On January 13, 2020, a solar energy sales lead generation company settled a federal lawsuit against several defendants, including a former employee. Both the initial complaint and settlement described the important role of social media to the business. (Solar Connect, LLC v. Endicott, Case No. 2:17-cv-01235 (D. Utah Jan. 13, 2020) (stipulated permanent injunction).… Continue Reading
Most of us are familiar with Instagram – a social media engine, primarily utilized in its all-too-familiar form of a phone application, that allows users to share images and videos of themselves or others for public viewing and potential recognition.
With the increased popularity of photo-sharing social media tools like Instagram, users have begun to wonder more about what, if any, intellectual property rights they may own to the content they publish to such sites. In a previous post, we discussed the legal implications of posting content to social media and found that the user is often the primary … Continue Reading
On March 15, 2019, a federal trial court judge ruled in favor of famous golfer Jack Nicklaus’ company in a case that may be of interest to copyright and trademark owners. (Nicklaus Cos. LLC. v. Bryan Hepler Golf LLC, No. CV-18-01748-PHX-ROS (D. Ariz. March 15, 2019) (2019 WL 1227198).)
The case began in a way that is probably all too familiar with copyright owners: photos and videos owned by the plaintiff began appearing without permission the defendant’s website and were posted by the defendant on social media sites. The plaintiff sent a demand letter to the defendant, but … Continue Reading
On February 7, 2019, a federal trial court in California ruled in favor of a social media influencer’s copyright, trademark, interference with contract, and right of publicity class action lawsuit and denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss. As a result, the social media influencer can proceed with their claims that the defendant website copied social media photos and information but removed the links used by the influencer to monetize social media pages. (Batra v POPSUGAR, Inc., No. 18-cv-03752-HSG (N.D. Cal. Feb. 7, 2019) (2019 WL 482492).… Continue Reading
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, … Continue Reading
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
Many social media sites and pages encourage people to post and share photos. This activity creates an issue where the owner of the photos has not given permission for that use, as a photographer alleged in a recent Fifth Circuit case Stross v. Redfin Corp., ___ Fed. Appx. ___ (5th Cir. Apr. 9, 2018) (2018 WL 1721749).… Continue Reading
Social media depends on digital technology, and the Canadian government has begun a review of Canada’s Copyright Act with a view to keep the copyright framework current in light of digital technology.
Written submissions are now being solicited from all Canadians on Canada’s Copyright Act, as the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology (“Committee”) conducts its mandatory five-year review of the statute. The Committee also will be considering testimony from live witnesses representing different sectors of activity, including software and telecommunications, as well as considering the views of people across Canada as it travels to various locations throughout … Continue Reading
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
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
After making headlines in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, Pepe the Frog is back in the news again. This time, for the copyright enforcement efforts that Pepe’s creator is pursuing against unauthorized uses of the character by certain social media personalities and social media forums.… Continue Reading
Human interactions with technology
In the past few years, the use of social media has increased rapidly. A key feature of social media platforms and social media apps is the ability to interact with other people in ways that were not thought possible in previous generations. With the click of a button, someone from the other side of the world can appear on a screen in front of you.
Technology and social media have not just given rise to platforms that facilitate human-to-human interaction: recently, advancements in technology have led to a rise in a new type of social relationship: … Continue Reading
In June, we introduced the topic of chatbots and highlighted some key risks and concerns associated with this growing area of technology. One business in particular, DoNotPay, made headlines recently by announcing that it would begin building legal chatbots for free.
