Tag archives: Instagram

How Animal Influencers Are Changing the Way Brands Advertise

At this point you are probably familiar with the world of social media influencers. You might follow several on Instagram, or maybe your company partners with them to promote its products. But have you realized that the most valuable influencers may not even be human? This post will focus on animal influencers – they are cute, they come in a variety of species, and they are being paid to advertise products via social media.

Why animals?

Aspiring animal influencers can rise from obscurity to fame in an instant – all it takes is one viral post. The demand for … Continue Reading

How to use social media – and the consequences if you step out of line

In South Africa, employees are under the mistaken belief that what they do in their time away from the office, specifically on social media, is private and beyond the reach of their employer’s control.

They fail to consider that they could face disciplinary action for their online rants and comments. This could be fatal to their employment. The reality is that with the escalating use of social media during working hours as well as outside of company time, employees are regularly coming under fire for what they post online.… Continue Reading

That’s My Mark! Enforcing Trademark Rights on Social Media

It is no doubt surprising and frustrating for brand owners when they find that someone has appropriated their trademarks on social media. A few of the common scenarios include:

  • small competitors modifying logos and passing them off as their own;
  • unauthorized distributors using logos and trademarks on their social media advertising; and
  • social media users registering account names that incorporate trademarks.

Pursuing the usual enforcement techniques can be difficult on social media, particularly when the identity of the infringer is unclear or unknown. The good news for brand owners is that most social media websites prohibit the infringement of another’s … Continue Reading

Recent changes to advertising on social media platforms

With millions of people walking around with their heads down on their phones, it’s no surprise that mobile advertising on social media platforms has experienced significant growth in the past 12 months. Social media platforms have been continuing to develop ad capabilities to maximize offerings for brands and growth in the social media marketing space is ever expanding. Statistics from a report commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada, however, show that marketers only spend between 2% and 8% of their total ad budget on internet video and mobile internet advertising, respectively.… Continue Reading

Social media overload

The explosion of social media in the past decade has caused a major shift in the way we conduct our affairs. In particular, businesses have been required to adapt to new ways of communicating with their clients.  At a rate of thousands of social media applications surfacing each month, and new legal issues surrounding the use of social media, it can feel overwhelming, especially for new businesses. … Continue Reading

Social Media Stars and Defamation

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

Social media stars and IP empires

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

A two pronged prescription: The FDA releases new social media guidelines

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) released two new sets of guidance regarding the use of social media to disseminate information about prescription drugs and medical devices.  This guidance supplements years of FDA warning letters and untitled letters sent to manufacturers, packers or distributors in regulated industries (each a “Regulated Entity”).  We have previously discussed the FDA letters on this blog.

In the first prong of its social media guidance, the FDA provided new “Twitter Rules.” For Internet and social media platforms with character space limitations (e.g., Twitter, Google AdWords and the paid search results links on Yahoo! and … Continue Reading

A picture can be worth a thousand links

From giant billboards on the highway to tiny pictures that can go viral within seconds, the use of social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr has revolutionized the advertising industry.

Companies can now reach their target audiences more quickly and more effectively by taking advantage of instantaneous posting of pictures and blogs. The use of social media apps that allow the quick exchange of photos to other users is rapidly growing.

Apps like Instagram are some of the top social media apps, bringing in more than 200 million active users around the world. See Twitter active users pass Continue Reading

Do you “like” it?

From clicking “like” on Facebook to the +1 button on Google+ to the “Follow” or “Retweet” buttons on Twitter, the use of endorsements in social media has exploded since 2009. “Like” buttons and retweeting are growing trends in social media.  While the use of third-party endorsement type functionality in social media has obvious benefits in marketing and advertising, the increasing use of a “like” option in social media outlets may have legal implications for businesses.

A “like” button or similar type of “like” option is a feature in social media outlets such as social networking services, Internet forums and blogs … Continue Reading

IP enforcement via takedown notices

According to a January 22, 2014 ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, an incorrectly-chosen takedown notice may constitute a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

CrossFit and its DMCA takedown notice

In Crossfit, Inc. v. Alvies, plaintiff CrossFit, Inc. brought a trademark infringement action against Jenni Alvies for content posted on Alvies’ Facebook page and Blogspot blog. CrossFit, the company that created the very popular fitness training program and training certification program, currently owns multiple federal trademark registrations and applications for the mark CROSSFIT, including in connection with fitness training services, … Continue Reading

Social media part 3: leveraging social media data analytics to improve M&A

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+,Tumblr, Slideshare…

The catalogue of popular social networking sites continues to grow as more and more consumers – both individual and corporate – sign-up by the millions.

But how can social media be used to bolster M&A?

