Connecticut businesses rely heavily on social media to promote and market their goods and services. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and Tik Tok, running a business without using social media is almost impossible. But if not used carefully, social media can expose your company to a world of legal problems. Many businesses, especially smaller ones, are unaware of the various laws governing different aspects of social media.
Aeton Law Partners is here to help. We work with Connecticut business clients to help them avoid wading into legal minefields. We also defend them in the event they are sued over matters related to social media. Here, our business attorneys explain some mistakes you should be sure to avoid.
Infringing Copyright Protections
It’s common for businesses to post photographs they find online. Some companies modify these images, for example by overlaying them with a corporate logo. However, photographs are subject to copyright law, and that includes protections against unlicensed commercial use. Simply downloading a photo does not make it yours, even if it’s already been posted in several places online.
And therein lies the issue with copyrighted photos. Determining who holds the copyright is not always easy. It could be the site hosting it, but it may not be. Another company, or the photographer, or the individual(s) photographed in the picture, may own it. This is an avoidable problem, however, because companies can purchase photo licenses for a reasonable price. Ask a Connecticut business attorney.
Posting a fake review of your business is bad ethics, but it could also land your company in hot water. States are cracking down more and more on this behavior, known as astroturfing. Often, they file claims of unfair and deceptive business practices. Astroturfing could take the form of creating a dummy account to post a fake review. It may also mean paying someone with a legit account to post what is still an artificial testimonial.
Even if you don’t face legal action for fake social media reviews, your business could suffer in other ways. Consumers don’t react well to these tactics. So your company might end up losing its reputation even without suffering legal problems.
Contests, Promotions, and Sweepstakes
There’s a good chance you have probably run some sort of promotion or contest on your social media page. You may have even asked customers to enter sweepstakes with hopes of winning a prize. Although these seem harmless, such social media campaigns can implicate a number of different laws.
For example, states have limitations on gambling, lotteries, and similar activities. The good news is, that contests and other promotions can legally be conducted. The Federal Trade Commission and state regulators have guidelines for doing so. Also, an experienced Connecticut business lawyer can advise you.
The individuals who manage your social media page should always do so carefully. This is especially true with respect to posts or comments made about competitors or customers. Some of this content can be defamatory in a certain context.
Defamation is a major problem on social media, although it is not always prosecuted. However, an enterprising rival – or attorney – could find something on your social media profile that is arguably defamatory. If you’re the business owner and you’ve designated someone to manage your social media, take time to occasionally monitor content.
Guiding Your Connecticut Business to Success
Our firm understands the various laws that affect social media activities. We can advise your business on policies and procedures that help minimize the risk of pitfalls like those above. In the event you are sued over your social media, we can defend you. It may even be possible to settle the lawsuit outside of court.
Count on Aeton Law Partners to defend the best interests of your Connecticut business. Schedule your consultation today.