In a recent social gathering, your friends took a number of photos and circulated it to the group. You see that one shot by a friend is a particularly great photo of you. You repost to your social media account to share with the world. It would generally be safe to assume that nothing will come of this, much less a copyright infringement lawsuit against you by your friend who took the shot. For celebrities, this is not always the case. In the past few years, there have been many lawsuits filed for copyright infringement by photographers and paparazzi against celebrities that reposted photos of themselves that they took off the internet.
Much has been written about how the Trump family uses their name to market their own businesses, but the Trumps are equally gifted at trading on others’ notoriety to promote themselves and their businesses. Consider the tweets or public disclosures that follow after the President-elect appears with or receives correspondence from celebrities (à la Floyd Mayweather, Kanye West, Bill Belichick, etc.). But what happens when a celebrity or, as the case may be, an artist, has not consented to be a part of a social media post promoting a Trump brand? As Ivanka Trump is learning (again), use of an artist’s work without their permission can ignite social media firestorms and raise intellectual property issues.
Earlier this month, the ACLU published a report alleging that it had obtained public records showing that social media user data such as location tracking, photos and hashtag usage may have been used by law enforcement to monitor activists and protests. ACLU claims that records show that Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provided user data access to Geofeedia, a developer of a social media monitoring program that is marketed to law enforcement agencies as a tool for such tracking. According to the report, law enforcement used the monitoring program to track protests in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri.
In this political season, much has been made about late-night Twitter rants targeting women and other social media attacks on individuals and celebrities. Although these harsh online critiques create a more hostile cyber community, more imminent danger may arise from the safety risks that accompany online activity in general. Law-enforcement officials have long warned users against disclosing travel plans on social media to would-be thieves by, for example, posting pictures of a boarding pass from that long-awaited trip to Barcelona. But what about apps and services like Find My Friends, where users can share their location with up to 50 friends, or Snapchat, which shows a user’s location when posting an image or video? With a culture focused on sharing and instant access to information via social media feeds, it bears considering if location-revealing apps engender some inherent danger, whether the app developers disclose potential risks, and what steps can be taken to protect personal safety.
Today’s online world is all about engaging and staying connected with others via social media. For businesses, establishing a presence on various social media platforms is an enticing way to connect with current customers as well as foster new business.
Yet the immense popularity of social media sites can also draw unwanted attention to its users. Just as businesses are drawn to popular social medial sites to market their brands and products, so, too, are potential cybercriminals interested in targeting those who engage with these sites. On many of these platforms, user engagement is public. In other words, when a user chooses to “follow” a company or leave a comment, not only does the business take notice of the user, but everyone else on the platform can, as well, including those who are not themselves following the business. This provides a would-be cybercriminal a target-rich group upon whom to practice new (and old) scams.
Until recently, social media has been one of the only recourses for fashion designers and labels that have had their designs knocked off. Take the Acquazurra “Wild Thing” sandal, for example. Acquazzura is a high-end shoe brand that designed and released the $785 sandal, identifiable by its “wild” fringe on the toes. Shortly after, Ivanka Trump released the “Hettie” sandal, an almost identical shoe which, priced at $145, was almost $600 less expensive.
Stories of interest this week include discussions of “melt your brain” VR at YouTube; the resurrecting of deceased loved ones via social media history; transforming that key fob or piece of jewelry into a payment device; and more…