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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?á?áS-1 filing to the SEC?áfor a planned IPO.?á It did so confidentially, as allowed under the JOBS Act.?á 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.?á Facebook going public?áwas, of course, an enormous event filled with business and legal questions and activities.

A Look at Proposed Social Media Guidance to Financial Institutions

Earlier this year, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) issued a notice for comment on proposed social media guidelines to financial institutions. While it remains unclear when the final supervisory guidance will issue, financial institutions would be shrewd to take certain steps. First, financial institutions should build the issues raised in the draft guidance into their risk assessment processes and enterprise-wide compliance management programs when using social media to communicate with customers. Second, the boards of directors of financial institutions also must ensure that qualified management is in place to monitor changes in both an institution?ÇÖs social media delivery channels and content thereon. In January 2013, the FFIEC issued the ?Ç£Social Media: Consumer Compliance Risk Management Guidance?Ç¥ (?Ç£the Guidance?Ç¥) specifically to banks, savings associations, and credit unions, as well as to nonbank entities supervised by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Guidance does not impose additional obligations, but rather… Continue Reading

Recognition of Haynes and Boone Social Media Practice Group

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

State Supreme Court Decision Offers First Amendment Guidance for Attorney-Bloggers

A February 28, 2013 decision issued by the Virginia Supreme Court, which arose out of a disciplinary action instituted by the Virginia State Bar, contains a groundbreaking discussion of the application of First Amendment protections to attorney-generated blogs. Horace Hunter, an attorney with the Richmond firm Hunter & Lipton, authors the blog in question, ?Ç£This Week in Richmond Criminal Defense.?Ç¥ At the time of the state bar?ÇÖs disciplinary hearing, the blog included 30 posts written by Hunter, 25 of which discussed cases and were scrutinized in this matter.?á Of the 25 posts: 22 discussed cases in which Hunter represented either a criminal defendant or a plaintiff in a wrongful death action. Hunter referred to his law firm in 19 posts. Most posts relayed some measure of victory for Hunter and his firm. No post contained a disclaimer stating that the results discussed did not guarantee or predict similar results in… Continue Reading

Texas Bill Would Make Service via Facebook the Law

Texas lawmakers will consider a bill that would specifically allow for service of legal process via Facebook or other social media sites. House Bill 1989 was introduced earlier this week by Rep. Jeff Leach (R ?Çô Plano), a recently elected lawmaker and an associate at a Dallas law firm. The short bill provides that a Texas court may permit as a method of service ?Ç£an electronic communication sent to the defendant through a social media website,?Ç¥ provided the court finds that: the defendant maintains a social media page on that website; the profile on the social media page is the profile of the defendant; the defendant regularly accesses the social media page account; and the defendant could reasonably be expected to receive actual notice if the electronic communication were sent to the defendant’s account. As we have previously noted, courts in Australia, New Zealand and the UK have permitted service… Continue Reading

Gripes on Yelp Prompt Controversial Rulings

Consumer reviews posted on the popular website Yelp have sparked recent litigation in Florida and Virginia. One case concerned the admissibility of Yelp reviews as evidence, and the other raised the issue of unconstitutional prior restraint. Florida Court Permits Use of Yelp Reviews to Show Actual Confusion Proving likelihood of confusion is a key element of a trademark infringement claim. A trademark infringement case often will turn on whether the plaintiff can show that consumers are likely to confuse the plaintiff?ÇÖs goods or services with those of the defendant. Evidence of actual consumer confusion can weigh powerfully in the plaintiff?ÇÖs favor. In You Fit Inc. v. Pleasanton Fitness LLC, the plaintiff had submitted two Yelp reviews of a fitness club as evidence that consumers were actually confused by the defendants?ÇÖ use of its ?Ç£YOU FIT?Ç¥ mark. According to the court’s February 11, 2013 order, the defendants were two former franchisees… Continue Reading

#Transparency: Twitter Modifies its DMCA Procedure to Point Out Copyright Complaints

Twitter announced on November 2nd that it was revising its takedown procedures under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. ?º 512(c). Twitter?ÇÖs new Copyright and DMCA Policy indicates that Twitter will no longer simply delete a tweet that is the target of a DMCA takedown notice.?á The deleted tweet or image will now be replaced by the following statement: ?Ç£This Tweet from @Username has been withheld [or, This image has been removed] in response to a report from the copyright holder.?Ç¥ This change brings Twitter more in line with the practices of certain other online service providers.?á For example, upon receipt of a DMCA notification regarding a YouTube video, Google replaces the video with the message ?Ç£This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by [copyright holder].?Ç¥?á Not all social media sites conform to this practice, however.?á Facebook, for example, will simply remove infringing content or… Continue Reading

Facebook Sued over Newly Launched ?Ç£Want?Ç¥ Button

You can?ÇÖt always get what you want, and sometimes just wanting can be problematic. Facebook was sued in federal court on Friday for its recent launch of a ?Ç£Want?Ç¥ button ?Çô a feature that lets users create wish lists of products by clicking a button that appears beside the products online. Facebook recently announced that it was testing the new feature on the websites of several online retailers, including Pottery Barn, Nieman Marcus, and Victoria?ÇÖs Secret.?á Facebook is also trying out a ?Ç£Collect?Ç¥ button and the familiar ?Ç£Like?Ç¥ button to see which of the three draws more clicks. But a Michigan company called CVG-SAB, LLC claims that it has marketed and used a ?Ç£Want?Ç¥ button in essentially the same way since September 2010.?á The company, which operates the websites wantbutton.com and wanttt.com, also owns several U.S. trademark registrations, and even more pending applications, for the term ?Ç£WANT?Ç¥ when used in… Continue Reading

I’m genuinely honored to be speaking today together with such an impressive group of speakers at the SMU Corporate Counsel Symposium.?á I’m on at 3:15 to talk about hot topics in social media law?á- in a good time slot, right after a coffee break…!?á Hope to see some of our blog readers there!

Embedded Liability? Site Owners May Not be Liable for User Links to Infringing Content

Last month, artist Christopher Boffoli filed suit against Twitter for contributory copyright infringement, alleging it failed to take down unauthorized copies of his images posted on Twitter and to disable tweets linking to or promoting those and other unauthorized copies.?á According to the complaint, filed in the Western District of Washington (Case No. 2:12-cv-01534), Boffoli sent DMCA takedown requests in July and August, but Twitter did not comply with them. This lawsuit highlights an interesting area of copyright law, involving websites that allow users to bookmark (post links to or embed) infringing content located elsewhere.?á Recent decisions in this area, including a Seventh Circuit opinion vacating a preliminary injunction entered against a video bookmarking site, suggest that simply linking to an infringing site (or allowing someone to post such a link on your site) may not constitute either direct or contributory infringement. In the Seventh Circuit case, Flava Works, Inc.… Continue Reading

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