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Dodge legal land mines on social media

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in Workplace Communication

Social media has become an integral part of marketing strategies for businesses large and small. As with everything, it does pose some risks.

Avoid legal woes by following this advice from lawyer and marketing and social media law expert, Kerry O’Shea Gorgone:

• Protect others’ intellectual property. Don’t use any photo, graphics and so on without gaining permission first. Additionally, even if you paraphrase or rewrite content, you should always give credit and link to any originators of the content. And never use someone’s content verbatim unless you are quoting the person.

• Disclose sponsored rela­­tion­­ships. Any influencers who contribute to your blog must state whether they received payment, samples, free travel and so on in return for contributing. The average reader or follower must understand that the person received something free in exchange for offering his or her testimonial.

• Run “contests” instead of “giveaways.” Giveaways, depending on how some are conducted, can be very close to “lotteries,” which are only permitted by the state. The laws vary state-by-state and can be interpreted differently, so your best bet is to stick with running contests and avoid the risk altogether.

In addition, before you run a contest, you need to fully understand and follow the rules of each social media site you tend to promote it through.

• Be cautious of what you stream. You must avoid streaming other people’s copyrighted material and private conversations or moments.

— Adapted from “The New Guide To Minimizing Legal Risks in Social Media Marketing,” Kerry O’Shea Gorgone,

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Richard Rackham July 9, 2015 at 12:01 pm

This is great for US law, but here in the UK the law is slightly different. I would be good if there was a consistent agreed set of rules that applied across international boundaries.


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