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Blog 2018-08-01T20:35:52+00:00

Will Using a Social Media Hashtag Really Make You Legally Liable to Delta Airlines (or Any Company for that Matter)?

It appears that on or about December 20, 2017 Delta Airlines updated their SkyMiles Program Rules to include a section entitled "User-Generated Social Media Image Rights" whereby you would grant a very broad license for use of your image simply by using [...]

Facebook Branded Content Policy Update March 30 2017

Facebook Branded Content Policy Update - March 2017 On March 30, 2017, the Facebook Branded Content Policy was quietly updated (again). The most significant change is that now only Pages or profiles with access to the Branded Content Tool (BCT) are permitted to post branded [...]

Facebook Branded Content Policy – Update

On October 26, 2016, the Facebook Branded Content Policy was quietly updated. The most significant change was the addition of Verified Profiles to those who can use the Branded Content Tool. But there are a few small changes to the original policy, which [...]

How Free Speech and Social Media Fit Together

You’ve heard it or have seen it posted… Someone saying they can say whatever they want, post whatever they want and no-one can do anything to them. As if the First Amendment is their sword and shield. And you can’t do anything [...]

By | October 18th, 2016|Categories: Blogging, Business Law, Social Media|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

Legal Lesson From the Ruth’s Chris Ann Arbor Promotion Debacle

On Friday, October 7, 2016, the Ruth's Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor Michigan shared a promotion on its Facebook page regarding the Michigan vs. Rutgers game. The promotion stated that whatever the point difference in the final score of the game [...]

Canada Rolls Out FTC-style Endorsement Guidelines Beginning 2017

While the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has, over the past several years, slowly ramped up its enforcement of non-disclosure for paid (or otherwise compensated) endorsement by bloggers, influencers, and celebrities, their enforcement and oversight is limited to the US. And [...]

Sweepstakes Law: What is Equal Dignity

Note: While much of this article is applicable outside of US laws, only US laws and regulations are addressed. While social media platforms have reduced the barriers of running a sweepstakes, contest, or 'giveaway', they've raised the bar on how much entrepreneurs, marketing [...]

Facebook Branded Content: What Marketers and Influencers Need To Know

UPDATE: On October 26, 2016, Verified Profiles were added to the Facebook Branded Content Policy, allowing those with a Verified Profile to utilize the Branded Content Tool. Throughout April (2016), the new Facebook Branded Content Policy was introduced to allow those with a Verified [...]

Avoiding Copyright Infringement When Sharing Other People’s Work

Some people like to call it ‘content curation’. Really, it’s just a fancy way to say you want to share work that is not yours. In theory, this sounds like a really nice thing, sharing someone’s work and giving them an audience [...]

FTC Native Advertising Rules and Guidelines In Plain English

Native advertising rules were released by the Federal Trade Commission as many businesses started to wind down in preparation for the Christmas holiday. Without fanfare, the FTC issued its newest enforcement policy. Clearly aimed at native advertising, the Enforcement Policy Statement on [...]

Legal Considerations of Cause Marketing

While many of us incorporate giving throughout the year, many businesses get in the giving spirit around holidays. It's awesome to visit clients who have donation boxes, angel trees, adopt-a-family boards, and other charitable programs for their employees to support. And who [...]

Legal Ins and Outs of Live Streaming in Public

Live streaming has been around for a number of years. But until Meerkat and Periscope we didn't have a very portable way to live stream video. There was Google Hangouts, which is a live streaming service, but the mobile app didn't really make [...]

6 Key Takeaways From 2015 Update to the FTC Endorsement Guides FAQs

For the first time since they were first written in 2009 (and made public in 2010), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has updated its "What People Are Asking" page, which is a Q&A-type resource relating to the FTC Endorsement Guides and related [...]

Trademark Basics Explained In Plain English

  Trademark law is a complex web of federal laws dating back to 1870. Trademark law covers words, phrases, logos, sounds, colors, and other ways businesses want to set themselves apart from their competitors and others in the marketplace. With the expansion [...]

Contests and Sweepstakes Law: 6 Mistakes You Are Probably Making And How To Fix Them

Contests and sweepstakes are powerful marketing tools. Whether it's a blog, website, or social network there is no shortage of people or businesses wanting to give things away to their community. And why not, people like to win free stuff. When it [...]

Facebook Update – Like Gating For Promotions To End November 5, 2014

Update for Facebook Promotions Running your sweepstakes or contest on Facebook may look different come November 5, 2014. In announcing updates to the Graph API, Facebook Software Engineer Harshdeep Singh included the Platform Policy changes in a post on the Facebook Developer [...]

