Twitter tests new Safety Mode

Twitter is testing a new safety feature aimed at reducing unwanted interactions. As explained in a Twitter Safety blog on 1 September 2021, Safety Mode temporarily blocks accounts (Author Accounts) found by Twitter’s artificial intelligence (AI) to be sending harmful or uninvited Tweets to a user (User). Author Accounts may be automatically blocked from interacting with a User who has activated this feature if the messages from those Author Accounts use potentially harmful language (like insults) or send repetitive uninvited replies or mentions, unless the User already follows or frequently interacts with those Author Accounts. Auto-blocked … Continue Reading

Embedded Content: Copyright Infringement or Permissible Use Under the Server Rule?

The Southern District of New York recently considered whether the unlicensed embedding of a video originally posted to a social media platform constituted copyright infringement. The case, Nicklen v. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., et al., No. 20-10300 (S.D.N.Y. July 30, 2021), concerned the re-posting of a copyrighted video of a starving polar bear, taken by Paul Nicklen and posted to his social media accounts.  After Nicklen posted the video, it went viral. Sinclair Broadcasting wrote an article about the video, embedding in the article the Nicklen video. As a result of the embedding a reader of the article … Continue Reading

Promotional contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways: like, share, and follow the rule

Social media contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways have grown increasingly popular in the past few years and have become a common marketing strategy for businesses. From “like and share this post” to “tag five friends for extra entries,” contests allow businesses to promote their brand, generate leads, and engage with current and new customers. While it may be fun and games for the entrants, businesses need to be mindful of the rules regulating promotional contests.… Continue Reading

Telemedicine ads limited by Facebook

As the telemedicine industry continues to grow, especially in light of COVID-19, businesses should reconsider their policies and procedures in connection with telehealth services and user safety.

Notably, Facebook recently responded to the growing use of telemedicine by amending its policies with respect to advertisements by telemedicine companies for prescription drugs. The new policy, which according to Facebook is intended to ban the promotion of illicit drugs and unsafe substances, goes into effect on August 25, 2021.… Continue Reading

Proposed Canadian law to regulate social media companies and streaming giants

In late June of 2021, Members of Canada’s Parliament passed Bill C-10: An Act to amend the Broadcasting Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts. The Bill proposes to subject social media platforms and streaming services, collectively described in the Bill as ‘online undertakings’, to requirements similar to those imposed on traditional television and radio broadcasting companies in Canada. For example, this proposal could include requiring these companies to contribute financially to the production of Canadian cultural industries. The proposed changes aim to harness the explosive popularity of social media and streaming sites to support … Continue Reading

Social media, trademark settlement, breach of contract, and “material” violations

If you entered into a trademark settlement agreement where one party agreed not to use your registered trademark and then that party proceeded to use a very similar term on social media, is that a “violation” or a “material violation” of the agreement?  The answer is important because it determines whether you can get summary judgment on your breach of contract claim, according to a federal trial court in Florida.  (PayCargo, LLC v. CargoSprint LLC, Case No. 1:19-CV-22995-LOUIS (S.D. Fla. June 17, 2021 (2021 WL 2481867))… Continue Reading

Social media and secondary liability

On June 16, 2021, the Fifth Circuit held that social media providers cannot be held secondarily liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act (“ATA”) for aiding and abetting a foreign terrorist organization based on an individual’s acts within the United States.   Plaintiff Retana, a victim of the July 2016 shooting committed by Micah Johnson (“Johnson”) in Dallas, Texas, along with his husband (together “Plaintiffs”) sued several social media companies (“Defendants”) alleging that Defendants were secondarily liable for Retana’s injuries under the ATA because “they provided material support to Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization that used Internet services and social media platforms to … Continue Reading

“Creator Codes” aim to create a kinder social media

As influencer marketing skyrockets in importance, social media companies have taken steps to make their platforms more attractive to this new wave of advertising. One way of making platforms attractive to both users and creators is to keep the platforms free of negativity. Negativity on social media has been a major reason for users to abandon sites and can make creators hesitant to use platforms where they do not feel supported. Additionally, 2020 saw many headlines regarding misinformation, hate-speech, and lack of moderation. As advertisers boycotted platforms and calls for action grew louder, social media platforms began to look for … Continue Reading

Proposed California law to further limit settlement confidentiality

During May of 2021, the California Senate passed a law further prohibiting the use of broad confidentiality and nondisparagement provisions in agreements between a company and its employees. The new law expands on a 2018 law inspired by the #metoo movement, which banned settlement agreements preventing an employee from disclosing facts underlying claims for sexual harassment, or information about unlawful sexual harassment in the workplace. Now, Senate Bill 331, also known as the “Silenced No More Act,” aims to severely limit confidentiality and nondisparagement agreements arising out of any claim for harassment (not just sexual harassment) or discrimination in the … Continue Reading

NFTs’ nifty copyright issues

Whether you are a crypto guru or not, you have likely heard about NFTs. The three-letter acronym, NFT, stands for “Non-Fungible Token”. NFTs are the centre of attention right now because of high-profile sales, such as $70 million for digital artwork, $2.5 million for Jack Dorsey’s first tweet, and more than $230 million spent buying and trading digital collectibles of NBA highlights. Copyright issues are emerging as some artwork and tweets are being tokenized into NFTs without the copyright owner’s consent. To explore copyright in the digital space of NFTs, a basic understanding of NFTs is first … Continue Reading

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