Specialty Technical Publishers Releases New Publication on U.S. Social Media Law

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New Guide Offers Detailed Analysis of the Regulation of Social Media in the U.S.

The use of Social Media has become a common aspect of our daily lives – both private and in our business dealings. But there are many unanswered questions about the myriad aspects we take for granted, which could very well lead to legal complications.

Specialty Technical Publishers have announced the release of a new publication for the evolving field of U.S. Social Media Law. Social media now permeates most aspects of life and has become a vital tool in business too, used for everything from communicating with customers to hiring. Use of social media has outpaced regulation and users may find themselves unclear or even unaware of the legal implications of using it professionally.

The interaction between social media law and business law is of particular interest to business owners and managers who increasingly use social media and who need advice on a wide range of issues including consumer protection law, privacy, security, endorsements and promotions.

Use of social media raises many legal questions, for example:

  • What are the legal risks for businesses using social media information to hire employees?
  • Who owns intellectual property posted on social media?
  • What security precautions should employers take to prevent security breaches on social media?
  • Can employers discipline employees for off-duty conduct such as social media posts?
  • Can employers request employees’ social media log-in information?
  • What are the best practices in drafting a workplace social media policy?
  • What type of employee speech on social media is protected by law?
  • Is social media information discoverable in litigation?
  • What happens to social media assets when the account holder dies?

U.S. Social Media Law covers some international law but the laws and cases are mostly from the United States. However, as each country seeks to create a legal structure to govern the Internet nationally, its lawmakers inevitably look to existing law elsewhere. The publication includes a section on international law where some of the non-U.S. trends and laws are discussed.

Intellectual Property, of particular interest to business owners and managers, is also covered. Issues discussed include how courts have assessed copyright infringement and the fair use doctrine on social media. The publication also covers upcoming developments in social media and includes four “how to” checklists:

  • Review of Social Media
  • Developing a Social Media Policy
  • Planning for Disposition of Digital Estate
  • Guidelines for Online Sweepstakes and Contests

This guide is available online for US$89 and is also a new chapter in STP's publication Internet Law: The Complete Guide.    

Steve Britten, President of Specialty Technical Publishers notes:
“The use of Social Media has become a common aspect of our daily lives – both private and in our business dealings. But there are many unanswered questions about the myriad aspects we take for granted, which could very well lead to legal complications. This publication is the ideal starting point for company officers, legal counsel, and human resources professionals. Based on the laws of the United States many of the issues are universal, and this publication will be of value to business professionals in other countries.”

About the Authors
Eric P. Robinson, JD, PhD is an attorney and scholar focused on legal issues involving the media, including the Internet and social media. He is currently assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of South Carolina, focusing on media law and ethics. Previously he taught media law and ethics at Louisiana State University, the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism, Baruch College (CUNY), and the University of Nevada, Reno. He was also co-director of the Press Law and Democracy Project at Louisiana State University and deputy director of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Courts and Media. He has worked of counsel to the Counts Law Group, as an affiliate scholar with the Digital Media Law Project at Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, as a staff attorney at the Media Law Resource Center, and as a legal fellow at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Eric has published articles in several academic, legal, and professional journals, as well as several books and encyclopedias, and blogged for Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has also spoken at conferences and been interviewed on issues involving new media and technology, including by the Boston Globe, Associated Press, Oregon Public Radio, and The New York Times.

Michael J. Lambert, JD, DCL, received a Juris Doctor, Graduate Diploma in Comparative Law, and Bachelor of Arts in mass communication and journalism from Louisiana State University. He currently serves as a judicial clerk at the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. He held the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Legal Fellowship at the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C., where he submitted amicus briefs on behalf of the press to courts throughout the country, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh and Ninth Circuits as well as the California and Missouri Supreme Courts. His briefs tackled Internet law topics such as online speech, Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the right to be forgotten, and the application of anti-SLAPP statutes. He also guest-lectured graduate journalism classes at Georgetown University on the First Amendment and obscenity.

Michael worked for Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society at the Digital Media Law Project and Cyberlaw Clinic. There, he contributed to an international report on online intermediary liability and drafted a case study on the Espionage Act and WikiLeaks.

Michael’s writings have appeared in numerous publications. He published a Comment in the Louisiana Law Review on the First Amendment implications of a recently enacted statute and a piece for the Interdisciplinary Internet Institute on the U.S. Supreme Court case of Elonis v. United States. Before pursuing a legal career, he wrote extensively as a reporter for The Daily Reveille newspaper. He is licensed to practice law in the state of Louisiana and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Forum on Communications Law and Section of Intellectual Property Law.

About Specialty Technical Publishers
Specialty Technical Publishers (STP) produces technical resource guides covering environmental, health & safety, transportation, business practices, standards and law, offering comprehensive guidance on key compliance and regulatory issues. STP is a division of Glacier Media Inc., a Canadian information communications company that provides primary and essential information in print, electronic and online media. Glacier’s Business and Professional Information Group publishes directories, technical manuals, research and development materials, medical education, electronic databases, investment information and specialty websites.

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Lorraine O'Donovan
Specialty Technical Publishers
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