What would the end of the year and the start of a new one be without the seemingly never-ending lists of the top stories from the previous year. There was a lot of jockeying for position among the major players last year. Jolie O’Dell provides a list of the top ten rivalries in “Social Media Fight Club! Top Tiffs from 2012.” While the focus here is not overtly legal in most cases, the article does help to paint a picture of how the social media landscape is looking going into 2013.
It seems it’s already time for the 2012 end of year lists to start appearing. Here is one from Alex Fitzpatrick on the “7 Landmark Tech Laws Passed in 2012.” It will be interesting to see how some of these spread to other states and countries in the coming months.
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.”
by Michael Kernan
Social media platforms are growing in popularity in the Middle East. There have already been questions of censorship versus freedom of speech. Digital media engagement is strongest among younger demographics but is gaining steadily. As content is increasingly available on digital platforms, it is likely that other legal issues will arise. Yousef Gamal El-Din provides more information on the changing landscape in “Social Media Giants Leap Into Arab World.”
Pinterest is one of the hottest new social media sites and has introduced another slew of questions about its legality. Copyright in particular has been a contentious issue with the picture dependent site. Andrew Mirsky provides a thorough look at the legal issues involved, including images of famous people, copyright – fair use – and trademark. In addition his article “Pinterest: Fair Use of Images, Building Communities, Fan Pages, Copyright” also provides some guidelines in going ahead with a Pinterest account.
With changes to how the law regulates the interaction of employees and employers over social media use, it is more important now than ever to have clear social media guidelines in place. Those in the hotel industry may face unique challenges in this area. For instance, hosting celebrities can be great for business, but celebrities are inclined to value their privacy. Samantha Worgull’s article “Social Media Policy Key to Mitigate Liability” looks at the issues facing the hotel industry in using social media.
Here’s a breaking story about Linn, a Norwegian woman, whose Kindle account was recently wiped by Amazon for no apparent reason. At least, to date according to the article, Amazon has not provided a satisfactory answer for their actions. Many are seeing this as an abuse of DRM (digital rights management). Mark King’s article “Amazon Wipes Customer’s Kindle and Deletes Account With No Explanation” provides more information on the incident. However, the information that is forthcoming may indicate that Amazon is attempting to prevent copyright problems due to customers buying books under false pretenses in one country to use in another. The global nature of internet commerce makes navigating the legal issues problematic.
There may still be loopholes for private employers to institute social media policies that limit their employees’ right to freedom of speech. Koch Industries current social media policy raises a number of questions about what a private company can or can’t do legally. Brendan Fischer’s article “Koch Social Media Policy May Be Unlawful; Employers Still Have Broad Leeway to Limit Employee Speech” points out several disturbing developments.
As a follow up on our previous story on the Cybercrime Prevention Act, here, the Supreme Court of the Phillipines has suspended the law. Concern was raised over provisions in the law which would have seen the possibility of imprisonment for those expressing peaceful opinions on the internet through social media. Floyd Whaley’s report, “Philippine Court Suspends Contentious Internet Law”, appeared in The New York Times online edition.