sxsw_2012_logo

Can You Tweet That? | Social Media and the Law [SXSW Speaker]

Will the law protect you if you tweet unfriendly comments about a public figure? Can a company make you take down a blog post if you use an image taken by their photographer? Where do you draw the line between rights and terms of service? Below you can find answers to those questions and more from my notes (in reverse chronological order) from live blogging a lecture by Dara Quackenbush, professor at Texas State University entitled “Can you Tweet That? – Social Media and the Law.”


10:28 am – Final Thoughts

  • Look for laws to change to try keep up with technology
  • Will see more issues rise
  • Remember common sense
  • Always cite your work

10:27 am – Facebook Terms of Service

  • You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • You will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.
  • The Casey Anthony pages may be protected by the First Amendment but they do violate Facebook’s Terms of Service.

10:23 am – Facebook pages dedicated to hating Casey Anthony

  • Comments discussed killing her
  • Are these pages protected by the First Amendment? If the threat of violence is not immediate, this is protected speech.
  • There are some legal grey areas.
  • If a student wrote threats on a school’s Facebook page, that would not be protected.

10:22 am – First Amendment and Hate Speech

  • Not protected: lewd and obscene, profane, libelous, insulting or “fighting” words

10:17 am – Photographer David Slater

  • Left his camera around some monkeys. The monkeys took 300 pictures.
  • A journalist wrote about the story and posted the pictures online. The story went viral.
  • Caters News Agency, who employed David Slater, said they must take the pictures down.
  • Did not violate copyright because to be a copyrighted piece of work, it must be created by a human.

10:14 am – Fair Use OR Copyright Infringement – The Obama Hope Poster

  • The Associated Press said Shepard Fairey violated the copyright.
  • They settled out of court.
  • Now the AP and Shephard Fairey are working together to market the image and Fairey will get a percentage of the profits.

10:08 am – Fair Use

  • You can quote from a copyrighted article but the quote must be brief relative to the length of the total work.
  • If copyrighted material is used for commercial purposes, permission is required. There is no fair use.
  • Pinterest found people were taking pictures and putting the entire how-to instructions in the comments. They have since made that against their terms to encourage people to click the link and go the site where the content is hosted.

10:03 am – Copyright

  • Protects creative work and intellectual property
  • If a writer blogs for a publication, the organization owns the copyright for that for 95 years.

10:01 am – “Laws lag behind technology.”

9:54 am – Social Media Defamation Case

  • Amanda Bonnen was tired of her living situation and tweeted “@JessB123 You should just come anyway.  Who said sleeping in a moldy apartment was bad for you? Horizon realty think it’s okay.”
  • Horizon Reality decided to sue her
  • The judge threw the case out because it did not meet the tests for libel – made a fair comment about an organization (public person)

9:48 am – How does this apply to social media?

  • Laws apply in the same way as a printed piece

9:46 am – Defense for libel

  • Is it the truth?
  • Is it privileged information?
  • Fair comment and criticism – right to express your opinion

9:41 am – How to test for libel

  • In the case of a public person, you must prove actual malice (i.e. intended to do harm).
  • The information must be false.
  • You must specifically reference the person.
  • The comments must have been seen by the public.
  • Are there any damages? (i.e. will the person lose their job because of the comments)

9:33 am – Defamation – more specifically libel (written) and slander (spoken).

  • What is the difference between a Private Citizen vs. Public Person?
  • Public figure – athlete, celebrity, or just someone who is in the news.
  • ex: If a Dallas Cowboys trainer discloses information about a positive drug test for one of the players, does the trainer become a public person? Temporarily, yes.

9:30 am – Dara Quackenbush, professor at Texas State University, takes the stage.

Related Posts

4 Comments
  • Judy Caroll
    Posted at 02:11h, 15 March

    We’ve all heard these social media rules several times- don’t tweet this, tweet that, don’t tweet this much. But are we really embracing these as a general framework?  I believe many still don’t know or continue to ignore these foundational rules in social media.  Thanks for reminding Craig.

  • Judy Caroll
    Posted at 02:11h, 15 March

    We’ve all heard these social media rules several times- don’t tweet this, tweet that, don’t tweet this much. But are we really embracing these as a general framework?  I believe many still don’t know or continue to ignore these foundational rules in social media.  Thanks for reminding Craig.

  • TweetAttacks coupon
    Posted at 20:37h, 18 March

    Well I think it is still a great tool for promoting your business..you just need to know how that`s all.

  • TweetAttacks coupon
    Posted at 20:37h, 18 March

    Well I think it is still a great tool for promoting your business..you just need to know how that`s all.

Post A Comment