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Social Media and the Law—in the Business Environment

February 02, 2014

Posted in Business Litigation, Business Start Ups, Defamation and Slander, Employment Law, Intellectual Property

photo-2A few months ago, the Practicing Law Institute, a well-known publisher of legal practice guides, asked me to comment on its new book, Social Medial and the Law.  I agreed to do so because I was curious as to what was in the book and wanted to find out whether this book could be an aid to my practice as a business litigation attorney and to my clients.

After a few weeks of reading the book, I find that it is a valuable resource for me as a business litigator.

My office is in Orange County, California, and I have served the business communities here for more than a decade.  My clientele comprises small to medium sized businesses, with most them doing business internationally.  Like most attorneys, I have been seeing a gigantic shift of focus to social media in business, as they have become an integral part of my clients’ business.

I often receive calls from clients inquiring about how to deal with untrue comments from disgruntled customers that have been posted on the Internet, how to create an office policy regarding social media (both the company’s and employees’), how to deal with trademark or other intellectual property infringements, and how to defend clients from a claim arising out of social media.

I find this book valuable because the author covers the topics thoroughly and with a focus on the importance of each area.  Unlike other practice guides that try to impress the reader with the details of information, this book focuses on only the essentials, so that once I have enough information that deals with a client’s situation, I then can focus on the legal research that specifically addresses the issue of what the client is experiencing.  The content of this book is balanced between simplicity and sufficiency.  I don’t feel that I am buried under all the facts and details that may or may not apply to my client’s situation, and yet I feel that the information given is sufficient to help me discuss the matter intelligently with the client and focus my effort on subsequent legal research and preparation for the case.

Chapters 2 to 9 are the meat of the book, in my opinion; they deal with every conceivable issue that may come up in the context of social media, such as the following:

  • Privacy
  • Copyrights, ownership, and control of content
  • Trademarks and brand protection
  • Defamation, other torts, and related cybercrimes
  • Employment and workplace issues
  • Compliance considerations for regulated industry (healthcare, financial, publicly traded company, etc.)
  • Advertising

Although Kathryn L. Ossian is listed on the book cover and is identified as the editor, there are other contributing writers with equally impressive resumes in their areas of expertise.

As a business litigation and trial attorney, without being an expert in the field, I often need to have a grasp on sufficient expertise on the issues before me to formulate the litigation strategies and to tell the story to the judge or jury at the time of trial.  This book helps me to accomplish just that in the area of social media.

We have been serving Orange County business communities for more than a decade, and if you have any questions about as to how we can help you and become your strategic partner in business, please call our office at (714) 415-2007.