In April 2018, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) wrote to Florida-based Teami LLC (“Teami”), a Florida-based producer of Teami tea and skincare products, reminding it of the requirement set forth in the FTC’s Endorsement Guides, that any material connections, including compensation, between advertisers and internet end-users need to be disclosed “clearly and conspicuously” to consumers.  The letter noted that endorsers should use unambiguous language and consumers should be able to notice the disclosure easily without having to look for it; and that because consumers viewing posts in their Instagram feeds typically see only the first few lines of a larger post unless they click “more,” endorsers should decide any material connection above the name look.[1]
Continue Reading FTC Cracks Down On Deceptive Social Media Campaign By Teami LLC

Khloe Kardashian is the latest Kardashian to find herself in court over her activities on social media. The youngest Kardashian sister was sued by a photographer for copyright infringement in Xposure Photos UK Ltd v Khloe Kardashian et al, 2:17-CV-3088 (C.D. Cal). Xposure alleges that Ms. Kardashian posted a photo it owned on her Instagram without permission and without the copyright attribution notice included on the original. For brands, celebrities, influencers, and others who use social media, particularly to make money or for promotion, this serves as a good reminder that all rights in any photographs, videos, and other content they post on social media must be cleared.
Continue Reading The Kardashians Can’t Keep up with Copyright Law

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has been cracking down on brands for paying Instagram users to endorse their products or to share brand content without disclosing the relationship.  Indeed, the recent settlements entered between the FTC and several media and entertainment companies as well as a specialty retailer make it clear that the FTC is paying close attention to endorsements of all kinds – whether by celebrities, sponsors, or paid “influencers.”
Continue Reading Using Hashtag #Disclosures in Social Media Advertising

The New York Attorney General’s Charities Bureau recently released “Five Best Practices for Transparent Cause Marketing” which contains general best practices for cause marketing campaigns, including campaigns conducted on social media.  Cause marketing, also known as commercial coventures, is the practice by a for-profit company of donating a portion of the purchase price of an item or service to a charity.  Cause marketing is becoming increasingly popular among companies looking to do good as well as to generate positive publicity for their brand.  Many states regulate cause marketing, however, New York’s Best Practices indicate that greater attention may begin to be focused on campaigns conducted using social media and other newer online platforms for giving.
Continue Reading New York AG Addresses Cause Marketing on Social Media

The Federal Trade Commission recently proposed several updates to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).

COPPA currently provides that operators of websites and other online services that collect personal information online about children under 13, or whose websites or services are directed at children under 13, must:


Continue Reading FTC Proposes Updates to Children’s Online Privacy Law

Pinterest has seen its number of daily visitors increase by 145 percent since the beginning of 2012, now counting 11 million users on its site, according to recent reports. It is a powerful social media tool by any standard, however, in recent months, with its meteoric rise, concerns have also surfaced about potential copyright issues. Needless to say, companies are clamoring to gain access to this vast and ever increasing pool of users, but they should (and can) proceed with caution in order to stay on the right side of the copyright issues.
Continue Reading Companies Using Pinterest, Be Careful Not to Get Pricked

It is now cliché to say that social media activity by companies is growing exponentially. Companies, hospitals, non-profits, the armed services, insurance companies…. every type of entity can be found on social networking sites with Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts. The marketing opportunities for companies continue to manifest themselves with directed marketing campaigns, discounts on Foursquare and other location based networking sites, and data mining to analyze social networking activities.
Continue Reading Why Social Media Activity May Mean Updating Your Insurance Coverage

Words matter. Words can come back and bite you. Think before you speak. These are all self-evident truths that no one is likely to dispute. Yet, we continue to see examples of people, who should know better, doing just the opposite. This is especially true in the context of electronic communications – first, in work emails, and now, on social media websites. If it was a simple matter of personal embarrassment alone, then there would be no need for this article. This is not the case however.
Continue Reading Why Every Business Should Have A Social Media Policy