In addition to the fairly obvious answer that social media can be used as an effective promotional and marketing tool, as noted in Part 2 of our series on social media, technology-driven analytics are quickly becoming a hallmark of companies’ M&A deal-making processes insofar as they facilitate pattern recognition and trend analysis. While this benefit is not … Continue Reading

Social media part 2: the proof is in the data analytics

Part 1 of our series on social media looked at how new technologies have started infiltrating the M&A landscape. But the question we aim to answer here is: to what end?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal considered just that, noting that new technologies – and specifically data analytic technologies – can be used at various stages throughout the M&A lifecycle as a means of bolstering deal analysis and business forecasting.

While their processes can take many forms, data analytics effectively afford companies an advanced means of aggregating, synthesizing and modeling complex information with a view to revealing … Continue Reading

Social media part 1: how technology is changing M&A

Earlier this year, the MIT Sloan Management Review published a research report summarizing the findings of its global executive study on social business. The study canvassed 2,545 respondents from 25 industries and 99 countries, all of whom were involved in corporate development decisions at their respective organizations. The aim of the study was to determine how new technologies have taken hold, where such technologies are going, and how such technologies may impact M&A in the coming years.

In an interview for the report, Gerald Kane, professor at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, had the following to say … Continue Reading

Corporate Governance: Cyber Security Issues (Part II)

There are three distinct aspects of cyber-security that should be addressed by directors: prevention, detection and, if a company is publicly traded, disclosure to the Securities and Exchange Commission.  Part I of our posting addressed prevention and detection matters. This Part II addresses disclosures and some questions to consider.

Disclosure

Public disclosure of a security breach is not mandated by securities laws, although it may be required by other state or federal laws. The Securities and Exchange Commission said the following in 2011:

 Although no existing disclosure requirement explicitly refers to cybersecurity risks and cyber incidents, a number of disclosure … Continue Reading

Corporate Governance: Cyber Security Issues (Part I)

The use of cloud computing, mobile devices and social media add significant corporate risks beyond the traditional security risks arising from networks, databases and e-mail.  A cyber security breach can cause serious operational disruptions, create financial costs and damage a company’s brand and reputation.  As part of risk management, a company’s board of directors should proactively identify, delegate and monitor the security risks presented by networked businesses.  Numerous studies have concluded that directors are lagging in anticipating and preparing for cyber security risks. Boards Are Still Clueless About Cybersecurity, Jody Westby, Forbes.com, dated May 16, 2012.

While directors are … Continue Reading

Social media companies adopt alternative patent models

Social media companies are increasingly involved in patent lawsuits and frustration is setting in. Hoping to inspire change within the industry, a number of companies have adopted alternative patent policies. While these alternative models are based on the social good of sharing innovation with a promise to use patents only as a defensive shield and not as an offensive weapon, they may raise a host of unanswered questions.

Many social media and computer technology companies, as well as so called “patent trolls” or non-practicing entities, have large patent portfolios covering core aspects of social media and online user interactions. Companies … Continue Reading

Shared Social Media Accounts

A court in the Eastern District of Texas recently held that two companies were “integrated employers” under the Family Medical Leave Act, in part, because the two companies shared a Facebook page. Dooling v. Bank of the West, No. 4:11-cv-00576 (E.D. Tex. July 17, 2013) (Bush, Mag. J.).

This conclusion allowed the plaintiff to establish her status as an eligible employee under the FMLA because both companies combined had more than 50 employees.

Our readers may be aware that the concepts of joint employer, integrated employer, co-employer or dual employer can arise in other areas. In the workers’ compensation … Continue Reading

The Rise of the #Hashtag

Every day, hundreds of millions of people use social media to share their thoughts about everything that is happening around them. The most popular social media sites do not have simple ways to search for and organize content, so users turned to the hashtag to solve the problem. Hashtags are words or phrases prefixed with the hash sign (#) and provide a means of grouping messages together. When you click on a hashtag (e.g. #socialmedia), you can see what other people are saying about that particular topic. When a hashtag becomes extremely popular, it can “trend” and attract more individual … Continue Reading

Copyright Safe Harbor for Third-Party Content

Title II of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor for online service providers that allow users to self-post content. For companies with Web 2.0 enabled sites, 17 U.S.C. § 512(c) limits liability “for infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user.”  But this safe harbor provision only applies where the provider acts to remove copyrighted material from its site upon being informed of it. This post discusses the DMCA and its implementation.

The DMCA limits liability to service providers even if they have actual knowledge of infringing activity.  But copyright … Continue Reading

Social Media Service, Minors, and Photos

On July 10, 2013, U.S. Representative John Duncan (R-Tenn.) and co-sponsor Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced H.R. 2645, the “Forbidding Advertisement Through Child Exploitation Act of 2013.”

The stated purpose of this short bill is to “prohibit providers of social media services from using self-images uploaded by minors for commercial purposes.”

Under the bill, a “social media service” is defined as “any online service that allows an individual to upload, store, and manage personal content in order to share the content with other individuals.”

Section 5 of the bill also defines the key term “self-image” as:  “with respect to … Continue Reading

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