Google goes Trek with a look to the lapel; Facebook continues its push into the workplace; Slack goes down for a few hours; a cyberlocker operator goes down for a few years; and more.
It’s an issue we discuss often and is becoming more prevalent as increased social media use blurs the line between manufacturer-promoted advertising and independent consumer opinions. The discussion investigates when consumer-generated content may be imputed to a manufacturer and best practices to remain in compliance with FDA regulations.
As we saw in a prior post regarding Kim Kardashian and Instagram, the FDA pays attention to how brand companies use paid celebrities to endorse their products. Likewise, the FTC closely scrutinizes how brand companies use paid or sponsored endorsers. Be it digital influencers or bloggers, brand companies must be mindful of the disclosures required to be made in connection with any advertisement or promotion disseminated by an endorser for the brand company. If the brand company provides compensation of any kind to the endorser in exchange for the promotion, FTC regulations require disclosure of this fact. Per the FTC’s 2013 .com Disclosures guidelines, the disclosure must be “clear and conspicuous.” If the brand company uses an advertising agency, the company must ensure that the agency is complying with the FTC’s regulations. Ultimately, the brand company can be held liable for FTC violations by its advertising agency.
In their recent Alert on the Senate’s passage of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing bill, colleagues Brian E. Finch, Elizabeth Vella Moeller and Craig J. Saperstein explore and evaluate the U.S. Senate’s approval of legislation (long sought by industry) that would facilitate information sharing (including threat indicators) across government and industry lines in real time, and provide liability protection to companies that participate.
In their recent Client Alert, colleagues David S. Baxter, Robert B. Robbins, Jonathan J. Russo, Matthew J. Kane and Naresh C. Lall examine the SEC’s adoption of “Regulation Crowdfunding,” the long-awaited final rules regulating what has become the investment vehicle of choice for many creators, entrepreneurs and consumers alike in the Internet Age. Regulation Crowdfunding will allow smaller, private U.S. companies to raise up to one million dollars in a 12-month cycle by selling securities over the Internet or web-based apps and other tech to small individual investors.
Due to efforts by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the Library of Congress adopted in its recent guidelines a limited exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), allowing gamers and preservationists to modify a video game to restore access to the video game for “local gameplay.” Specifically, a video game owner may modify an old video game to avoid the need for an authentication process when the copyright owner no longer supports the servers that facilitate such a process. This exemption will provide video game enthusiasts with the ability to play many classic video games. While this exemption is a victory for gamers and preservationists, not all of them are celebrating, given that the Library of Congress did not agree with the EFF on its other proposals related to the preservation of video games.
Stories of interest this week include the doggy IDing skills of the Facebook AI, Apple looking to apply Force Touch to its keyboards, the WWE’s experiment with virtual reality, Intel’s plans for the Internet of Things, and more…
As user-generated content explodes over the Internet, intellectual property disputes over posting or uploading such content without the owner’s consent continue to escalate. As we touched on in a recent post, social media platforms, hosting websites or other online service providers (OSPs) may be entrapped in these disputes based on the infringing actions of users of these OSPs. In such a situation, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides a safe harbor provision to the OSP known as the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA.) This provision, found at 17 U.S.C. § 512(c), protects service providers from liability for “infringement of copyright by reason of the storage at the direction of a user of material that resides” on the provider’s system or network, if certain requirements are met.
With still about a week left to go, Hudway’s Kickstarter campaign, which began last Wednesday for its augmented reality vehicle accessory, already has over 6,500 backers pledging more than $450,000—several times its initial $100,000 goal. According to its Kickstarter page, Hudway made the vehicle accessory, which turns your smartphone into a head-up display (HUD) for any car, “because we’re tired of waiting for others,” likely alluding to future endeavors by other automotive or tech companies like AR Driving Goggles from Mini, an AR system from Facebook, or an AR eyeglass-like device from the Google-backed startup MagicLeap. The success of the campaign suggests consumers are excited for this particular application of augmented reality. But even though the arrival of this once futuristic technology may be right around the corner, the necessary changes to the legal landscape that will allow and integrate the technology look a bit farther back in the rearview mirror.