February 19, 2013
I will be speaking at Affiliate Management Days SF 2013 (April 16-17, 2013) on the topic of “Managing Risk: Legal Issues for Merchants & Affiliate Managers.”
Affiliate marketing is one of the most cost-effective techniques for monetizing web site traffic and driving sales. Unfortunately, it has a reputation for high risk. While the industry is unlikely to ever be risk-free, it is possible to manage risk by: (1) understanding how techniques like behavioral and contextual targeting affect consumers, affiliates and merchants, (2) understanding the legal and regulatory environment, (3) understating risks involved with prospective marketing partners, (4) using and maintaining proper contracts that allocate risk and provide appropriate indemnifications, and (5) keeping informed about the changes in technology, marketing practices and the regulatory environment. Attendees will learn how to identify these issues and develop policies and procedures to keep informed about the current technology, marketing strategies and regulatory compliance.
Topics covered include:
- Behavioral/Contextual Advertising
- Regulatory/Industry Compliance : FTC Guides & Enforcement Actions
- CAN-SPAM compliance
- IP Law: Rules governing use of others™ Trademarks/Keywords, Right of Publicity/Endorsement Issues.
- Identifying, protecting against, and disputing accusations of Click-Fraud
- Bad Affiliate Programs: Cheating and Stealing from Affiliates (earnblogger.com)
Tagged: Affiliate marketing, Affiliate Program, April 16-17 2013, Business, Marketing, Network affiliate, Online Opportunities, Opportunities
December 23, 2012
As a result of the rapid shift in marketing from unilateral one-to-many communications, to the multilateral, many-to-many or many-to-one conversations enabled by Social Media, employees and employers are struggling to manage accounts that are used for both work and personal purposes.
This new phenomenon has benefits, but it also creates a number of legal challenges. For employees, it may result in greater efficiency, more opportunities for authentic customers engagement and the ability to stay on top of the most current grands and business issues. For employers, it presents opportunity to reap substantial benefits from lower communications and customer support costs. For in-house counsel, it raises a host of legal and practical issues with few easy solutions and significant liability and regulatory risks.
First, there are hardware issues. Smartphones, tablets and other personal electronics often have social networking capabilities built in. in addition, they contain contain both personal and business data. Because these devices are always on and always connected, they are more than just personal property. They have become essential business tools. For both sides of the workplace equation, employers and employees must understand where the privacy lines fall between personal versus work-related information.
Second, there are data issues. Employers must balance their needs to monitor employee usage, employees’ privacy concerns, and the risk of liability for theft or exposure of data if a device is lost or stolen, or from lack of proper safeguards on account usage. For in-house counsel tasked with drafting policies to address these risks, , Prior to implementation of any policy, the legal team needs to educate front line employees and management on reasonable expectations of privacy and security and the harms that the organization seeks to prevent.
Lastly, recent cases such as the Cristou v. Beatport litigation, highlight the struggle to define and control the beginning and end of employee social media accounts, ownership and protection of intellectual property and the post termination risks that arise from the absence of appropriate policies.
As we prepare to start a new year, the time is ripe to establish security and privacy policies governing creation, maintenance and use of employees’ social media accounts for work functions. In-house counsel must lead the charge to educate, inform and train employees about privacy, security and evidence-recovery implications associated with use of social media.
Tagged: accounts, attorney, Business, BYOD, Communications, counsel, employee, employer, in-house, infosec, Law, Lawyer, Legal, Marketing, media, Mobile, policies, policy, Privacy, regulation, security, social, Workplace
August 2, 2012
1. Content & Marketing
MutualMind Signs Agreement With LexisNexis to Offer Advanced Social Media
MarketWatch (press release)
PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — MutualMind, an award-winning social media technology developer based in Dallas, Texas, announced an agreement today with LexisNexis, a leading provider of legal content and technology solutions.
Facebook: Should Law Firms Bother?
Business 2 Community
While consumer brands have embraced Facebook as a key tool in building deeper customer engagement, the biggest social network largely remains terra incognita in the legal world. The sector has certainly harnessed professional networking sites.
