How Law Connects with Social Media

How Law Connects with Social Media

IHow Law Connects with Social Median the world today, It seems that everyone is a member of a social network. Whether it is intentional or not, people spend more than five years of their lives on social media according to a study by the marketing agency, Mediakix. There are inherent legal risks that can arise through the use of social networks and at Bernard M. Tully Attorney at Law, we are here to help you.

If you have a car accident or slip and fall case it’s CRUCIAL to remember the following: Anything you say or post on social media is subject to discovery by the insurance company and they will use it against you. For example, if you are claiming back or neck injuries and there’s a picture of you skiing or working out on social media you have a major problem.

Many ask, what are the legal obligations that arise out of the use of social networks for users and the social media companies themselves? At this time, the law is in an area that is still constantly changing regarding this subject. However, some recent developments have created an intriguing precedent including some legislation in motion.


What are laws that social networking websites must comply to?

In terms of the legal liabilities and obligations of social networking sites there are two laws that stand out which include: Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.


Breakdown of Section 512

Section 512 eliminates liability for copyright infringement from websites that permit users to post content, as long as the site has a mechanism in place whereby the copyright owner can request the removal of infringing content. The site must also not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity.

This creates an interesting issue for most websites that allow users to post music, photos or video. For example, several content owners, including media giant Viacom, have sued YouTube, the video sharing site, for copyright infringement, and YouTube has claimed a 512(c) defense. The difficulty is that if YouTube benefits financially from showing videos that are copyrighted they could be in some trouble. This could require YouTube to restructure its business model completely.


Breakdown of Section 230

How Law Connects with Social Media

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects social media companies from specific liability in relation to the publication of information provided by a third party. This typically arises in the context of defamation, privacy, negligence and other tort claims. However, it does not cover criminal liability, copyright infringement or other intellectual property claims.

Therefore, if a user posts defamatory or otherwise illegal content, Section 230 shields the social network provider from certain liability arising out of the platform. However, websites that create or develop contested information, are deemed “content providers” and do not benefit from the protections of Section 230.


How Law Connects with Social Media continues to evolve each day. If you or a friend feels that you are being harassed or threatened through social media, contact Bernard M. Tully today. With over 30 years of experience, we can help you navigate the ever-changing world that we live in.