User-Generated Content

News & Analysis as of

New Lawsuit Highlights Risks of Using User-Generated Content

In 2014, Anheuser-Busch ran a contest on Facebook in which consumers were invited to submit photos of themselves “acting natural.” The contest rules stated that entrants could only submit their original works, and that the...more

Understanding New Attacks on Section 230 Immunity

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides website operators who post user-generated content with broad immunity from most legal claims arising from that content. It is this broad protection that enables popular...more

Indonesia Implements a Safe Harbor Policy for E-Commerce (Marketplace) Platforms

In light of rapid developments in the e-commerce industry in Indonesia, the Ministry of Communication and Informatics ("MOCI") issued Circular Letter No. 5 of 2016 on the Limitations and Responsibilities of Platform Providers...more

For the Time Being, Tech Companies Remain Shielded from Liability for Users’ Uploaded Content

Thanks to recent decisions by the First and Second Circuit Courts of Appeals, tech companies will remain protected from liability for some of their users’ uploaded content under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and...more

The Decline and Fall of Section 230?

2016 has been a tough year for a lot of reasons, most of which are outside the scope of this blog (though if you’d like to hear our thoughts about Bowie, Prince or Leonard Cohen, feel free to drop us a line). But one possible...more

ALERT: Re-docking at the Safe Harbor: US Copyright Office Requires Re-Registration for Digital Millennium Copyright Act Safe...

On December 1, 2016, the US Copyright Office outlined a new online procedure for websites, hosting companies, mobile app publishers and other internet services that permit user-generated content (service providers) to...more

Facebook Fake News Problem May Impact Businesses Operating Open Web Sites

Recent criticisms lobbed at Facebook for fake news stories on its platform that allegedly tipped the election in Donald Trump’s favor may spell trouble for businesses operating open websites where users can post content. ...more

New Copyright Office Rule Creates Potential “Gotcha” for Blogs and Websites Hosting User-Generated Content

If your company operates a website or blog that hosts user-generated content, you’ll want to read this post carefully. We’re ringing the alarm bell on an important new U.S. copyright law development that, if ignored,...more

Re-Register Takedown Agent or Lose Copyright Shield

If your website allows for posting of user-generated content and you filed an agent designation insulating you from copyright infringement claims, you may be about to lose that legal protection. All existing paper-filed agent...more

Ninth Circuit Reaffirms Section 230 Protections

Information Counts. That’s the title of this blog. And it’s an indisputable fact. Information is – and has been for at least 20 years – the currency of our economy, providing consumers, regulators and the general public...more

Yelp Case Shows CDA §230 Still Has Teeth

2016 has been a challenging year for Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) and the website operators who depend on it for protection against liability stemming from user-generated content. An unusually large...more

Gawker Remains in the Crosshairs: Seventh Circuit Finds that Online Media Publisher Can Be Liable for Defamatory Third-Party User...

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals recently kept alive one of the multitude of legal entanglements ensnaring Gawker Media LLC, as the Court reversed and remanded a lower court’s decision to dismiss a plaintiff’s defamation...more

Socially Aware: The Social Media Law Update Volume 7, Issue 6

Commercializing user-Generated Content: Five risk reduction strategies - We’re in the midst of a seismic shift in how companies interact with user-generated content (UGC). For years, companies were happy simply to...more

The FTC's Crackdown on Social Media #Ads

In the ongoing effort to reach the hearts and minds of consumers, brands are increasingly looking beyond the traditional media outlets of radio, print and television. The recent meteoric rise and diversity of social media...more

Ninth Circuit Holds Yelp Is Not Responsible for Bad Reviews

The Ninth Circuit recently reaffirmed the protection afforded to website providers and users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In that case, a locksmith sued Yelp over a bad review and one-star rating that...more

Locksmith Locked Out By Communications Decency Act

The Communications Decency Act (“CDA”) provides broad immunity for “providers of interactive computer services.” In essence, if an internet service provider falls within certain parameters, it is entitled to immunity against...more

I accept!

So, you’re ready to launch your new online business or mobile app. The website looks great, and the app tile has an elegant, simple design that’s sure to stand out on phone and tablet screens. Missing anything? Oh, yeah, that...more

When It Comes to Liability, Whose User Generated Content Is It Anyway?

Hospitality industry stakeholders who host sites for online reviews or rely on review sites such as Yelp, Trip Advisor, Urban Spoon, or Oyster, may take comfort in the recent Ninth Circuit decision regarding the liability of...more

Controversial California Court Decision Significantly Narrows a Crucial Liability Safe Harbor for Website Operators

A recent California court decision involving Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) is creating considerable concern among social media companies and other website operators....more

Commercializing User-Generated Content: Five Risk Reduction Strategies

We’re in the midst of a seismic shift in how companies interact with user-generated content (UGC). For years, companies were happy simply to host UGC on their websites, blogs and social media pages and reap the resulting...more

Ninth Circuit Case Demonstrates That the Social Media Platform, Not the User, Is in Control

We have written before about website operators’ use of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) to combat data scraping. We have also noted a number of recent cases in which courts held that social media platforms,...more

Non-Party Yelp Ordered to Remove Defamatory Reviews

In 2012, attorney Dawn Hassell represented Ava Bird for a period of 25 days related to a personal injury she suffered. Bird expressed dissatisfaction with the representation and Hassell withdrew from the representation....more

Social Links: Twitter’s troll problem; Snapchat fat-shamer risks conviction; a federal anti-revenge-porn law?

Facebook Messenger joins the elite “one billion monthly users” club just four years after its release as a standalone app....more

Practice Fusion and FTC Settle Complaint Over Deceptive Statements About the Privacy of Consumer-Generated Online Content

Last week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced (press release) that Practice Fusion, the largest cloud-based electronic health company in the United States, has agreed to settle FTC charges over deceptive practices...more

SF Supes Vote to Violate Communications Decency Act with Amendment to Airbnb Law

On June 7, 2016, which also happens to be primary day in California, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to amend the City’s Residential Unit Conversion Ordinance (the so-called Airbnb Law) to require...more

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