Bahrain may act against social media abuse
Legal action could be taken against people in Bahrain, who incite violence and spread sectarianism on social media, said a top official. The initiative comes as a new code of honour for social media users is set to be launched by the Bahrain Bloc.
3. Law Enforcement
An overwhelming majority of investigators using social media for investigative purposes are “self taught,” according to a new survey of 1200 Federal, state, and local law enforcement professionals.
That’s but one of the many conclusions found in a comprehensive new survey — conducted in a partnership between PoliceOne and LexisNexis Risk Solutions — focused on the impact of social media on law enforcement in criminal investigations. Among the …
4. Employees & Workplace
What your social media profile is telling future employers? (Take our poll)
The State of Maryland already has passed a law forbidding employers from asking job candidates for their passwords to Facebook and other social media sites, and California is considering a similar law. 01fgSCREEN2.jpg View full size · The Society for …
Social Media in the Workplace – July 2012
JD Supra (press release)
With an understanding of some of the relevant issues, employers can implement meaningful and reasonable policies and guidelines for employees and respond appropriately and legally to social media issues that arise. Below are a few of the discrete issues …
5. Financial Services
The trick for us is trying to provide legally correct information, in such a way that is easy to understand, to the American public so that investors truly understand their options with retirement savings.” “Internet, the online experience and social media are the 21st Century.”
The New Social Metrics
Bank Technology News
Below are methodologies and metrics for determining the ROI of these specific social media use cases. The metrics roll up to three major categories of benefits: revenue impact, operational efficiencies, and legal and compliance risk avoidance.
David M. Adler, Esq. is an attorney, author, educator, entrepreneur and partner with Leavens, Strand, Glover & Adler, LLC, a boutique law firm in Chicago, Illinois created with a specific mission: provide businesses with a competitive advantage by enabling them to leverage their intangible assets and creative content in order to drive innovation and increase overall business value.
We meet this challenge by providing legal counsel on issues related to creation, protection and commercialization of intangible assets, our comprehensive understating of the relevant law, our team of seasoned professionals and our client service philosophy.
Tagged: content, Employees, Financial services, International, law enforcement, Legal, Marketing, media, police, regulation, social, Statutes, Workplace
July 17, 2012
Into the data jungle – in association with Huron Legal
Technological developments such as cloud computing, social networking and mobile apps mean EU law is no longer fit for purpose. The EU claims current laws often conflict and cost businesses a total of nearly £2bn a year.
Saudi Arabia considers law against insulting Islam
Bangladesh News 24 hours
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, July 16 (bdnews24.com/Reuters) – Saudi Arabia is studying new regulations to criminalise insulting Islam, including in social media, and the law could carry heavy penalties, a Saudi paper said on Sunday.
Mind the missteps in online job dance
With some background check firms specializing in social media searches (U.S.-based Social Intelligence Corp. for one), how do third-party recruiters use social media when screening or finding clients for law firms in Canada?
Saudi Arabia looking to criminalize Islam insults on social media
DUBAI: The Saudi Arabia government is looking to ensure users on social media networking sites do not insult Islam or the Prophet Mohamed, al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday, citing officials who said a new law could bring “heavy” penalties.
Watching the detectives: the case for restricting access to your social media data
That debate tells us something about how Australians and the media conceptualise privacy and business-government relationships in a world where mobile phones and social network services such as Facebook are ubiquitous.
10 Tactics for Integrating Photographs into Content Marketing
Business 2 Community
Acquire digital rights for images. Remember when using images, especially photographs, your legal team is your best friend. Ensure that you’ve got the right to use the photos by incorporating outtakes and additional shots for social media.
Syracuse Neighborhood Watch plans to increase social media outreach
New program coordinator plans more email, social media contact. … CNY Biz Central – Legal. Helpful advice about finding the right attorney for your legal needs. CNY Biz Central. Get information from our team.
Reasonable Expectations of Privacy in the Digital Age
Mondaq News Alerts (registration)
In this digital age of smart phones, global positioning systems, cloud computing, and social networking, determining what constitutes private information and what lengths our legal system will go to protect it is increasingly challenging.
