Grumpy Cat Almost Smiling Over Big Award

 

Grumpy Cat has a new reason to turn that frown upside-down. Though the cat is known for her sneer, she is (or rather, Grumpy Cat Limited and its/her owners are) sitting pretty on a recent jury award in California of over $700,000 for trademark and copyright infringement and breach of contract. (Grumpy Cat Ltd. v. Grenade Beverage LLC, Civ. No. 8:15-cv-02063 (C.D. Cal. Jan. 24, 2018) (jury verdict)). Continue reading

The long arm of the law

Businesses today operate in a global, borderless environment, in which social media platforms allow them to market and distribute their goods and services around the world with ease. As a result, it has become more difficult to protect and enforce a company’s intellectual property rights online. For example, an alleged infringer could circumvent a country-specific restriction to access certain material by simply changing his or her ‘virtual’ location. This is posing an interesting question for the courts, and has led to a recent Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in which the SCC ordered a worldwide injunction against a third party in order to ensure that an alleged infringer could not circumvent a national restriction. (Google Inc. v. Equustek Solutions Inc., 2017 SCC 34 (the Worldwide Injunction Decision)). Continue reading

The #MeToo Movement: When Employees Take Their Complaints to Social Media

As we are all aware, the news has been populated with stories concerning allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct, particularly in the entertainment and media industries as well as government institutions. These stories have contributed to the “#MeToo” movement, which originated on Twitter and other social media websites in late 2017 and has since become a widespread message on social media encouraging individuals to share their stories and speak out against sexual harassment and abuse.  Although its purposes are laudable, the #MeToo movement is a touchy subject for employers, who ever-more-frequently find themselves accused of sexual harassment or other misconduct on social media and must grapple with the implications of publicly aired grievances. Continue reading

Update: social media and the Anti-Terrorism Act

We have previously written about the United States District Court for the Northern District of California’s (the “District Court”) dismissal of the plaintiffs’ complaint in Fields v. Twitter, Inc. We are back to provide an update after the case made its way to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the “Appellate Court”). The Appellate Court filed an Opinion on January 31, 2018, in which it affirmed the District Court’s dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claims. Continue reading

Exposed! How to combat the sharing of harmful content on social media

Online video celebrity Chrissy Chambers has recently settled a case against her ex-partner for damages suffered as a result of his posting sexually explicit video clips online.  The terms of the settlement are confidential but this and several other high-profile cases have generated much publicity around social media platforms’ responsibility to monitor and remove harmful or abusive content.

Content can be harmful in a number of ways, such as cyberbullying, threats of violence, hate speech and even “revenge porn” (the sharing, usually on a public platform, of intimate photos or videos of a person without their consent).

Corporate reputations are delicate things and employees can be your best ambassadors, but they can also be your worst. Immediate action must be taken to see that offending material is taken down and that the offending employee is appropriately dealt with. Being seen to tolerate harmful content (or even such things as breach of copyright) is bad for business, perhaps very bad. Continue reading

Social Media, Breach of Contract, and Specific Performance

On December 20, 2017, a federal court case demonstrated how some of his own negative social media postings prevented a plaintiff from receiving the contract remedies he sought. (Luten v. R&M Performance, Inc., Civ. No. 17-02723-JMC (D. Md. Dec. 20, 2017) (2017 WL 6508994). Continue reading

LinkedIn’s Updated Terms of Service Aim to Increase Profile Visibility and Sharing

In 2017, LinkedIn made several updates to its Terms of Service – comprised of its Privacy Policy and User Agreement – to provide for new LinkedIn features and give users some choices over how their information is used.

In general, the changes revolve around new features that are intended to increase profile visibility and make it easier for users to share and connect with each other. LinkedIn permits users to opt in or out of these features to accommodate individual privacy preferences. Continue reading

Opportunity for artificial intelligence stakeholders to shape the Canada Copyright Act

Social media depends on digital technology, and the Canadian government has begun a review of Canada’s Copyright Act and provided an opportunity for public comment.

Government is reviewing the Canada Copyright Act for currency with digital technology

On December 14, 2017, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced that Parliament will undertake a review of Canada’s Copyright Act. Reviews of the Act are required every five years.  An important goal is keep Canada’s copyright framework current in light of rapidly evolving digital technology. Continue reading

Snap out of it: the resurrection of “self-destructing” social media evidence

In December of 2017, a UK inmate was freed after years in prison when deleted social media messages disproved the allegations against him.

Danny Kay was accused of rape in 2013. A key piece of evidence was a social media conversation between Kay and his accuser, in which he appeared to be apologizing for nonconsensual sex. Kay maintained that the conversation shown to the jury was incomplete, but he believed the full conversation had been deleted and could not be retrieved. Fortunately for him, a fellow inmate convinced Kay that the conversation could be recovered. Kay’s sister-in-law logged in to his account and found an archived version of the messages in just a few minutes. Mr. Kay challenged his conviction, which the Court of Appeal in London overturned, finding that the full exchange supported Mr. Kay’s version of the story. Continue reading

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