On May 4, 2017, the public received access to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) advisory letters to approximately 45 companies and 45 celebrities/bloggers relating to potential “endorsements” on Instagram. As a result, we now have some additional guidance on the FTC’s expectations with respect to its Endorsement Guides.… Continue Reading
Diving head first into the deep end, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”), recently decided whether a chef’s application to register “JAWS” for an online cooking channel should sink or swim. In re Mr. Recipe, LLC.
The precedential decision is useful for anyone wishing to learn more about the role that a famous trademark, such as the JAWS® film name in this case, can play in the “likelihood of confusion” analysis at the US Patent and Trademark Office.… Continue Reading
This blog recently discussed regular people who have become internet sensations through the use of social media. Chiara Ferragni, for example, started a fashion blog in 2009. She is now a multimillionaire with approximately 5,000,000 Instagram followers. Tay Zonday posted his song “Chocolate Rain” on YouTube in 2007, which led to numerous appearances on daytime and late night talk shows. Nearly a decade later, Zonday’s deep bass voice has been heard a staggering 107,000,000 times on YouTube. While social media platforms have brought individuals such as these increased attention and fame, these platforms have undoubtedly made it more difficult for … Continue Reading
The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted the final rules of Regulation Crowdfunding (the “Regulation”) on October 30, 2015. While the final rules have been adopted, they do not become effective until May 16, 2016. The Regulation is meant to expound upon Sections 4(a)(6) and 4A of the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Act”), both of which provide limited exemptions from registering securities under the Act when a company sells securities by crowdfunding. Crowdfunding occurs when a large group of investors combines resources to support a third party’s efforts to reach a goal. Crowdfunding activities have become more popular … Continue Reading
In Goodman v. Does, plaintiff Todd Goodman alleged various defamation and federal unfair competition (Lanham Act) claims stemming from postings on the website localdirtags.com, a blog, which was run by the defendant Linda Lagoy. Goodman v. Does 1–10, No. 4:13–CV–139, 2014 WL 1310310 (E.D.N.C. Mar. 28, 2014). The court noted that Goodman, who was a licensed auto mechanic and owner of an automotive and transmission repair shop in Raleigh, North Carolina, was the target of an “extraordinarily aggressive smear campaign” on the website. In addition to articles regarding Goodman’s alleged criminal record, the website included articles and comments … Continue Reading
The Ninth Circuit has extended an additional level of protection for company publications that take the form of blogs. In reference to the level of fault required to prove liability for an allegedly defamatory posting, the court explained that it is irrelevant whether a blogger is a member of an institutional press corps or a private entity.
In Obsidian Finance Group, LLC v. Cox, Nos. 12-35238 & 35319 (9th Cir., Jan. 17, 2014), the Ninth Circuit considered a defamation suit brought by a bankruptcy trustee against a blogger who falsely accused the trustee of failing to pay taxes owed … Continue Reading
In a case of first impression, the Fifth Circuit recently applied the Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitutional Heritage Act (“SPEECH Act”) to protect a blogger from a defamation-based default judgment obtained in Canada. 28 U.S.C. § 4201; Trout Point Lodge, Ltd. v. Handshoe, No. 13-60002 (5th Cir. Sept. 5, 2013).
The plaintiffs had sought to enforce the judgment in Mississippi state court, and the defendant removed the case to federal court under the Act, enacted in 2010.
The Mississippi-based defendant ran a blog ostensibly providing a forum for local residents to gather and share … Continue Reading