Social Media Law Presentation Slides for MENG Webinar

I recently had the pleasure of presenting a nationally broadcast webinar on social media law to MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group) which is a national network of top-level marketing executives. You can learn more about MENG by visiting its website and you can learn more about my presentation by visiting MENG’s webpage promoting the webinar.

Thanks to the hard work and experience of the MENG team, the technical aspects of the webinar were very smooth and the participants had fabulous questions that made it even better. Presenting to MENG was a great experience that I really appreciate!

The slides from the presentation titled Social Media Law: It is Real, and, Yes, It Really Can Impact Your Business are available HERE.

 


 

About the author

Shawn Tuma is a lawyer who is experienced in advising clients on complex digital information law and intellectual property issues. These issues include things such as trade secrets litigation and misappropriation of trade secrets (under common law and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act), unfair competition, and cyber crimes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; helping companies with data security issues from assessing their data security strengths and vulnerabilities, helping them implement policies and procedures for better securing their data, preparing data breach incident response plans, leading them through responses to a data breach, and litigating disputes that have arisen from data breaches.

Shawn is a partner at BrittonTuma, a boutique business law firm with offices near the boarder of Frisco and Plano, Texas which is located minutes from the District Courts of Collin County, Texas and the Plano Courthouse of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas. He represents clients in lawsuits across the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex including state and federal courts in Collin County, Denton County, Dallas County, and Tarrant County, which are all courts in which he regularly handles cases (as well as throughout the nation pro hac vice). Tuma regularly serves as a consultant to other lawyers on issues within his area of expertise and also serves as local counsel for attorneys with cases in the District Courts of Collin County, Texas, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, and the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas.

Using Social Media in Your Law Practice – Presentation to Collin County Bar Association #ccba

Using Social Media in Your Law Firm

Using Social Media in Your Law Firm

Today I have the pleasure of speaking to a great group of Collin County lawyers in the Collin County Bar Association’s monthly general meeting about the practical and ethical considerations of using social media in a law practice as well as my own tips that I have learned by using social media in my practice.

Here is are Prezi presentation slides — take a look and let me know your thoughts!

Using Social Media In Your Law Practice

 


 

About the author

Shawn Tuma is a lawyer who is experienced in advising clients on complex digital information law and intellectual property issues. These issues include things such as trade secrets litigation and misappropriation of trade secrets (under common law and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act), unfair competition, and cyber crimes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; helping companies with data security issues from assessing their data security strengths and vulnerabilities, helping them implement policies and procedures for better securing their data, preparing data breach incident response plans, leading them through responses to a data breach, and litigating disputes that have arisen from data breaches.

Shawn is a partner at BrittonTuma, a boutique business law firm with offices near the boarder of Frisco and Plano, Texas which is located minutes from the District Courts of Collin County, Texas and the Plano Courthouse of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas. He represents clients in lawsuits across the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex including state and federal courts in Collin County, Denton County, Dallas County, and Tarrant County, which are all courts in which he regularly handles cases (as well as throughout the nation pro hac vice). Tuma regularly serves as a consultant to other lawyers on issues within his area of expertise and also serves as local counsel for attorneys with cases in the District Courts of Collin County, Texas, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, and the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas.

Using Social Media in Your Law Practice – Prezi Presentation

Using Social Media in Your Law Firm

Using Social Media in Your Law Firm

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a great group of Collin County lawyers in the Collin County Bar Association’s Law Practice Management Section about the practical and ethical considerations of using social media in a law practice as well as my own tips that I have learned by using social media in my practice.

Here is are Prezi presentation slides — take a look and let me know your thoughts!

Using Social Media In Your Law Practice

 


 

About the author

Shawn Tuma is a lawyer who is experienced in advising clients on complex digital information law and intellectual property issues. These issues include things such as trade secrets litigation and misappropriation of trade secrets (under common law and the Texas Uniform Trade Secrets Act), unfair competition, and cyber crimes such as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act; helping companies with data security issues from assessing their data security strengths and vulnerabilities, helping them implement policies and procedures for better securing their data, preparing data breach incident response plans, leading them through responses to a data breach, and litigating disputes that have arisen from data breaches.

Shawn is a partner at BrittonTuma, a boutique business law firm with offices near the boarder of Frisco and Plano, Texas which is located minutes from the District Courts of Collin County, Texas and the Plano Courthouse of the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas. He represents clients in lawsuits across the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex including state and federal courts in Collin County, Denton County, Dallas County, and Tarrant County, which are all courts in which he regularly handles cases (as well as throughout the nation pro hac vice). Tuma regularly serves as a consultant to other lawyers on issues within his area of expertise and also serves as local counsel for attorneys with cases in the District Courts of Collin County, Texas, the United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas, and the United States District Court, Northern District of Texas.

Listen to Shawn Tuma discuss social media law issues for business on PlayMakers Talk Show via podcast

2013-03-09 21.17.45

UPDATE: here is the podcast

Shawn Tuma is a featured guest on this week’s PlayMaker’s Talk Show on 570 KLIF in Dallas, Texas. Shawn will discuss several social media law issues that are important for businesses and business owners to consider when using social media. The show airs at 4:00 p.m. today – Sunday, March 17, 2013. You can listen LIVE by going to the KLIF website or stream the show on iheartradio.

playmakers-big

A podcast of the episode is available by clicking HERE to play/download or going to the PlayMaker’s Talk Show website.

