The new age of cyberbullying

There has been an increase in cyberbullying with the rise of social media. According to the Canadian government, “cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies … to repeatedly intimidate or harass others”. Federal and provincial governments have effected legislative change to make harmful cyberbullying behaviours criminal or at least provide civil remedies for those harmed. Other methods of deterring cyberbullying include education and policies implemented by social media platforms. Cyberbullying is not limited to children and teens. Similar to schools, workplaces should have policies and guidelines in place which provide for a safe environment for their employees. Continue reading

Grumpy Cat back in court

We previously reported on Grumpy Cat Limited’s big win in a copyright and trademark suit. As a recap, Grumpy Cat—the social-media-famous grimacing feline, or rather the holding company owned by her “parents”—filed a lawsuit after the defendants went beyond the scope of a licensing agreement to market a variety of Grumpy Cat-themed coffee products. According to the suit, the contract was only intended to cover bottled iced-coffee beverages called Grumpuccinos.

Though judgment was entered, the tale is not over yet. Grumpy Cat Limited recently asked the court to award it over $320,000 in costs and attorneys’ fees from the defendants, Nick and Paul Sandford of Grenade Beverages (later renamed Grumpy Beverages LLC). Continue reading

Social media activities and the appearance of bias

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to decide the question of whether a district court judge is required to retroactively recuse himself when he allegedly follows the federal prosecutors on Twitter and, within hours after denying relief to the defendants, tweeted a link to an allegedly erroneous news article with a title implying that the defendants were liable. The relevant 9th Circuit opinion here is U.S. v. Sierra Pacific Industries, Inc., which was published on July 13, 2017. Continue reading

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s my taxable Insta value after all?

In sad news for celebrities and Instagram influencers across Australia, the introduction of the so-called ‘fame tax’ as part of a raft of integrity measures announced in the 2018/19 budget means that they could end up paying higher taxes on the income and non-cash benefits earned through the commercial exploitation of their image rights.

In this article, we explore the impact of the changes on individuals who currently use a separate entity to cash in on their image rights. Continue reading

Trademarks, social media and lessons learned

On June 14, 2018, a federal trial court in New York issued a decision relating to a restaurant owner’s claim that the restaurant manager was using the owner’s trademarks on social media in violation of the federal trademark law known as the Lanham Act. The trial court denied the owner’s claim, in a ruling that provides some useful lessons to anyone who licenses a trademark. (Thousand Island Park Corp. v. Welser, 5:18-CV-117 (N.D.N.Y. June 14, 2018 (2018 WL 29803231)).) Continue reading

NLRB issues new guidance on employer policies

In the wake of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision in The Boeing Company, 365 NLRB No. 154 (Dec. 14, 2017), the NLRB has recently issued new guidance regarding employee handbook rules. The NLRB’s guidance can be found here.

In Boeing, the Board overturned its old standard, under which an employer rule violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) if a worker could “reasonably construe” it to interfere with the right to engage in protected concerted activity. Under the new standard adopted by the Board, an employer rule will only violate the NLRA if it would be reasonably interpreted to interfere with workers’ NLRA rights considering the balance between (A) the nature and extent of the rule’s potential impact on protected rights and (B) the employer’s legitimate justifications for the rule. Continue reading

GDPR, ePrivacy-Regulation and social media – What to know

In addition to several changes to existing rules on data protection, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) does also have a considerable impact on online marketing and social media, affecting in particular business models based on advertising tools such as tracking pixels, placed advertisements or social plug-ins. Continue reading

Exposed! Woman awarded $6.4m for explicit revenge photos including copyright breach

Four years after a Californian woman sued her ex-boyfriend for posting sexually explicit photographs and videos of her online, she was awarded USD $6.4 million in one the largest judgments of its kind. According to the New York Times, although the victim was successful, this case highlights the complexities of the law in this area which (like many other areas of law) lags behind technology. Continue reading

Update: U.S. State Department to collect visa applicants’ social media information

In a previous post, we addressed efforts by the Department of Homeland Security to collect certain information relating to immigrants’ use of social media for record-keeping and tracking purposes. Subsequently, on March 30, 2018, the State Department released a notice of a proposed rule that would require the collection of social media information in connection with an application for a Nonimmigrant Visa through what is called a DS-160. Continue reading

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