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

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, is not exactly deserving of sympathy.  Much like Playboy and Hustler pushed the boundaries of the First Amendment in the past, rumor sites like are pushing the limits of Section 230 immunity for online defamation under the Communications Decency Act.

A judge and jury in Kentucky apparently have had enough.  This week, a

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

From a legal business development standpoint, the advice is not good.  For clients, the advice can be invaluable.  Rather than wait to be attacked online and then sue, be proactive.  If the attack comes, consider fighting bank online rather than through the courts, which is usually your last resort.

Being Proactive

1.  Monitor.  You

Here is the editorial that originally ran in the December 9, 2010 Houston Chronicle:

U.S. should be cautious in going after WikiLeaks


Dec.  8, 2010,  8:29PM

Since WikiLeaks <>  dumped some 250,000 U.S. <>  diplomatic cables into the public domain, many have called for the controversial Web