Does Facebook Owe You Money?

California District Judge Richard Seeborg ruled Monday that Facebook might owe you as much as $10. The ruling is the latest development in the class action suit against Facebook over Sponsored Stories. The case also marks continuing efforts to limit Facebook’s access to users’ personal information. Jessica Dye’s article “Judge Gives Initial OK to Revised Facebook Privacy Settlement” appeared on Reuters.


Social Media in the Courts

Social media continues to have its role and presence in the court defined. Up until recently, social media has played more of a role in civil cases, but it is now finding its way into how criminal cases play out too. One such case is the Trayvon Martin murder case in Florida. Lizette Alvarez looks at how Mark O’Mara, the defense lawyer for George Zimmerman, is using social media in “Social Media, Growing in Legal Circles, Finds a Role in Florida Murder Case.”

Twitter Complies With Judge’s Demand to Produce Tweets

In a follow up to Wednesday’s post, Twitter has complied with a Manhattan Judge’s order to hand over a user’s tweets or fact a contempt of court charge. However, the tweets will remain sealed pending an appeal. Read Don Reisenger’s article “Twitter Hands Over Occupy Protestor’s Tweets” for more information.

New York Judge May Force Twitter’s Hand

Twitter’s days of standing between your tweets and the law may be numbered. Manhattan Judge Matthew Sciarrino Jr told Twitter they have until September 14 to produce Malcolm Harris’ tweets in relation to criminal charges or be held in contempt. Christine Simmons relates more details in her article “Twitter is Given a Deadline to Avoid Contempt.”

Summary of Recent Freedom of Expression and Media Cases

Gervase de Wilde provides a very useful summary of some recent, important cases from the Supreme Court concerning First Amendment rights. In addition, the article covers recent cases that deal with defamation, libel, privacy, and other social media generated concerns. The article, “US Freedom of Expression and Media Law Round-Up”, provides a good synopsis of cases you should be aware of.

Jury Instructions to Curb Social Media in Court

The Fourth Circuit reports that “the Judicial Conference Committee on Court Administration and Case Management… has proposed model jury instructions regarding electronic technology use during trial.” This is an attempt to give concrete guidelines to jurors in regards to the use of social media during trial. Robyn Hagan Cain’s article “Will Proposed Model Jury Instructions Combat Social Media in Court?” looks at the issue.

Who is Responsible for Facebook Posts?

Here are two articles that look at who may be responsible for your Facebook posts. Katie Anderson’s article, “Fishing On Facebook May Put Employers ‘On the Hook'”, explores the legal ramifications of employers sifting through employees’ Facebook accounts. Hayes Hunt and Jillian R. Thornton’s article “Facebook and Twitter Subpoenas, Privacy and The Law”, takes another look at who controls the “private” information you post and tweet. Issues of control and privacy are continuing to evolve, and it’s increasingly important to keep abreast of how courts may be evolving in their responses.

Social Media Used Proactively by Police

Here is yet another story about how important social media is becoming in day-to-day law enforcement. Police are using social media to help build community with the public in addition to catching criminals. The Warner Robins, Georgia, Police Department recently found out what a powerful tool social media could be. Read Ashley Minelli’s story “Law Enforcement Using Social Media to Connect with Community” to learn more.

Social Media Explodes Over Health Care Ruling

Ever wonder what your clients are thinking or saying about a particular issue? Social media makes it easy to find out as proven by the number of tweets, posts, blogs, etc that were devoted to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Naturally, it’s helpful to know how your clients feel about certain issues, but it’s also good to know how they are expressing themselves. Deanne Katz’s article, “Everyone Has a Social Media Opinion on the Health Care Ruling,” examines some of those comments.

Facebook Settles Right of Publicity Lawsuit

By Michael Kernan

A major issue for Facebook going forward is going to be how it handles Right of Publicity claims by its users. Advertisers love Facebook because they have found that a friend endorsing their product has more impact on you as a consumer than a costly celebrity endorsement. The problem, as identified in the Facebook lawsuit recently settled, is Facebook users are claiming that Facebook has no right to use their name or likeness in such ads. Facebook sought to dismiss a lawsuit based upon claims that it violated its users’ Right of Publicity, but the judge refused to dismiss that lawsuit.

Facebook has now settled that lawsuit by paying $10 million to charity. (See Kevin Smith’s article.) It will be interesting to see how Facebook handles these claims going forward. The solution may lie in Facebook amending its terms of use. “Consent” is a defense to Right of Publicity actions.

Please see our article next week on terms of use.


You may also be interested in our previous entry on “The Right of Publicity in the Digital Age“.

For further background on the class action lawsuit and Facebook’s initial reaction to it, see the following two articles:

Facebook Class Action Lawsuit Seeks$15 Billion for Privacy Violations” by Brian Prince.

Facebook Hit with Lawsuit Alleging Privacy Wrongs” by John P Mello Jr.