Sale Of Digg Reminder Of Potential Risks To Facebook And Other Social Media …
In 2011, social media watchers may recall reading in Bloomberg that Myspace, which had been purchased by News Corporation (NWS) for $580 million in 2005 had reportedly been sold for just $35 million to private investors, including Justin Timberlake. In …
Your Social Media Tweeting & Posting Legal Rights. TV … – YouTube
Find out how legally liable you are for your Twitter Tweets and Facebook postings.
Tagged: Bloomberg, Cloud, content, Criminal law, Digg, Facebook, Global Positioning, GPS, Images, Islam, Legal, Marketing, Meida, MySpace, Photographs, Photos, Privacy, Saudi Arabia, Smart phones, social, Syracuse, tech, technology, Twitter, Video, YouTube
Statute Puts Online Libraries and Other Service Providers at Risk
Kansas City infoZine
A New Washington State Law Intends to Make Online Service Providers Criminally Liable For Online Postings. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing the Internet Archive in order to block the enforcement of SB 6251, a law aimed at combating advertisements for underage sex workers but with vague and overbroad language that is squarely in conflict with federal law.
NLRB General Counsel Issues Further Guidance on Social Media
National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) is closely scrutinizing employer social media policies.
Legal issues in the media
Social Media Legal, Regulatory & Compliance: Risks & Issues Social Media Slideshare presentation.
Putting the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights into Practice
Providing transparency in how consumer data is handled by mobile applications – this is the first topic for the National Telecommunications and Information…
US lawmakers propose digital bill of rights to safeguard privacy …
Two US lawmakers have proposed a digital bill of rights to safeguard consumer privacy rights and ensure internet freedom.
Stakeholders to Discuss Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will convene stakeholders July 12, 2012 in Washington, DC to develop a privacy code of conduct.
Tagged: code, comments, First Amendment, free speech, internet, Legal, legislation, Marketing, media, online, Privacy, regulation, rules, security, service, Social media, trends
David M. Adler Speaking on Social Media Legal Issues for Marketers at CONVERGE Spring Symposium 2012
April 5, 2012
Attorney David M. Adler will be speaking as part of a legal panel on “legal landmines”, e.g. legal risks and regulatory compliance, in social and mobile marketing as part of the CONVERGE Spring Symposium 2012 taking place in Silicon Valley, May 1-2, 2012.
Topics to be addressed include best practices for direct, digital and mobile marketing including advising on permission-based marketing, emerging technologies, the use of various social media platforms, as well as data security and privacy issues related to electronic and mobile commerce.
New FTC guidelines in the areas of advertising any marketing, as well as consumer privacy and security, have raised awareness of these issues for brands, marketing firms and service providers.
David M. Adler, Esq. is an attorney, author, educator, entrepreneur and nationally-recognized speaker in the fields of intellectual property, media & entertainment and technology law with a multidisciplinary practice focused on counseling businesses across the interrelated areas of Intellectual Property Law, Media & Entertainment, Information Technology and Corporate Law. David provides legal counsel on trademark and copyright clearance, registration and enforcement, digital and new media licensing, production, finance, regulations, Social Media, litigation and corporate-commercial transactions.
David has an extensive private-practice and in-house background counseling clients on marketing, advertising and content deals, lead-generation agreements, referral agreements, advertising-supported revenue deals, product placement, affiliate marketing/group-couponing platforms, CAN-SPAM compliance, digital rights management for video, music, and games. We work with many of the leading studios, labels, social networking sites, and online music companies. He also specializes in advising artistic talent and creative professionals in the arts, entertainment, media and sports industries.
Tagged: David M Adler, entertainment, Intellectual property, Law, Marketing, Privacy, Silicon Valley, Social media
Free content is not without a cost.
As our lives have become more digitally enmeshed with content, immersive entertainment and devices, the economic bargain that makes it possible has gone largely unnoticed. Simply put, the collection, analysis and sharing of personal data is driving the digital economy. Mobile applications (Apps), digital content and entertainment – from TV shows to games – are available for “free” but subsidized by income from online ads that are customized using data about customers. Vendors, advertisers and platforms compete for “eyeballs” based, in part, on the quality of the information they possess about users to whom the ads are targeted.
