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Monthly Archives: July 2014

Athletes and Social Media

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that another athlete has got in trouble using social media. This time it is Shaquille O’Neal who is being sued for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and general negligence. The lawsuit stems from an Instagram “selfie” that Shaq took in which it appears that he is mocking Jahmel Binion’s “selfie.”  Binion suffers from a rare genetic disorder that affects his facial features. Shaq latter apologized to Binion for his actions; however, that has not prevented the lawsuit from going forward. Trey Burke and rapper Waka Flocka have also been named in the suit.

Shaq is not the first nor will he be the last athlete to run afoul of social media. CNNSI has a top 18 countdown of “athletes” who got in trouble for their actions on Twitter.

Facebook for $12 a month

In case you needed it, here is one more example of social media’s growth and influence in society.  Sprint is now offering subscribers a wireless plan that only connects to social media providers.  For around $12 a month, subscribers have the choice of using their phone to connect to Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter.  For an additional price, the subscriber can connect to all four.

To read more about the plans go here.

Facebook Challenges Government Search Warrants in Police Disability Case

Here is an interesting article that chronicles the legal efforts of Facebook to safeguard the information of its users from intrusive government searches.

 Looking for evidence of disability fraud, the district attorney for Manhattan (New York County), in July 2013 obtained 381 search warrants, supported by a 93-page affidavit, and served them on Facebook as part of a long-term investigation into a massive scheme. 

The search warrants were “sealed,” which means they were not made public. The grounds for the warrants were that posts, photos and other information could provide ample evidence of activity that would show that those being investigated were not disabled. 

Ultimately, 106 former New York police and firefighters were arrested, which The New York Times reported in January 2014. They were accused of having been 

“…coached on how to fail memory tests, feign panic attacks and, if they had worked during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to talk about their fear of airplanes and entering skyscrapers, prosecutors said. And they were told to make it clear they could not leave the house, much less find a job.” 

Facebook previously had filed an objection to the search warrants, claiming they were in violation of the 1984 Stored Communications Act since the Facebook content would be turned over to the DA rather than released by the users in response to Facebook requests.

To read the article in its entirety go here.  To read Facebook’s legal brief on this issue go here

How Notice-and-Takedown Regimes Create Markets for Music on YouTube: An Empirical Study

How Notice-and-Takedown Regimes Create Markets for Music on YouTube: An Empirical Study

Paul Heald


In theory, notice-and-takedown regimes can lower transaction costs by facilitating communication between users and copyright owners, especially where content filtering automates much of the process. This market study tests the transaction costs theory by tracking 90 songs on YouTube that reached number one on the U.S., French, and Brazilian pop charts from 1930 to 1960. The data collected includes the identity of the uploader, type of upload, number of views, date of upload, and monetization status. YouTube uploads of a sample of 385 popular songs from 1919-1926 are also charted. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the DMCA safe harbor system as applied to YouTube helps maintain public access to many old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners to satisfy the market of potential listeners.


Employee Internet Privacy: A Proposed Act that Balances Legitimate Employer Rights and Employee Privacy

Employee Internet Privacy: A Proposed Act that Balances Legitimate Employer Rights and Employee Privacy


Susan Park



In the past two years, forty-three states and Congress have passed or considered legislation which generally prohibits employers from asking employees or job applicants for login information to gain access to their personal social media accounts. This legislative development is fascinating, particularly because it moves against the otherwise prevailing belief that employee privacy is on the decline. Nonetheless, a significant number of state legislatures clearly believe this protection is necessary, and rightly so. In a world where online privacy is increasingly in question, these statutes are necessary to help strike a better balance between an employer’s legitimate business interests and the employee’s right to keep personal information private. They are also a healthy step toward reinstating some of the privacy interests employees have lost over the years, particularly due to the development of new workplace technology that makes monitoring and access to private information easier. However, these statutes certainly have their share of criticism, some of which is valid. Generally, those critical of the legislation believe either that password protection is simply unnecessary or that individual statutes are inadequate. Additionally, the differences from state to state are significant enough that they will likely pose real challenges to multi-state employers as they attempt to navigate them. These laws are so recent that no cases have yet challenged their application. To date, only a small number of published articles have analyzed this trend; none has thoroughly analyzed the statutes and bills, nor introduced any model legislation. This article fills that gap. It examines the current legislation, both enacted and proposed. It argues in favor of these laws, generally, but shows that no current statute or bill adequately balances the need for employers to investigate and monitor job applicants and current employees while also recognizing their privacy interests. Therefore, this article proposes model language that should form the basis for a federal statute. In doing so, it also adds to the call from scholars about the need for comprehensive federal legislation to address employee Internet privacy.



Google Plus to Drop Real Name Policy

This week Google Plus announced that they were no longer prohibiting pseudonyms by their users.  Here is the blog post announcement from Google Plus.

When we launched Google+ over three years ago, we had a lot of restrictions on what name you could use on your profile. This helped create a community made up of real people, but it also excluded a number of people who wanted to be part of it without using their real names… we hope that today’s change is a step toward making Google+ the welcoming and inclusive place that we want it to be.

No one is exactly sure why the change was made but I offer 3 possible reasons.

(1) Last desperate attempt by Google Plus to get people to use its platform.

(2) Another way for Google Plus to distinguish itself from Facebook which does not allow pseudonyms.

(3) Google Plus finally sees the downside of real-name enforcement.

To read more about this change go here and here.

Social Media Conference on the Military and Defense Industry (Nov 17th-18th)

For those interested in learning more about how social media impacts the military and the defense industry, consider attending the Social Media within the Defence and Military sector conference. The conference, hosted by SMi Group, will be held from Nov. 17th to the 18th and will take place in London. Here is a brief description of the conference.

SMi Group are thrilled to announce the 4th annual Social Media within the Military and Defence sector conference convening in 2014 on the 17th and 18th of November in central London.This is your oppurtunity to discuss and network with MoD’s from across the world and key military institutions such as the U.S Army, Royal British Legion and NATO. Understand the latest instrumental uses of social media, including its integral role in recruitment, operations, audience engagement and crisis management. 

Social media is an essential part of modern communication and it is a conversation that is essential to the military and defence sector. This conference promises to give your organisation the tools and knowledge necessary to excel in this field of communication. The latest technological developments, strategic applications and cutting edge case studies will be explored by experts in the field.