Calling social media “the next frontier in the developing law of the service of process over the internet,” a New York judge has allowed service of divorce papers via Facebook private messaging. This is either a cold invasion of one’s social media space or a practical solution to a service problem. Either way, it’s something few recipients will “Like.”
The following is a guest blog post by Jonathan Rubens, a principal at Javid Rubens LLP in San Francisco, which represents clients in business transactions and advises them on data security, privacy, trademark and copyright issues.
With the increasing use of social media by attorneys comes ethical risk. In Part 1 of the blog post, we discussed the risks involved with posting about ongoing matters and blogging without a disclaimer. Here are more tips to help you safely navigate the social media minefield.
Many employers have implemented employment contracts and policies that specifically provide that the employer owns all developments, technological or otherwise, by employees during their employment. But what happens when employees have pre-employment social media accounts that they use to develop business during their employment? And what happens when an employee uses his or her pre-existing social media account to market, advertise, and/or develop business for his or her employer?
The following is a guest blog post by Tyler M. Paetkau, a partner with Hartnett, Smith & Paetkau in Redwood City. Tyler represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment law. He’s a frequent author and speaker on labor and employment law issues, and the former Chair of the Executive Committee of the Labor and Employment Law Section of the State Bar of California.
The workplace has certainly been affected by the explosion of social media. Courts and administrative agencies are grappling with complex issues involving employee personal privacy, harassment, defamation, trade secret misappropriation, and union-organizing efforts in the age of social media. Although the rules are far from clear, there is some guidance for employers out there.
In a recent Florida case, the plaintiff lost $80,000 of settlement proceeds he had received on his employment discrimination claim after his daughter spilled the beans on Facebook. Breaching the confidentiality clause in a settlement agreement—and getting caught at it—is frighteningly easy in the age of social media.
The following is a guest blog post by Scott J. Corwin, founding attorney of the Los Angeles Motor Vehicle Accident Law Firm. For over 20 years, Mr. Corwin has represented more than 2,500 injured victims and has been named a Southern California SuperLawyer for eight years in a row.
These days it seems that everyone is using social media, connecting people in ways never thought possible even ten years ago. In personal injury cases, social media can cause serious damage—we’ve all heard horror stories of people receiving minor settlements after a compromising photo or post was seen on Facebook. As attorneys, we must inform our clients of these potential dangers and help them make informed decisions on the use of social media to protect the integrity of their cases.
Updated May 15, 2012: Eduardo Saverin, the Brazilian-born co-founder of Facebook with a 4 percent stake in the company (worth about $4 billion) reportedly renounced his U.S. citizenship last year to avoid or at least minimize the tax bill from future sales of stock in the company, and other investments. Unlike most countries, the United States imposes income tax on citizens as well as residents, and the capital gains tax on existing investments cannot be avoided entirely just by dropping citizenship, but it can sometimes be reduced. By renouncing his citizenship, Saverin will be taxed on the much smaller estimated gains that likely would have occurred if he had sold his stock last year, well before the initial public offering. For a detailed discussion of the so-called expatriation regime (exit tax), go to CEB’s California Estate Planning §§16.85–16.90A.
Facebook has announced that Mark Zuckerberg will exercise 120 million options to purchase the company’s stock in connection with its planned initial public offering, potentially resulting in a $2 billion tax bill.
Serving a complaint via Facebook may be in our future. As BusinessWeek.com reports, the practice of online legal service is spreading around the world as courts look for new ways to keep their dockets moving.
Yet another example of the law of unintended consequences at work: Those seemingly frivolous Facebook posts can be a prime source of evidence in a legal case. Facebook posts have a wide range of potential evidentiary value, from information on a person’s feelings, which may be particularly relevant in family law cases, to the use of geo-tagging for determining where a person was at a particular time.
Social media — including Facebook and Twitter — has quickly become part of our daily lives. User generated content (UGC), including images, video, audio, and text, are uploaded everyday without thought as to whether it is protected under copyright law. But some are starting to ask questions on the limits of copyright in social media. Is a single “tweet” on Twitter entitled to protection? If not, what about a string of compiled tweets?