Across this interconnected landscape of users, content providers and devices, the issue of online privacy has become a major talking point for app developers, marketers, consumers and legislators. Recently, a wide range of stakeholders, from large institutions to smaller developers, have been accused of mishandling personal data. As the volume of public debate has increased, legislators have introduced a raft privacy initiatives. The Obama administration has called for a Privacy Bill of Rights, an industry consortium of leading web sites and search engines has proposed its own privacy best practices and the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a consumer-oriented Mobile User Privacy Bill of Rights.
Part 1 of this article looks at several recent and high-profile revelations about how personal information is collected and used, often without the user’s knowledge and consent. Part 2 discusses the legal risks faced by vendors that don’t take adequate precautions to protect consumer privacy and Part 3 concludes with strategies and tactics that help leverage the power of personalization while avoiding the pitfalls of privacy and data security.
1. The current state of information gathering
The scope of personal information gathered is unprecedented and largely unknown. For years, “free” web-based content has been available because of the implicit compromise between content providers and content consumers. Advances in technology have made it easier to track a user’s web browsing habits, mobile browsing habits, and even real-time geospatial location (check in apps and GPS). In the last few months, we have learned that some apps not only gather this mostly non-personally-identifiable data, but also upload a user’s address book contacts and even photos.
On Wednesday Feb. 2012, software Developer Arun Thampi “outed” Path, the purveyor of a self-titled journaling app, for sending users’ address book contents to the company. Path lets users share what they’re doing with a select group of friends and gives users the option to find friends on the app through contacts or other social networks. Thampi disclosed the clandestine data transfer in a blog post after discovering that his phone’s entire address book, including full names and e-mail addresses, was being sent to Path without his explicit consent. According to Path, this data was necessary to in order to quickly notify users when people they know join Path.
Not too long ago, Google earned itself a similar PR (and legal) black eye when it launched its social network, Google Buzz, in 2010 through its Gmail web-based email product. At launch, users were not informed that the identity of individuals they emailed most frequently would be made public by default. Google Buzz automatically disclosed the email addresses of a user’s contacts by default. Google settled with the FTC over allegations that Google used deceptive practices and violated its own privacy policies.
On Feb 17 2012, WSJ reported that Google Inc. and other advertising companies have been bypassing the privacy settings of millions of people using Apple Inc.’s Web browser on their iPhones and computers—tracking the Web-browsing habits of people who intended for that kind of monitoring to be blocked. The companies used special computer code that tricks Apple’s Safari Web-browsing software into letting them monitor many users. Safari, the most widely used browser on mobile devices, is designed to block such tracking by default.
A major topic for discussion just this week is the “Target Snafu.” As originally reported in the New York Times, Target used customer data and predictive analytics to determine that one of their customers was pregnant, and even her specific trimester. The girl’s father learned of the pregnancy when the retailer emailed her promotional material and coupons.
It used to take days or even weeks to gather, synthesize and extrapolate data about a customer’s buying habits and receptiveness to particular products or services. Now it takes milliseconds. A targeted ad can be sourced and served in the time it takes to hit “refresh” on a web browser. Companies are using massive amounts of data to predict what their customers are going to want next. More importantly, gathering that data is getting easier, cheaper and more ubiquitous as the source of that data moves from the desktop to mobile devices.
Tagged: Advertising, big data, content, Marketing, Mobile, online behavioral advertising, Privacy, security
August 24, 2011
In October 2009, the Federal Trade Commission released it’s updated “FTC’s Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” The purpose of the update was to address the increasing use of endorsements by consumers, experts, organizations and celebrities in online marketing. The update is particularly relevant to the explosive growth of social media as a marketing tool.
The updated FTC Guides contain two notable areas of concern for marketers. First, the Guides removed the safe harbor for advertisements featuring a consumer’s experience with a product or service, the so-called “results not typical” disclosure. Second, the FTC Guides underscored the longstanding principle of disclosing “material connections” between advertisers and the consumers, experts, organizations, and celebrities providing reviews and endorsements of products and services.
