User Generated Content

Sensitive to the expanding diversity of the online community, the world’s largest social network has taken a step to curb highly contentious postings.

On March 16, Facebook revamped its community guidelines, detailing what is and is not acceptable behavior on the site. With social media playing an ever-increasing role in the news and current events,

In the latest iteration of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) approach to testimonials and endorsements in the context of online advertising, the Commission alleged that AmeriFreight, a company that arranges the shipment of consumers’ cars through third-party freight carriers and its owner posted customer reviews without disclosing that it had provided a financial incentive for

The power of user-generated content (“UGC”) as a promotional tool is ubiquitous and well understood; however, global marketers face challenges when trying to approach a campaign from an international perspective.  A recent development concerning UGC contests in Italy has caught the attention of global marketers.

A UGC contest usually involves a promotional prize event where

In a recent letter to shoe retailer Cole Haan regarding its Wandering Sole Pinterest contest, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) signaled a major change for promotional contests conducted through social media platforms. In the letter, the FTC determined that the Pinterest contest sponsored by the company was a form of product endorsement, subject to Section 5 of the FTC Act, which requires the disclosure of a material connection between a marketer and an endorser when their relationship is not otherwise apparent from the context of the communication that contains the endorsement.
Continue Reading FTC Has User Generated Content on the Run

No need to fret over Thanksgiving! The Federal Trade Commission has extended until December 23, 2011, the deadline for the public to submit comments on proposed amendments to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule. That’s good news because the revisions are significant and include the demise of the flexible "sliding scale" approach that permitted operators

On Aug. 27, 2008, in the case Io Group, Inc. v. Veoh Networks [1] (Veoh), U.S. Magistrate Judge Howard R. Lloyd granted Veoh’s motion for summary judgment, that it qualified for “safe harbor” protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), 17 U.S.C. § 512. The Veoh decision has been hailed by some as a major victory for Internet service providers and proponents of the sufficiency of the DMCA in addressing copyright infringement issues over the Internet. Does this decision supplant Grokster as the current precedent of U.S. courts with respect to an analysis of the legality of websites featuring user-generated content (UGC)? The Supreme Court’s decision in Grokster established that a service provider that has provided a platform and has promoted its use to infringe copyright or foster infringement could be found liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties. [2] In other words, if the service provider’s website has been used, to a significant degree, as a hub of infringing content, then such service provider may not be able to raise the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA as a defense to secondary copyright infringement.[3] Precedential considerations aside, a closer look at the facts of Veoh reveals that the court’s holding is actually quite limited in scope. 

The plaintiff in Veoh, Io Group, Inc. (Io), a publisher of adult video content, claimed in the lawsuit that it discovered clips from 10 of its copyrighted films had been uploaded and viewed on without its authorization. Considering that the DMCA was created, in part, to provide a process for copyright owners to police and limit infringing activity, it would be paramount for any copyright owner seeking recourse for a claim of infringement to have complied with the procedures in place under the DMCA[4] prior to filing a lawsuit. Assuming that the website provided a copyright-infringement-claim designated agent to contact regarding infringement claims, a copyright owner would be required to have submitted DMCA-compliant notices of infringement to such designated agent, and have such agent fail to remove the allegedly infringing content, to have an actionable claim. In this case, Veoh had a designated agent assigned to review takedown notices, and maintained terms of use that set forth procedures that were compliant with the DMCA. Plaintiff Io, on the other hand, seemingly ignoring the DMCA procedures entirely, did not send a takedown notice to, or otherwise inform, Veoh that it had determined that its film content had been uploaded to the Veoh website without authorization. Actually, receipt of the complaint was the first notice Veoh received regarding Io’s infringement issues. Strike one.Continue Reading DMCA Alive and Well? An Analysis of the Veoh Decision