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Twitter Publicly Announced it Privately Applied to Go Public

On Thursday, Twitter announced — by tweet, of course — that it has filed to go public. That is, Twitter submitted a  S-1 filing to the SEC for a planned IPO.  It did so confidentially, as allowed under the JOBS Act.  Twitter revealed this to the world 3 days ago through its own Twitter account in a brief tweeter…and minutes later, casually tweeted, “Now, back to work.” Twitter’s IPO plans are sure to be watched closely by the world.  Facebook going public was, of course, an enormous event filled with business and legal questions and activities.

Haynes and Boone Prepares One-of-a-Kind Portfolio on Social Media Law, Published by Bloomberg BNA

A team of Haynes and Boone attorneys led by partner David Bell  prepared a comprehensive guide to the corporate legal issues associated with social media that has just been released by Bloomberg BNA. Corporate Practice Series Portfolio No. 91, Social Media Law, is the first and only portfolio on social media law in the BNA series.  Visit the Haynes and Boone website for more information and access to the Portfolio on Social Media Law.

Recognition of Haynes and Boone Social Media Practice Group

Thanks to Law360 for recognizing our firm’s Social Media Practice Group in a recent article!

Cops Can Read Your Text Messages Without a Warrant

This article in Lawyers.com exlores the Washington State privacy act after the Court of Appeals in Washington rejected an argument that the state’s use of his text messages violated the privacy act. Providing commentary in the piece is Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner David Siegal.

In re Penthouse Executive Club: Can you Strip Away the Confidentiality of Litigation-Related Communications by Posting Them on Facebook?

If you are a plaintiff in a lawsuit, can you discuss the lawsuit with other plaintiffs on Facebook and keep these communications confidential?  What if the communications are between you and someone you hope will join the lawsuit but is not yet a party?  These questions were front and center before a District Court Judge in New Yorkregarding a class action wage and hour case under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  In re Penthouse Executive Club Compensation Litigation involves allegations by a group of exotic dancers that the Penthouse Executive Club failed to, among other things, properly pay them overtime and their share of tips.  As often is the case with FLSA matters, the named plaintiffs converted their lawsuit into a class or collective action.  To do so, they obtained from the court the right to issue notice to other similarly situated strippers who were then able to opt… Continue Reading

A Picture is Now Worth 800 Million Users

Facebook’s acquisition of the popular photo-sharing app Instagram portends exciting new opportunities for brands.  As an example of Instagram’s popularity, since December its user numbers nearly doubled—from 15 million users to 27 million users.  Likewise, when Instagram became available on Android, the number of users increased to 30 million, and one million of those users registered within the first 24 hours of availability. So, what does this acquisition mean for brands?  First, not all Instagram users are Facebook users and vice versa.  Obviously, with Instagram’s 30 million users and Facebook’s 800 million users, their integration provides brands with the opportunity to reach significantly more consumers. Moreover, if Instagram remains independent from Facebook, Instagram users will not be limited to sharing their photos on Facebook.  Instead, they will continue to share them on other social networks like Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Posterous and Foursquare.  What this means for brands is they will… Continue Reading

Unfashionable Firings: Judge Orders Clothing Store to Rehire Employees Who Lost Their Jobs Based on Facebook Posts.

Can you fire an employee who post on Facebook:  “Hey dudes, it’s totally cool, tomorrow, I’m bringing aCaliforniaworkers rights book to work.  My mom works for a law firm that specializes in labor law and BOY will you be surprised by all the crap that’s going on that’s in violation?”  The employee was one of three workers who had been complaining to store management that the store should shut down an hour early so employees could avoid unsavory street people when exiting the store late at night.  After a heated exchange with store management over the subject, three employees complained about the manager on Facebook and posted about brining the “Californiaworkers rights book,” which the employee did the next day.  According to Administrative Law Judge William G. Kocol of the National Labor Relations Board, clothing retailer Bettie Page Clothing committed an unfair labor practice when it fired these three employees… Continue Reading

More Than Words of Disparagement: Does an Anti-Union Post Have to be Extreme to Go too Far?

In the union context, a significant degree of “vituperative speech” is allowed in the “heat of labor relations.”  For example, an owner of 10 Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in the Minneapolis-St Paul area was subject to an organizing campaign by the International Workers of the World where some disparaging comments were being served on the union.  During the union campaign, various managers and employees set up an anti-union Facebook page, which was open to anyone.  A National Labor Relations Board Judge recently ruled, among other things, that some conduct of management on the Facebook page constituted an unfair labor practice, interfering with an affected employee’s Section 7 rights under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).  Basically, some managers posted unflattering comments regarding a pro-union employee. The case is Miklin Enterprises, Inc. and Industrial Workers of the World (case numbers 18-ca-19707; 18-ca-19727; and 18-ca-19760) (April 20, 2012).  This is a recent… Continue Reading

Social Media Background Checks

You may recall our post a few weeks ago regarding the dangers in using social media to screen potential applicants for employment.   Some states have reacted recently by proposing laws banning an employer from even requesting a social media password of an applicant in the interview process (a topic of a forthcoming post on this blog).  Against this background, many employers are deciding that it is best to use a third-party service for researching social media information regarding candidates.  Curious to see what options are out there for your company? Check out a good example of the approach being taken with Social Media Delivered.

Subpoenaing ISPs For User Identities May Now Be More Difficult–At Least in Florida

In decisions that could have positive implications for bloggers and other social media users who wish to maintain their anonymity, two judges in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County, Florida have recently quashed subpoenas seeking the disclosure of the identify of hundreds of nationwide “John Doe” defendants. In the two cases, plaintiffs Open Mind Solutions, Inc. and Boy Racer Inc. issued the subpoenas to a number of Internet Service Providers (“ISPs”).  Although the John Does are alleged to have infringed the plaintiffs’ copyrights in motion pictures through file sharing, rendering jurisdiction exclusive in federal court, the cases were filed in state court under a procedure called a “pure bill of discovery.”  One judge noted in dismissing the suit filed by OpenMind Solutions without prejudice that OpenMind Solutions could amend the suit if it named the ISPs from which it sought discovery as parties (to allow the ISPs to assert available defenses) and alleged that any specific John Doe actually committed… Continue Reading

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