Even with the illustrations provided within the FTC Guides themselves, it is still confusing for advertisers, marketers, bloggers and social media users to know how to comply with the guidelines. The purpose of this article is to provided simple, concrete standards to determine (1) when to make certain disclosures and (2) the type of disclosures required by the situation. I have grouped the disclosures into seven categories: Personal Opinion, Free Samples & Free Gifts, Promotional Relationship, Employment Relationship, Affiliate Relationship, Healthcare Disclosures, and Financial Guidelines & Disclosures. The key requirement to keep in mind is the obligation to disclose any relationship that may have influenced you.
If you write a review or blog post and your post contains only your own opinions, you haven’t received any compensation for the review or post, and you otherwise have no material connection to the topic of your post, you have nothing to disclose.
If you have been given a free copy, sample, or gift of a product or service and you write a review or blog post, you must disclose the facts and circumstances of how you received the item or service, even if you have not been paid to review or post on that topic. You do not run afoul of the disclosure rules if you receive payment unrelated your content. This disclosure is useful to keep in mind when your content relates to product previews, reviews of samples, services, gifts, books, software, music, movies, etc.
If you write a review or blog post and your post is based upon an advertising relationship, and you have received compensation (cash, free services, product samples for personal use or a gift) for the review or post, you must disclose the nature of the relationship, whether you received anything of value, and information about relationships with advertisers or endorsers that would have a material impact about how a prospective consumer would view the message. This disclosure is useful to keep in mind when your content relates to paid posts, sponsored messages, tweets, fan page postings, etc.
If you write a review or blog post and your post is based upon an employment relationship, e.g. you are an employee or shareholder of a related company, you have a “material business relationship” to disclose, even if you are not being directly compensated for the message. You may post on behalf of a business or brand. In fact, it may even be part of your job description. Again, be mindful of the requirement to disclose any “connections” that may have influenced you, including both direct and indirect relationships.
If you write a review or blog post and your post is based upon an affiliate relationship, e.g., you have included affiliate links on your page, you must disclose the fact that the relationship exists and that you will be paid for referrals from your page.
If you write a review or blog post and your content is based upon a connection to a pharmaceutical or healthcare product or program, you need to include relevant healthcare-related disclosures or information safety warnings, side effects, or official links with information.
If you write a review or blog post and you work for a financial services company, you may be making investor-relations communications and your communications are subject to regulation by the NASD, SEC, FINRA and potentially state and federal regulatory agencies. The FINRA Guidance on Blogs & Social Networking Sites” can be found here. Record Retention: ensure that you can retain records of those communications. Suitability: a particular communication a “recommendation” for purposes of NASD Rule 2310 and is it suitable for potential recipients. Public Appearances: determine whether your post part of an “interactive online forum” and whether supervision is required. Third-Party Posts: If your firm created or “sponsors” and online forum, be aware that, under certain circumstances, a customer’s or other third party’s content on a social media site may become attributable to the firm. Whether third-party content is attributable to a firm depends on whether the firm has (1) involved itself in the preparation of the content or (2) explicitly or implicitly endorsed or approved the content.
Clearly, legal and regulatory compliance for social media remains a minefield. Although this article is intended to give you a working knowledge of the types of risks created by, and disclosures required for, the use of Social Media, it is NOT LEGAL ADVICE. Each situation is unique and you should consult with qualified legal counsel regarding your specific circumstances.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David M. Adler, Esq. is an attorney, author, educator, entrepreneur and partner at the boutique intellectual property, entertainment & media law firm LEAVENS, STRAND, GLOVER & ADLER, LLC based in Chicago, Illinois. My responsibilities include providing advice to business units and executives on copyright, trademark, ecommerce, software/IT, media & entertainment and issues associated with creating and commercializing innovations and creative content, drafting and negotiating contracts and licenses, advising on securities laws and corporate governance and managing outside counsel. Learn more about me here: www.ecommerceattorney.com and here: Leavens Strand Glover & Adler, LLC.
