Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business [NOOK Book]


The plain-English business guide to avoiding social media legal risks and liabilities—for anyone using social media for business—written specifically for non-attorneys!

You already know social media can help you find customers, strengthen relationships, and build your reputation, but if you are not careful, it also can expose your company to expensive legal issues and regulatory scrutiny. This insightful, first-of-its-kind book provides business professionals with strategies for...

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Navigating Social Media Legal Risks: Safeguarding Your Business

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The plain-English business guide to avoiding social media legal risks and liabilities—for anyone using social media for business—written specifically for non-attorneys!

You already know social media can help you find customers, strengthen relationships, and build your reputation, but if you are not careful, it also can expose your company to expensive legal issues and regulatory scrutiny. This insightful, first-of-its-kind book provides business professionals with strategies for navigating the unique legal risks arising from social, mobile, and online media. Distilling his knowledge into a 100% practical guide specifically for non-lawyers, author and seasoned business attorney, Robert McHale, steps out of the courtroom to review today’s U.S. laws related to social media and alert businesses to the common (and sometimes hidden) pitfalls to avoid. Best of all, McHale offers practical, actionable solutions, preventative measures, and valuable tips on shielding your business from social media legal exposures associated with employment screening, promotions, endorsements, user-generated content, trademarks, copyrights, privacy, security, defamation, and more...


You’ll Learn How To

•   Craft legally compliant social media promotions, contests, sweepstakes, and advertising campaigns

•   Write effective social media policies and implement best practices for governance

•   Ensure the security of sensitive company and customer information

•   Properly monitor and regulate the way your employees use social media

•   Avoid high-profile social media mishaps that can instantly damage reputation, brand equity, and goodwill, and create massive potential liability

•   Avoid unintentional employment and labor law violations in the use of social media in pre-employment screening

•   Manage legal issues associated with game-based marketing, “virtual currencies,” and hyper-targeting

•   Manage the legal risks of user-generated content (UGC)

•   Protect your trademarks online, and overcome brandjacking and cybersquatting

•   Understand the e-discovery implications of social media in lawsuits




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780133033649
  • Publisher: Pearson Education
  • Publication date: 5/15/2012
  • Series: Que Biz-Tech
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,214,017
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Robert McHale, Esq., is the founding member of R McHale Law (, a full-service law firm whose corporate practice represents clients on a wide variety of IT and intellectual property law matters, including privacy and data security, trademark, copyright, trade secrets, technology licensing, and other proprietary protections. By leveraging his business instinct, technical insight, and legal experience, Robert helps companies develop legal strategies that best promote their business objectives. His areas of focus include general corporate law, business litigation, web/mobile applications, online marketing, new media, and Internet and e-commerce technology.


Robert is a member of the Massachusetts bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.


He is a graduate of St. John’s College (BA) and Boston University School of Law (JD).


You can reach Robert at and follow him on Twitter at @rmchalelaw.


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

How This Book Is Organized

Who Should Use This Book?

Features of This Book

A Quick Note about U.S. Legal System

Legal Disclaimer


1 Social Media Promotion Law: Contests and Sweepstakes

Online Promotions

        Sweepstakes Laws

        Contest Laws

        Lottery Laws

Potential Legal Issues Associated With Public Voting

Keeping Social Media Promotional Campaigns Legal

Online Promotions Outside the United States

Sweepstakes Versus Illegal Online Gambling

Platform-Specific Guidelines






2 Online Endorsements and Testimonials: What Companies and Their Employees Can and Cannot Tweet, Blog, or Say

Fundamental Principles of Endorsements and Testimonials

Endorsement or Not?

Determining Liability

Making Necessary Disclosures

        Hyperlinked Disclosures

        General Rules for Disclosures

        Disclosures in Social Media

Lessons Learned from FTC Investigative and Enforcement Actions


3 The [Mis]Use of Social Media in Pre-Employment Screening

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Real-World Examples

        FTC v. Social Intelligence Corp

        FTC v. the Marketers of 6 Mobile Background Screening Apps

        Robins v. Spokeo, Inc


4 Monitoring, Regulating, and Disciplining Employees Using Social Media

Employee Monitoring

Employer Regulation

Employee Discipline for Social Media Use

        Ambulance Service Provider

        Chicago Luxury Car Dealer

        Advice Memoranda

 Lawfully Disciplining Employees


5 Social Media in Litigation and E-Discovery: Risks and Rewards

E-Discovery of Social Media

The Stored Communications Act

Authenticating Social Networking Site Evidence at Trial


6 Managing the Legal Risks of User-Generated Content

Copyright in the Age of Social Media

        Direct Infringement

        Contributory Infringement

        Vicarious Infringement

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

Defamation, Invasion of Privacy, and CDA Immunity

        Limitations of CDA Immunity


7 The Law of Social Advertising

The FTC Act

Best Practices for Social Media Advertising

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

        COPPA Enforcement

        Proposed Changes to COPPA



8 Trademark Protections from Brandjacking and Cybersquatting in Social Networks

Notable Cases of Brandjacking and Cybersquatting

Trademark Infringement Under the Lanham Act

The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA)

        Post-Domain Path Names and the ACPA

Platform-Specific Trademark Enforcement Mechanisms

        Twitter Policies

        LinkedIn Policies

        Facebook Policies

Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution


9 Balancing Gamification Legal Risks and Business Opportunities

Unfair and Deceptive Marketing Practices

FTC Guidelines on Endorsements

Legal Status of Virtual Goods

The Credit CARD Act of 2009

Other Little-Known Laws Relating to Virtual Currencies

    Location-Based Services

    Designing a Precise Geolocation Data Security Plan


10 Social Media’s Effect on Privacy and Security Compliance

Privacy Compliance

Security Compliance


11 Legal Guidelines for Developing Social Media Policies and Governance Models

Vital Corporate Social Media Policy Provisions

Recommended Social Media Marketing Policies


12 Looking Ahead at Social Media Business Opportunities, Expectations, and Challenges


A Table of Legal Authorities

B The Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914

C The Lanham Act—Section 43(a)

D The Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA)

E Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

F Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA)

G Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule

H FTC’s Revised Guides Concerning Use of Endorsements  and Testimonials in Advertising

I Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003

J The Copyright Act

K Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA)

L Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

M Electronic Communications Privacy Act

N National Labor Relations Act

O The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006

P Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996




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