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Posts Tagged ‘social media copyrights

Athletes have been training all over the world for months, preparing for the 2010 Winter Olympics that will begin later this week.  This year viewers will see new options for following the games, many of them will come in the form of social media.  Twitter and Facebook pages for the games and many of its teams and athletes will be a flutter with news and results. Social media will play back up to NBC coverage, but will likely be taking a much more prominent role for viewers interested in the 2010 games in Vancouver.

Social media in 2010 is a powerful enough communication too for the Olympic committee to regulate how athletes use it.  Regulations and laws around the Olympics are strict and are revisited year-to-year to ensure equality among competitors.  This year, the committee decided that in order to protect infringements on copyrights and contracts athletes have restricted use of social media. They can use social media outlets, but exactly what they can post is restricted. Although it seems just what is and what isn’t acceptable maybe understood differently from athlete to athlete. A recent CNN story on this issues revealed that some athletes will be “benching” themselves from their twitter and facebook accounts in order to avoid complications.

The legal issues the Olympic committee is trying to avoid lie with endorsement contracts, sponsor references to those not partnered with the Olympics and the committees desire to avoid those who aren’t journalists acting as if they are.  It is interesting to see the committee honor journalists in ways they aren’t seeing as of late.  The Olympics is an event that should be reported by trained journalists, and not by the athletes themselves. In years past athletes wouldn’t have been able to report up to the minutes stats, feelings and news as they can today.  The article  outlines just how athletes should feel they can use social media services throughout the games.

“‘Athletes are free to blog during the Games,’ says Bob Condron, the Director of Media Services for the United States Olympic Committee. ‘And Twitter is just a blog that’s written 140 characters at a time.’

There are some restrictions on what athletes can do online during the Olympics. According to the IOC Blogging Guidelines for the 2010 Games, athletes and other accredited people must keep their posts confined to their personal experiences.

‘You can’t act as a journalist if you aren’t,’ says Condron. ‘You need to do things in a first person way.'” (1)

This article and the social media coverage around the games is another example of how social media use is requiring legal restrictions.  The Olympic committee did the right thing in thinking ahead about how athletes would use their social media outlets and how this could cause infringements on many Olympics sponsor regulations.  However, athletes have also been quoted saying they will be taking to social media to report on their Olympic journeys, it should be an interesting winter games, tune in on NBC or your favorite social media outlet!

1) McClusky, M. (2010, February 5). Athletes confused by Olympic social media rules – CNN.com. CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/0

Source for my final paper on the legal implications of social media will include, but may not be limited to the following:

1)   Associated Press. (2010, February 4). House adds cell phone restricions to texting bill – BostonHerald.com. Mobile – BostonHerald.com. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.bostonherald.com/news/politics/view.bg?articleid=1230674&srvc=rss

2)   Barnes, S. (2006, September 1). Barnes. First Monday. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://firstmonday.org/htbin/cgiwrap/bin/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1394/1312

3)   Goldsmith, J., & Wu, T. (2006).Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World. New York: Oxford University Press, USA.

4)    Solove, D. J. (2008). The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet. New Haven: Yale University Press.

5)    Tanneeru, M. (2009, November 17). Can the law keep up with technology? – CNN.com.CNN.com – Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved January 23, 2010, from http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/11/17/law.technology/index.html

6)   Viscounty, P., Archie, J., Alemi, F., & Allen, J. (n.d.). Social Networking and the Law: Virtual Social Communities Are Creating Real Legal Issues. American Bar Association – Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.abanet.org/buslaw/blt/2009-03-04/viscounty.shtml

7)    WATKINS, T. (2010, February 2). Use of Twitter, Facebook rising among gang members – washingtonpost.com. washingtonpost.com – nation, world, technology and Washington area news and headlines. Retrieved February 7, 2010, from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020200499.html

Social media is an umbrella that covers many kinds of sites, services and devices.  While each area of social is causing legal waves of different forms, social networking is often at the forefront of legal cases involving social media. Social networking invites the kinds of information sharing and user interaction that other forms of social media do not.  Facebook and MySpace have been at the helm of social networking for years, and they have certainly had their share of legal troubles. While each of the aforementioned sites have worked tirelessly at refining privacy settings and working to limit issues like copyright infringement, their work is never done. In the world of social networking innovation in key, and with innovation comes new uses (that often unplanned), all these uses must be considered from a legal safety standpoint.

As I mentioned copyright infringement is often an area social networking sites need to be careful of.  Users are posting copyrighted photos, videos and music all the time, sites must work day in and day out looking and removing this material. As stated on a Once social networking site that has done this with a good deal of success if YouTube. While users can post videos of all kinds YouTube combs through each and every video that comes to their site. If a video hold copyrights it is removed, if the music used in the video is protected the sound is removed, inappropriate content in removed, at least that is the idea. In 2007 the site may have made a mistake, as stated by The Bar Association website,

“Viacom and YouTube are currently litigating over the appropriate application of these provisions to social networking Web sites. In early 2007, Viacom brought a lawsuit against YouTube in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for copyright infringement, seeking damages of $1 billion. Viacom claims that a large portion of the videos displayed on YouTube are copyrighted materials.” (1)

Here we see an issue of copyright coming involving two media power houses and a great deal of money. As of the yet the case has yet to reach a verdict, but provides a clear example of how legal issues are effecting even the most high-end and organized social networking sites.

Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace must work around copyright issues as YouTube, but are most prominently involved in cases that ensure user safety. This is because anyone can have a profile on these kinds of sites, and many people who are dangerous.  Legal teams have worked hard to ensure that these sites monitor user interaction and even report users who are registered sex offenders.  In late 2007 the New York attorney general serviced Facebook with many warnings about users safety issues.  As stated by Caroline MacCarthy on her the social cnet news blog,

“Cuomo’s office issued an open letter (click here for PDF) to Facebook accompanied by a subpoena for documents, claiming that an undercover investigation revealed that investigators posing as young users of the site (12 to 14 years old) were “repeatedly solicited by adult sexual predators.” The most troubling part, the attorney general’s office asserted, was that Facebook apparently had been slow or unresponsive in addressing many of the complaints that were lodged as investigators posed as both minors and parents of minors.” (2)

This provides a clear example of the kinds of legal issues social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace battle. The battle is one that will never end, social media sites of all kinds invite information sharing and that can often lead to legal trouble. While social networking has opened the door for many relationships, connections and learning situations that never existed before, they also are challenging legal teams and their administrators with never before seen cases. Social networking use will always invite legal complications.

1) Social Networking and the Law: Virtual Social Communities Are Creating Real Legal Issues. (n.d.). American Bar Association – Defending Liberty, Pursuing Justice. Retrieved January 2, 2010, from http://www.abanet.org/buslaw/blt/2009-03-04/viscounty.shtml

2) McCarthy, C. (2007, October 1). Facebook’s legal issues escalate as N.Y. attorney general strengthens warnings | The Social – CNET News.Technology News – CNET News. Retrieved January 24, 2010, from http://news.cnet.com/8301-13577_3-9788413-36.html


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