- US bank consortium develops social media framework (adlerlaw.wordpress.com)
- 5 Basic Rules of Social Media Marketing Management (stayonsearch.com)
Tagged: Advertising, Blog, Facebook, Federal Trade Commission, Financial services, Marketing, Social media, Twitter
The United States is one the few countries in the developed world that lacks a comprehensive law protecting consumer privacy. Geolocation, personalized ads, group-buying deals, tracking cookies and other technologies have a wide range of privacy implications. Incidents like the phone-hacking scandal in the U.K. underscore the growing concern among both the general public and Congress here in the U.S.
Unlike citizens in Europe, Asia and Latin America, U.S. laws addressing rights and obligations surrounding sensitive-information tend to be sector-specific and inconsistent (HIPPA, COPPA, etc.). Notably, the FTC, the federal agency tasked with safeguarding consumers, has taken a largely laissez-faire approach. The result of Guidelines and enforcement actions is essentially a policy of “do as you like, just don’t lie about it.”
While congressional attention has been focused on updating the regulatory regime, the current legislation reflects the piecemeal approach of the past. Here is a break-down of the Five leading government privacy initiatives. Bills starting with H.R. are from the US House, and bills starting with S. are from the US Senate. The numbers are from the 112th Congress: 2011-2012.
H.R. 654: Do Not Track Me Online Act, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Speier [D-CA12] is to direct the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe regulations regarding the collection and use of information obtained by tracking the Internet activity of an individual, introduced Feb 11, 2011. Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process.
S. 913: Do-Not-Track Online Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. John Rockefeller [D-WV] is a bill to require the Federal Trade Commission to prescribe regulations regarding the collection and use of personal information obtained by tracking the online activity of an individual, introduced May 9, 2011. Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process.
H.R. 1895: Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011, sponsored by Representatives Edward J. Markey, Massachusetts Democrat, and Joe Barton, Texas Republican, is aimed specifically at internet marketing to minors, introduced May 13, 2011. Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process.
S. 413: Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act of 2011, associated with the phrase the “internet kill switch” was, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Lieberman [I-CT], introduced Feb 17, 2011. Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process.
S. 799: Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry [D-MA] Introduced Apr 12, 2011. Status: This bill is in the first step in the legislative process
Complete text of the various bills is available at GovTrack.us.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David M. Adler, Esq. is an attorney, author, educator, entrepreneur and partner at the boutique intellectual property, entertainment & media law firm LEAVENS, STRAND, GLOVER & ADLER, LLC based in Chicago, Illinois. My responsibilities include providing advice to business units and executives on copyright, trademark, ecommerce, software/IT, media & entertainment and issues associated with creating and commercializing innovations and creative content, drafting and negotiating contracts and licenses, advising on securities laws and corporate governance and managing outside counsel. Learn more about me here: http://www.ecommerceattorney.com and here: hLeavens Strand Glover & Adler, LLC
Tagged: cookies, data protection, do-no-track, internet, internet kill switch, legislation, Marketing, online tracking, Privacy
July 23, 2011
BITS, the technology policy division of US bank-backed The Financial Services Roundtable, has released “Social Media Risks and Mitigation,” a framework for financial institutions adopting social media and a guide to managing related security risks.
Social media issues span legal, compliance, marketing, communications, IT and human resources departments. “Financial services customers are using social media and demanding that institutions have a secure and prudent presence there,” said Andrew Kennedy, BITS’ social media lead. The bits paper provides an enterprise-wide view of policies, practices, communications and risk management strategies.
Read the full article here: http://tinyurl.com/44rntx2
David M. Adler, Esq. is an attorney, author, educator, entrepreneur and partner at the boutique intellectual property, entertainment & media law firm LEAVENS, STRAND, GLOVER & ADLER, LLC based in Chicago, Illinois. My responsibilities include providing advice to business units and executives on copyright, trademark, ecommerce, software/IT, media & entertainment and issues associated with creating and commercializing innovations and creative content, drafting and negotiating contracts and licenses, advising on securities laws and corporate governance and managing outside counsel. Learn more about me here: www.ecommerceattorney.com