Social media and the law - book review

Social media is an inevitable and integral part of the lives of most individuals around the world seeking to communicate and share information. In terms of businesses and other organisations, social media is  largely a marketing channel for reaching citizens, members, users and customers.

As of 25 November 2014, according to Internet Live Stats, in every second:

  • 8,090 Tweets are sent;
  • 91,978 YouTube videos are viewed;
  • 1,507 Instagram photos are uploaded;
  • 1,605 Tumblr posts are made.

A proliferation of social media platforms now exist on an internet with a global population of three billion. Use of them is examined by these authors of this new Australian law book:

Patrick George, Monica Allen, Sefanie Benson, Joseph Collins, Justine Munsie, Gabriella Rubagotti and Gavin Stuart, Social Media and the Law, LexisNexis Australia, 2014. (Price: $140).

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Social media lawyer favours online collaboration

Web developments are providing new possibilities for collaboration. They involve new ways of using blogs, portals, extranets, intranets, podcasts, wikis or other forms of what might be broadly termed social media or social software. You could replace the word "social" with "collaborative" and it would still work as a good descriptor of what's great and new in IT today.

These new media form an emerging information infrastructure facilitating participation and collaboration in ways that make working together better, faster, cheaper and easier than what came before. What came before includes Lotus Notes, chain email communication, sneaker nets, faxes and phone calls.

Yet in May 2007 it is still the rare knowledge workers walking the streets of Sydney in a grey suit who "gets" the possibilities these very new media present for collaboration in business.

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Letter of Demand Species

Sending a letter of demand (cease and desist letter) is like laying the foundation of a very tall building. Everything that follows in that dispute is built upon that foundation.

For disagreements with customers, clients, suppliers, service providers and similar relationships gone bad, a letter of demand formally escalates the dispute to a new level. In the case of infringement of legal rights, it is often the very first contact you have with the letter's recipient. In either case it is critical to send the right message the first time.

Here’s some of the poorer species of letters of demand we’ve seen over the years that have caused headaches for their senders.

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It's a patent rip-off

Sue Hoban | The Manly Daily | 27 October 2004

"There are a lot of small businesses that have become very large businesses by standing their ground in regard to patents" - Lawyer, Noric Dilanchian.

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Innovation defined

Like "cool", the word "innovation" long ago became a general and imprecise term.

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Future IT

Waves are a common and useful metaphor for change, including for technological change.

Long-term waves in IT history, as observed by Brenda Laurel, are discussed in Structured networks and the next internet wave.

Contemporary waves were discussed last month in Technology Waves and the Hypernet by IT investors, Roger McNamee and Mike Maples in their new blog, The Hypernet.

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Entrepreneurship resources

Knowledge on entrepreneurship has many sources. Resources listed here begin with magazines, journals, and blogs. It extends to standards, industry associations, stock exchanges and university courses.

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Commercialisation success stories and guides

Lightbulb is an Australian IP law blog focused on commercialisation of intellectual property. Over the last three years it has motivated us to research and write many IP commercialisation success stories.

Our portfolio of stories covers an inspiring range of successful products, services, business systems and technologies. It ends with a list of guides designed to help you build your success story.

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Copyright legal advice pays long term

Yesterday there was confirmation that legal advice pays, sometimes only long term. Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd, a small Queensland-based telephone directory company, struck down giants - Telstra, Sensis and their claims to copyright in listings in the Yellow Pages and White Pages.

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Anton Joseph

Bachelor of Laws, Masters in Taxation, Bachelor of Mathematics

Special Counsel

Anton Joseph's commercial law career spans over 20 years, a wide breadth of businesses, and legal practice in Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Throughout, his focus has been on investment and taxation law, complemented by his knowledge of mathematics.

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"People and IP are our greatest assets"

If you say that, then what are you doing about it this year? If you are doing something - is it designed to stand your company or organisation apart from competitors or make its products, services, processes or reputation shine in the marketplace? Are you sure?

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Transitioning China into a global IP power

When the wind of change blows, some build walls while others build windmills.

If you had to choose a word or phrase to describe China, what would it be? Populous? Changing fast? What about innovative? That is in fact China’s aim – to become an innovative, knowledge-based intellectual property (“IP”) powerhouse.

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Hidden costs of trade mark registrations

Few people in business, and few lawyers, appreciate the importance of integrating design and legal thinking in the two related processes of brand design and trade mark registration.

Experienced trade mark lawyers know that not all trade mark registrations are created equal. They don’t always tell clients this truth.

Each month hundreds or thousands of very low quality marks are registered by IP Australia.

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Are bloggers journalists?

Are bloggers and those who post in social media journalists are Australian law?

The question has important legal implications. The answer varies greatly depending on the area of law or legal context.

A great deal has been written on the question in schools of journalism and other social sciences. In some areas of law the question is not likely to be easily settled for years.

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Why collaboration contracts are popular

Business owners and executives worry when fortunes decline as competitors enter their former stable market. They worry over fewer calls from customers, lower sales and their best staff leaving one after another. The response is typically cost cutting.

What is it that nimble competitors are doing differently?

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