Welcome to the website of the Digital Media Law Project. The DMLP was a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society from 2007 to 2014. Due to popular demand the Berkman Klein Center is keeping the website online, but please note that the website and its contents are no longer being updated. Please check any information you find here for accuracy and completeness.
The regulation of commercial speech on social media sites continues to increase. In late March, a federal court in California held that Facebook postings fit within the definition of "commercial electronic mail message" under the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited
Pornography and Marketing Act ("CAN-SPAM Act;" 15 U.S.C. § 7701, et seq.).
The Federal Trade Commission has announced the first monetary penalty under its "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising": a $250,000 settlement with a company that sells guitar lessons on DVDs.
The Office of Fair Trading, the British equivalent of the United States Federal Trade Commission, has determined that the hiring of bloggers and other social media contributors to promote particular products without adequate disclosure of the relationship may violate U.K. consumer protection laws. Handpicked Media Ltd (Handpicked Media), Case Ref. CRE-E-25932 (OFT Dec. 13, 2010).
A Connecticut company suspended and then fired an employee for making disparaging comments on Facebook about the company and about her supervisor.
Not in dispute is that the employee’s actions violated the company’s social media and other personnel policies, which (among other things) prohibited depicting the company ‘in any way’ on Facebook or other social media sites or from “disparaging” or “discriminatory” “comments when discussing the company or the employee’s superiors” and “co-workers.”
An exercise we did Friday at Univeristy of Nevada, Reno's High School Journalism Day raised
an interesting legal question: can a public university restrict its
students' use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
"Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says 'Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.' Man bursts into tears. Says 'But, doctor...I am Pagliacci.'" - Rorchach's Journal, Oct.
It is hard to know how to feel when a court does the right thing for the wrong reasons. On April 2, in United States v. Russell, the D.C. Court of Appeals vacated an immutable 30-year computer and Internet ban as a condition for the supervised release of a sex offender.
We are looking for contributing authors with expertise in media law, intellectual property, First Amendment, and other related fields to join us as guest bloggers. If you are interested, please contact us for more details.