The Difference Between Copyright and Trademark And Why You Need to Know

It's not uncommon to find a news article that misuses copyright and trademark, as if they are interchangeable. Sometimes, even lawyers misunderstand their differences. But you don't have to make their same mistakes. I'm here to help explain the difference between copyright [...]

Your Marketing Promotion Hashtag Is Not Appropriate FTC Disclosure

FTC Disclosure Regardless of the social network, hashtags (the # symbol for those who may not be sure what I'm talking about) are an important way to communicate additional information. Originally created so users can search topics, hashtags are now integral to [...]

Who Owns The Oscars Photo That Broke Twitter

Oscar Photos By now you've likely seen the above photo. The one Oscars host Ellen DeGeneres posted to her Twitter account during the 2014 Oscars telecast. You know, the one taken with the new Samsung phone as part of the big sponsorship [...]

Pinterest Giveaway Rules: Updated

  In response to questions and uncertainty about using Pinterest to run giveaways, Pinterest has issued an update to its Pinterest for Business Brand Guidelines and Acceptable Use Policy. While the Brand Guidelines are specifically for business users, the Acceptable Use policies apply [...]

Legal Implications of Facebook Promotion Guidelines

On August 27, 2013, Facebook made sweeping changes to its Promotion Guidelines for Businesses. It's been over 2 years since the last updates to the Facebook Promotion Guidelines. The changes today may significantly change how businesses run promotions on the social network. [...]

By | August 28th, 2013|Categories: Facebook, Giveaways, Social Media|Tags: , , , |28 Comments

2013 FTC Dot Com Disclosure Updates and What They Mean For Marketers

FTC Disclosure and Online Marketing On March 12, 2013, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released the long-awaited Dot Com Disclosures. The FTC Dot Com Disclosures guide provides guidance for online and mobile advertisers. Last released in 2000, the internet back [...]

5 Legal Considerations For Your Pin It To Win It Promotion

Pinterest is one of the most popular social networking platforms, especially for people who are visual. Pinterest is currently the fastest growing social network, and if you're on it you know why. If you're not on Pinterest, you may not understand all [...]

By | December 10th, 2012|Categories: FTC Disclosure, Giveaways, Social Media|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Pinterest Promotion and Marketing Guidelines (Updated)

On Wednesday, November 14, 2012, Pinterest updated its Terms of Service (TOS) for both businesses and individuals as well as adding several other guidelines relating to how the site is used. Specifically, I'd like to address the Promotion and Marketing Guidelines. Pinterest now [...]

By | November 27th, 2012|Categories: FTC Disclosure, Giveaways, Pinterest, Social Media|Tags: , |4 Comments

How To File A DMCA Takedown Notice

Is a DMCA takedown notice always the way to go? One of the most common questions I'm asked has to do with what to do when someone takes content, whether written, images, audio or video. Copyright infringement in the online, digital, and [...]

Tax Tips For Bloggers

  Every week I get a few emails from bloggers or online professionals asking me questions about taxes. Most of them are the same questions again and again. Because I can't answer fact-specific questions individually without potentially creating an attorney/client relationship, I [...]

By | February 2nd, 2012|Categories: Blogging, Business Law|Tags: , , , , |51 Comments

Sweepstakes, Contests, and Giveaway Laws Bloggers and Brands Need to Know

  More and more I'm seeing giveaways that may not be fully compliant with federal or state laws governing giveaways. Whether online or off, there are a host of laws that every contest holder must follow or risk significant fines or, in [...]

Law and Etiquette for Using Photos Online

  Most SEO experts suggest using at least one photo in every blog post. From an aesthetic perspective, it's a good idea, especially when the photo has something to do with the content. Photos and images are especially important for food blogs. And, [...]

Facebook Promotion Guidelines

UPDATE: Facebook changed their promotion guidelines on May 11, 2011. This post reflects information regarding promotion guidelines prior to that date. I have provided an update to Facebook promotion guidelines. Technically, Facebook promotions and giveaways are not a legal issue. However it [...]

Contract Law Basics In Plain English

Monetization, ad-sponsored content and conference sponsorship discussions have become more and more prevalent among the blogging community. I’ve noticed that the issue of contractual obligations has started to come up. Throughout the twitter stream I see pleas for sponsorships, giveaway donation, reviews [...]

By | March 18th, 2011|Categories: Blogging, Business Law|Tags: , , |13 Comments

What Type of Business Should I Form?

  If you’ve been blogging for any time, you’ve probably come across people who have talked about incorporating yourself/your blog.  Blogging as a business is not a new phenomenon.   Making money from blogging, however, is becoming a reality for more and more [...]

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