JD Supra has a interesting article about the challenges employers have in drafting a social media policy for employees that does not run afoul of their rights.
JD Supra: Is Your Social Media Policy Overbroad?
Profiting from a Stranger’s Instagram Photos
The Washington Post has an interesting article about Instagram photos and how they can be used by others for profit. The article highlights the efforts of one artist, Richard Prince who created giant screen shots of photos that had been posted on Instagram by other people. His collection is now on display at the Frieze Art Fair in New York. According to one source, nearly every piece has been sold for $90,000. Apparently, Prince made slight modifications to every one of his artistic works
Washington Post: You Instagram Photos Aren’t Really Yours
Here is an interesting article, albeit brief, discussing California’s Eraser Law. For those who are unfamiliar with this law, it allows minors to remove certain online information. While the exact contours of the law are not known (the law only came into existence at the beginning of the year), it appears to provide anyone under 18 with: (i) the ability to remove or request removal of content that the minor posted on the website or mobile app; (ii) notice and clear instruction on how to do so; and (iii) notice that such removal may not remove all traces of such posting.
JDSupra: Eraser Laws: Forgetting a Minor’s Past to Save His Future
The growing Chicago office (under 50 attorneys) of our national law firm client is seeking a media and technology associate with 3-5 years of experience in mobile, social and/or emerging media, advertising, technology and trademark law. Any transactional, regulatory and/or privacy experience is a plus. This is a great opportunity to be part of dynamic and expanding core practice group of an entrepreneurial firm.
Nowadays, too many lawyers allow for their working lives to infiltrate their leisure time, causing their opportunities to truly relax to be cut short, or to become almost non-existent. In the legal profession, there are obvious benefits of technology in their daily lives. However, mobile phones, eternal Internet access and scores of social media accounts mean that they are always ‘on call’ and forever accessible to clients, the other side, their workmates, friends…the list goes on. Taking on a digital detox does not mean they need to resort to ignoring their emails altogether, or exchanging their iPhone for a carrier pigeon – rather, there are simple changes they can make to more effectively manage your interactions with technology. This article compiles a list of 5 simple steps that lawyers can trial to help them to ‘switch off.’
The Law and Ethics of Experiments on Social Media Users
If you were on Facebook in January 2012, there is a chance that it tried to make you sad. If you were on OkCupid, there is a chance that it tried to match you up with someone incompatible. These were social psychology experiments: Facebook and OkCupid systematically manipulated people’s environments to test their reactions. Academics doing similar experiments in a university setting would typically need to obtain informed consent from participants and approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB). But Facebook and OkCupid, and the academics working with Facebook, had neither. This, I believe, is a problem.
These experiments offer us a moment for reflection, a chance to discuss the law and ethics of experiments on social media users. In this essay, I will consider social media research through the prism of the Facebook and OkCupid experiments. I will focus on three questions: (1) When do social media experiments constitute research involving people? (2) What does it take to obtain the informed consent of users? (3) What institutions are responsible for reviewing such experiments?
Part I offers an initial review of the Facebook and OkCupid research projects. Part II — the bulk of the essay — takes up these questions under current law. Part III considers the broader question of what the rules for regulating social media research ought to be. The most immediately pressing priority is to prevent the unraveling of the existing ethical framework through IRB laundering, in which a regulated institution outsources enough work to an unregulated one to evade IRB review and informed consent. Looking further ahead, I offer some tentative thoughts on the scope of coverage, informed consent, and oversight for social media experiments. Finally, the conclusion reflects on how we should think about “consent” in this setting.
Thomas H. Koenig