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Tort Cases IM 350: Intellectual Property Law and New Media Spring, 2015.

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Presentation on theme: "Tort Cases IM 350: Intellectual Property Law and New Media Spring, 2015."— Presentation transcript:

1 Tort Cases IM 350: Intellectual Property Law and New Media Spring, 2015

2 Mug Shots Galore

3 Mug shots used to be “public” in theory but not practice Now they are big business Publishers obtain mug shots and create searchable databases Subjects who are “not guilty” are offered opportunity to pay publisher to remove photo Waive of legislative initiates to curb exploitation of mug shots

4 Section 230 – Website Solicited Content Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, 755 F.3d 398 (6 th Cir. 2014) Summary from the Digital Law Media Project:

5 Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, 755 F.3d 398 (6 th Cir. 2014) High school teacher and former cheerleader is subject of unwelcome posts on Dirty.com Site operator contributes some commentary Trial court says TheDirty is a publisher and not immune under Section 230 Teacher wins $38,000 in actual damages and $300,000 in punitive damages at trial

6 Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, 755 F.3d 398 (6 th Cir. 2014) On appeal, Sixth Circuit reverses district court on Section 230 Sixth Circuit held district court erred in finding that the website operators were the “creators” or “developers” of the content at issue and also erred in adopting an “encouragement test of immunity under the CDA”

7 Jones v. Dirty World Entertainment, 755 F.3d 398 (6 th Cir. 2014) Richie and TheDirty.com did not author the statements at issue, even though they selected them for publication. Jones had not alleged that Richie’s own editorial comments were defamatory. Failing to remove the defamatory content could not be found to materially contribute to the content. The CDA expressly bars “lawsuits seeking to hold a service provider liable for its exercise of a publisher’s traditional editorial functions—such as deciding whether to publish, withdraw, postpone or alter content.” Richie and TheDirty.com did not require users to post illegal or actionable content as a condition of use. The name of the website does not suggest that only illegal or actionable content will be published. Richie and TheDirty.com did not pay users to submit unlawful content. The website’s content submission tools were neutral in both orientation and design as to what third parties submit.

8 Libel Suits Against Rating Websites Grand Hotel Resort v. TripAdvisor., 11-cv-549 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 22, 2012)

9 Grand Hotel Resort v. TripAdvisor., 11-cv- 549 (E.D. Tenn. Aug. 22, 2012) District Court grants TripAdvisor’s motion to dismiss – “Dirtiest Hotels” is non-actionable opinion – unverifiable rhetorical hyperbole

10 Rights of Publicity and Social Media

11 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) Background – FB launches “Sponsored Stories” on – When FB users “like” a product, their names and images automatically appear on “friends” pages under “Sponsored Stories” – With the launch, FB updated its terms: Users give FB “permission to use your name and [FB] profile picture in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content...” – Zuckerberg touts product: “Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend” “A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.”

12 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.)

13 Consumer class action filed in the Northern District of California Class: all people who registered to use FB as of and whose names, photographs, likenesses were used in Sponsored Stories Claims: – Violation of California Right of Publicity statute – Violation of California Unfair Competition statute – Common law unjust enrichment

14 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) FB files motion to dismiss under 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(3) – Lack of Article III standing – Immunity under Section 230 of CDA – Failure to state a claim

15 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) Ruling on MTD – No immunity under Section 230 of CDA While FB was an “interactive computer service,” its conduct of creating a “like” button and publishing user’s names and images as sponsored stories made it an “information content provider.”

16 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) Ruling on MTD (cont’d) – Right of Publicity – MTD denied Not newsworthy Fact issue on consent Sufficient allegation of injury

17 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) Case settles after ruling on motion to dismiss. FB pays $20 million into settlement fund FB changes certain terms of use

18 Frayley v. Facebook, 11-cv (N.D. Cal.) Take-away from case: – Use of users’ names and likenesses for commercial endorsement purposes in social media poses risk of ROP claims. – Obtaining consent by changing terms of use may mitigate claims, but perhaps only prospectively.

19 Perkins v. LinkedIn, 13-cv-4303 (N.D. Cal.) Plaintiffs accuse LinkedIn of hacking into their s and sending multiple messages to harvested addresses to invite people to join Plaintiffs accuse LinkedIn of improper use of names, photographs, likenesses, and identities of Plaintiffs for the purpose of generating substantial profits for Linkedln

20 Celebrity Tributes

21 Jordan v. Jewel Jordan v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 743 F.3d 509 (7 th Cir. 2014) 21

22 Jordan v. Dominick’s Jordan v. Dominick’s Finer Foods, LLC, 10-cv-407 (U.S. D.C. N.D. Ill) 22


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