further details regarding enforcement by the Federal Trade Commission and the states.

One noteworthy enforcement feature of the law is a cross-reference to the Federal Trade Commission Act. A violation of the Consumer Review Fairness Act of 2016 by offering a form contract containing a provision described as void in the law is also a violation of 15 U.S.C. 45(a)(2), which essentially prohibits unfair or deceptive acts or practices. Continue reading

Fact Or Fiction: The Fake News Problem

In the few months leading up to the United States election, social media was flooded with articles with sensationalized titles and incendiary content. Many of these “news” stories were fake. They were written for the purpose of swaying public opinion or generating a profit from ad revenue and were often published by sham entities or news websites. Large, popular companies may be the next targets, so this post will describe a few actions companies could take. Continue reading

Social Media, Copyright, and Blockchain

Social media has changed how people and companies interact and has provided us with some technological innovations that have raised copyright issues. In an effort to keep our readers informed of some recent developments involving social media, we wanted to provide some background relating to some headlines combining social media, copyright, and blockchain, and we will provide some clarifications and explanations. Continue reading

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