The rise of social media has led to unique challenges for businesses throughout the country, especially since the law in this area is continually evolving. Every statement that goes out from your company’s social media accounts may permanently remain in the public eye. In addition, even the statements of your employees who post on their own social media accounts might expose your company to liability.
With the uncertain legal landscape present in the social media world, it is essential to have a diligent internet law attorney on your side. A Boca Raton social media law attorney could help evaluate your company’s current online exposure. Our lawyers could also provide representation in a pending legal action that may have resulted from your company’s social media activity.
One common concept that arises when businesses open social media accounts is the idea of who owns that content. While it is rare for a business to seek out specific copyright protection on a Facebook post, Tweet, or Instagram picture, the fact is that the posters of this content are the owners of that intellectual property. However, when a party opens an account on a social media platform, the terms and conditions of use generally grant the platform’s owner the right to use that IP.
As a result, social media platforms have the right to save, copy, and distribute those posts or images as they see fit. This means that a post from a misinformed or disgruntled employee could lead to problems. In extreme situations, this could include the posting of proprietary information that exposes company secrets onto a public forum.
One way in which a social media law attorney in Boca Raton could help is in evaluating a business’s current online presence and potential exposure to liability. This can include determining who has control over social media accounts and exploring the potential for legal harm that goes out in every picture, Tweet, or Facebook post.
Even if a business does not have specific accounts on social media platforms tied to the organization, there may still be federal and state laws related to social media that have a profound impact on its day-to-day operations. A common example is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Codified at 15 United States Code § 6502, this act requires all operators of websites which offer services to children to publish a notice that they are collecting personal information about any person under the age of 13. They must also require a parent to accept these terms as a condition of a child accessing the website.
Businesses must be aware of this act if their social media posts attract children to their product, since it could create potential liability if a child’s personal data leaks to other sources.
State laws also control how employers may consider an employee’s online presence in terms of employment decisions. While Florida operates under the theory of at-will employment, it is also illegal to discriminate against a worker due to that worker’s sex, age, religion, or national origin. As a result, an employer who fires a worker after learning that they engaged in a particular religious ceremony or activity through a Facebook post is likely in violation of anti-discrimination laws. A Boca Raton social media lawyer could help guide a business as to how its online presence and activities interact with other key portions of the law.
It can be difficult to understand your company’s rights and obligations as it relates to social media. Many businesses do not realize that the posts they put up on Facebook, Twitter, or other mediums are their intellectual property. The owners of these platforms merely license the right to use them. Because of this, businesses must retain maximum control over what they post to social media and work to remain in compliance with all current federal and state laws.
A Boca Raton social media law attorney is ready to work with companies to explain their ownership rights to social media posts and prevent infringements upon their use. Place a call to Lomnitzer Law now to learn more.