Legal Issues in Social Media

As part of a Mass Communications class at the local community college,  I recently attended a lecture on Legal Issues in Social Media.  Presented by attorney Jake Rubenstein from Meckler, Bulger, Tilson, Marick & Pearson in Chicago, it was an informative presentation!

While most of the information I had heard at previous blogging conferences, there were a few interesting take aways that I thought I would share with you.

  1. You are legally liable for what you post whether or not you created it.
  2. Freedom of Speech does not protect you from getting fired from your employer for something you say.
  3. Use your real name.  It’s more credible.
  4. Make sure that if you are identified as an employee of a corporation that there is a disclaimer on all of your social media channels stating something to the effect of the opinions expressed are your own and do not reflect those of your employer or corporation.
  5. Make sure that you always cite your sources.
  6. There are two types of defamation; slander is verbal defamation and libel is written defamation.
  7. Jokes can be considered defamation.
  8. Original works are copyrighted at the time of creation.
  9. Any works published prior to 1923 are considered public domain and aren’t subject to copyright laws.  Any works past 1978 are considered to by copy written for the length of the author’s life plus 70 years.
  10. You can use copy written material without permission under the Fair Use Doctrine.  If you are using the material for commentary, teaching, news reporting, criticism or research and it does not “damage the works market value”, you are fine.  Fair Use does not apply if you are using the material for commercial use.

Lastly, there was a great YouTube video that was shown from Erik Qualman called “Social Media Video 2013:  Social Media Revolution 4*”.  Erik is a keynote speaker and a best-selling author of a book called “Socialnomics:  How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business”.

I found this video fascinating – especially considering that Facebook is only NINE years old.  What do you think?

*Source:  Social Media Video 2013:  Social Media Revolution 4.  Erik Qualman. YouTube.  equalman productions. November 7, 2012.


  1. very important info I wasn’t aware! Thank you Jen!

  2. love #2. some people seem to think freedom of speech means being free of consequences