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Infographic: The Use of Images From The Web on Your Site, Newspaper or Broadcast

We created this infographic for some of our media clients to give them a one-page cheat sheet on the analysis they need to do when trying to decide whether they can use an image from the internet in a pinch.
The infographic includes all the caveats because rarely can a legal issue be discerned down to … Continue Reading

When Online Behavior Crosses the Line – The Law on Threats, Libel and Just Being Rude

A frequent question we get is what can we do about the online posting about me?  Often times, the answer is not much.  Lawyers can only help when the online conduct crosses the line into a cognizable cause of action.  Figuring that out is the hard part.
The Threatening or Harassing Post
Is there an ex spewing … Continue Reading

Thankful I didn’t copy images, parody the Beastie Boys, use overbearing TOS or have to stand behind TheDirty

With the short Thanksgiving week, I thought we would touch on a few interesting stories developing over the last couple of weeks.
Photographer gets $1 million+ verdict from AFP and Getty for copied Twitpics
In my three part series on using images from the web for your news stories, we talked about the Morel v. Agence France-Press case. … Continue Reading

Facebook “Like” is Protected First Amendment Speech

I don’t often make predictions on legal outcomes, so when I do and I get it right, it’s worth sharing.  In May, we talked about whether “liking” a candidate would constitute protected speech under the First Amendment.  A district judge in Virginia ruled it was not.  The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed in … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media image for my story – part 3

In part one, we discussed how fair use may apply to the media’s use of social media images.  In part two, we looked at how the various sites’ terms of service come into play.  Today, we look at the one prominent case in this area and describe some best practices.
 The Agence France-Presse Twitter Case
There is … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media picture for my story? – Part Two

Last time, we looked at whether the media can use images from social media sites applying fair use to several typical situations.  Today, we look at the specific terms of service of various popular sites to see if some make it easier than others for the media to use images.
Facebook:
Plain English:  Each user allows Facebook, … Continue Reading

Can I use the social media picture for my story? – Part One

The answer is one that frustrates people the most — it depends.  In most circumstances, you run the risk of violating the copyright of the person who took the picture, so the best practice is to seek permission first (more on that in part 3).  But, let’s assume you can’t get permission — after all, … Continue Reading

Taking Legal Control of the Company Social Media Account

What happens when the employee who set up the company’s LinkedIn account leaves? Or, what happens when your outside marketing firm set up your Facebook page but refuses to give it to you because of a fee dispute?
Be Proactive
Before we talk about what to do in these situations, let’s talk briefly about how to avoid … Continue Reading

Zero tolerance gone too far: When does a Facebook comment cross the line into a threat?

Sometimes, when you read the basics of a story, it sounds so incredulous, you think “surely, there has to be more to it.”  Enter the story of 19-year-old Texan Justin Carter.   The quick headlines usually read – Texas Teen Faces Eight Years for Facebook Comment.
Unfortunately for Justin, the post was about shooting up kindergartners. … Continue Reading

Will there be an “eraser button” on social media for teens?

There are two bills (SB 568 and SB 501) working their way through the California Legislature that may require social media sites to erase the content of minors.
Oops . . . I shouldn’t have posted that.
California Senate Bill 568, which has already passed the Senate, would allow minors to request websites to remove that picture the … Continue Reading