The claim? In a July 14, 2017, posting to the online publishing platform Medium, Joshua Browder, founder of UK-based DoNotPay, writes, “Starting today, any lawyer, activist, student or charity can create a bot with no technical knowledge in minutes. It is completely free.” Sound too good to be true? To be sure, DoNotPay is not the first company … Continue Reading
The age of the Internet poses many new challenges to those individuals seeking to protect and enforce their intellectual property rights online. As the Federal Court of Appeal in Canada recently stated: “Under the cloak of anonymity on the internet, some can illegally copy, download, and distribute the intellectual property of others, such as movies, songs and writings.” (Voltage Pictures, LLC et al. v. John Doe #1 et al., 2017 FCA 97 at para. 1 [Voltage Pictures].) As a result, Canada has slowly began modernizing its copyright regime in order to allow the cloak of anonymity … Continue Reading
In Trader v CarGurus, 2017 ONSC 1841 (CanLII), the Ontario Court of Justice has opined on a number of points arising out of the 2012 copyright amendments introduced by the Copyright Modernization Act.
The interesting points in the decision concern
1. making a work available to the public
2. fair dealing
3. when is framing an infringement
4. when can a Web host claim to be an “information location provider” and
5. when and under what circumstances can statutory damages be reduced.
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
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
As of December 1, 2016, the U.S. Copyright Office will be decreasing the fees to register a “notice and takedown” agent to $6. Any website (including social media site) that accepts third party content may be interested in taking advantage of the “safe harbor” offered in the U.S., and those that have already registered an agent will need to update the registration. You can find more details on our sister blog, the Brand Protection Blog, with this article: http://www.thebrandprotectionblog.com/copyright-office-to-decrease-dmca-agent-registration-fees-by-94/… Continue Reading
While the internet has created ample opportunities for IP rights holders to exploit their intellectual property rights online, it also poses significant challenges relating to the protection of those same IP rights from would-be infringers. The internet’s global reach combined with the sophistication and anonymity of most online users has created an environment where it is becoming increasingly difficult to hold individual infringers accountable.… Continue Reading
The anonymity of the Internet has posed many challenges to the protection of intellectual property rights. The sheer size of the population of online users and the millions of file-sharing programs and other social media outlets that exist have left IP rights holders struggling to protect their property and goodwill in the digital era. For example, the battle between protecting copyright online while simultaneously protecting the privacy rights of online users has led to interesting debates in the courts as well as new IP strategies that are currently being explored.… Continue Reading
Social media platforms enable users to profit from their brand and original works such as photos, videos, articles and various “mash ups”. Their brand and content may be protected by trademarks and copyrights and users may generate thousands of postings to build an extensive intellectual property portfolio. A user may develop a popular brand for their curated content across multiple platforms such as web, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, with their creative posts generating significant goodwill and revenue. Companies pay popular users to reach target audiences instantaneously and effectively with authentic content of pictures, videos, blogs and other derivative works. This … Continue Reading
Social media channels represent an exciting medium to reach out to the public and potential collaborators. Social media can also play an important role in helping generate positive buzz for organizations seeking to develop a market for their products or services. For example, many of today’s companies gauge the depth of market interest in their products not through traditional advertising or focus groups, but rather through leveraging social media, such as communication platforms (e.g., Twitter, WeChat, Facebook), and content sharing platforms (e.g., YouTube, Vine), and crowd-funding platforms (e.g., Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundMe). Some companies are also using open, collaborative approaches to … Continue Reading
Our Top Five stories from 2015 also provide some “lessons learned” or considerations for companies who are considering using social media in 2016:
- Know what data you are collecting and where it is being transferred. Like more than 4,000 companies, Facebook had been sending member data of European citizens to the United States pursuant to the EU/US Safe Harbor. In October 2015, the European Court of Justice struck down the EU/US Safe Harbor, leaving companies scrambling to find an alternative way to send personal data from the European Union to the United States. Although the successor to the EU/US Safe
The Social Media Law Bulletin is back!
The ongoing interest of our readers as well as the increasing impact of social media led us to re-launch the Social Media Law Bulletin. We will be bringing you coverage of one or two items approximately each week, but in the meantime, we thought we would give you a brief summary of some of the most significant social media stories from 2015:
Schrems v Facebook
Facebook earned the top spot in our social media impact list, due to a court ruling that only indirectly affected it. In October 6, 2015, the European Court … Continue Reading