Category Archives: Social Media

The Case of the Monkey Selfie

Here’s the story: back in 2011, this monkey gets hold of a photographer’s camera (there are multiple versions of how the monkey actually got the camera, so we will just state the fact we do know for certain – it ended up with the camera) and starts snapping pics of itself. The owner of the camera, David Slater, claims a copyright in the resulting photos and demands that Wikipedia take them down. So, who owns the pic? The owner of the camera, or the photographer (regardless of species) who actually took the picture? Copyright 101 – the creator of the …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Congress Acts to Ban Gag Clauses in Consumer Contracts

There is not a lot that all members of the U.S. Senate can agree on these days, but protecting the ability of consumers to write reviews of businesses is apparently an issue on which there is unanimity. First some background. From Yelp, to TripAdvisor, to Angie’s List, no one can deny the impact “ratings” websites have had on businesses (including lawyers). It is often the first – and sometimes the last – place consumers go before making a purchasing decision. For this reason, businesses have a long history of attempting to prevent consumers from posting potentially negative reviews on ratings …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

How Does Your Terms of Service Agreement Rate?

Online terms of service agreements are the rarely-read but often-mocked daily annoyance of Internet users worldwide.  A large (literally) barrier to the immediate gratification of access to online content, most of us are guilty of blindly clicking “I accept” when prompted.  We do this, often with a very limited understanding that in exchange for “businesses giv[ing us] these fantastic services, Google Search, Facebook and many other things, for free[,]” we give those businesses information they then commercialize by, for example, selling to advertisers.  Often unknown to us is exactly what information we are giving, who is seeing it, or how …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Do You Have The Right To Be Forgotten?

Most of us want to be remembered. But, depending on their past, some people want to be forgotten – or at least they want some of their past deeds to be forgotten. But do you have a right to be forgotten? In the United States, the answer is . . . “maybe, depending on where and how old you are.” If you’re in Europe, it appears that there is a growing consensus that the answer is “definitely.” The cross-continent debate started in 2010, but it has recently heated up. In order to understand the arguments, some background is helpful. European …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Why Social Media Matters

The Internet changed everything; Social Media has changed the Internet, and therefore everything. Not many born before 1990 would argue with the assertion that, in our lifetime, the Internet has changed just about everything. Here are a few examples: Postal mail (“snail mail”) is well on the way to obsolescence. The United States Postal Service projects that First-Class Mail will decline by 35% by 2020. All types of mail (including junk mail) will decline by 30%. The number of print newspaper readers is falling like a rock, and the industry is in serious crisis, indicated by bankruptcy filings, interested sellers …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Posted in Social Media \ 1 Comment

Can I Use That Cool Video on YouTube? (Part II)

This is the second part of a two-part article (Part I is here) to try to help folks answer a common question: “I found this great clip on YouTube, and it [fill in the blank: “is really funny” or “really illustrates my point well” or “works really well in my presentation]. Can I use it?” It’s not a really easy question to answer, even in context. In the abstract, it’s even harder. But, as pointed out in Part I, there are essentially three main sources to which people can look when considering the answer to the “Can I Use It?” …

[ CONTINUE READING ]

Can I Use That Really Cool YouTube Video? (Part I)

A question I get fairly often is: “I found this great clip on YouTube, and it [fill in the blank: “is really funny” or “really illustrates my point well” or “works really well in my presentation]. Can I use it?” Many people more or less blindly assume that, if a video has been posted on YouTube (or otherwise on the Internet) and you have some purpose for which you want to use it, it’s fair game. But it’s not that simple. In reality, the answer to the question of “Can I use it?” is really: “It depends.” This is not …

[ CONTINUE READING ]