You can view Shawn’s blog posts on social media law HERE. If you have any questions or would like to talk social media law, computer fraud, data security or privacy, please feel free to contact Shawn at 469.635.1335, stuma@brittontuma.com or @shawnetuma

Business Situational Awareness & Social Media

Weapon loadout of the AH-64 Apache

Image via Wikipedia

How can your employees’ social media usage be compromising your businesses’ assets?

I have said it before: business and warfare are one in the same. The objectives are the same and the tactics are the same. Both require an understanding of situational awareness.

What is situational awareness?

Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you

That’s the military definition and it works just fine for the business world: knowing what is going on around you. Knowing the definition is one thing, but understanding how to apply it is quite different. Do your employees — or even you — appreciate the many ways that using social media can compromise your businesses’ assets because of a lack of awareness of what is going on around you?

An example of how a lack of social media situational awareness in the military led to the destruction of 4 $20 million AH-64 Apache helicopters — on a base in Iraq!

In 2007, a fleet of new Apache attack helicopters arrived on base in Iraq and one of the soldiers took a picture of them that was then shared through social media. (See U.S. Army Warns That Social Media Can Kill. Literally.) The picture contained a geo-tag that embeded the latitude and longitude coordinates of the helicopter right in the photo. The enemy was monitoring the Internet and discovered the photo, pulled the coordinates from the photo, and used them to conduct a mortar attach that destroyed 4 of the Apache helicopters valued at $20 million each. Yep — that was essentially an $80 million photo! Ooops.

Now let’s think about how these principles can apply to your business.

  • Have your employees listed their customer contacts — those “trade secrets” that you pay to much to protect — on their LinkedIn contacts?
  • How about your prospects — those that you are hoping to snag away from your competitors — has anyone in your organization recently “added” or “followed” them?
  • That new strategic location you’re planning to open — do you think anyone noticed that 4-Square check-in or found the geo-tag coordinates from the pic from the inside?
  • That new strategic alliance your company is secretly developing … was it really a good idea for your receptionist to tweet “nice to meet you” to them after they left your office?

Please feel free to continue the list. You get the picture. Do you still believe that your competitors are not monitoring your and your employees’ social media?

I love social media and I think it is an amazing thing that holds an amazing amount of promise for virtually every kind of business. I want to see businesses use it more — I want to see you use it more. You know this. You also know, by now,  that I’m a social media lawyer who practices social media law — I try to help you and your business plan for as many things as we can and put them into policies to help protect your business from known and unknown risks. So what, right? Would I have ever imagined that one picture would result in 4 destroyed Apache helicopters? Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.

We can’t anticipate everything and we can’t put every potential risk into a policy. It’s just not possible. But, what we can do is teach our people to think — to understand their situational awareness — and to appreciate the fact that for everything they (we) are putting on the Internet, potentially someone who we wouldn’t want to read it is reading it and, if they have a chance, will use it to harm our interests or further their own. The best protection for you and your employees: (1) know what is going on around you; and (2) think before you post.

Social Media Policy Must Have: when are they on the clock?

If your company has employees managing its social media you better have a policy that makes it clear when they are “on the clock” and “off the clock” or you could end up in trouble for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act. Consider this scenario:

Your company has a non-exempt employee managing the company LinkedIn, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter accounts as part of his regular job duties while working during a regular 8 hour workday. Your employee loves his job and is very passionate about social media so he does a fantastic job and your company is really seeing the results. Great, right?

Unfortunately, however, employee is not just passionate about social media, he is addicted to it. Employee has no life. He spends his nights and weekends connected on social media like a teenager on house arrest. He is so serious about it that he uses a social media dashboard, such as Hootsuite (like I use), to manage all of his social media accounts from one place — including your company’s. So, while he’s getting his therapeutic time away from the office sitting at home on his laptop, social media’in his heart out, he’s checking your company accounts and engaging on them as well … for hours and hours and hours on end …

One day he gets really desperate for money and realizes all the time he wasted away and then happens to meet a really cleaver lawyer …

You see where I’m going with this? Does this sound too far fetched to you? Yeah, I know — and that is exactly why you need an experienced social media lawyer’s help!

I did not just come up with this out of thin air though I may have exercised a bit of artistic license. The general point comes from a real world case where an hourly-wage employee brought a claim for time and a half wages and back pay for all of the time he spent checking and responding to email on his company issued PDA. This kind of stuff can and will happen with social media just as it has with email.

If you do not want your company to be the test case, you need the help of an experienced social media lawyer to prepare a policy to account for these issues. Give me a call and let’s get this done unless, of course, you’d rather just save the money that policy will cost so you can pay it to Mr. 20,000 followers down the road for all of that extra time he spent “working” for your company!

To learn more, you can reach an experienced social media law attorney at BrittonTuma by clicking here or calling 469.635.1335.

Your business needs a social media policy and this is why.

It is foolish to not have one. Having a social media policy is like having a Will for your businesses’ branding and marketing efforts and the cost of getting that policy will likely be less than the bill for the first day in litigation if you do not!

Social media is the next big thing when it comes to branding and marketing your business. Actually, it is already here. This has been one of the biggest news stories of 2011 and it is not going away anytime soon.  I am a believer. I love it and I encourage all of my clients to find ways to implement it in their businesses. It is free to sign up and free to use (for the most part) with only time and effort being the primary investment. Businesses usually have their social media being managed by employees, independent contractors, or outside “experts”. The key to success with social media is to have many “connections” with others and develop relationships with them. But, who really owns those connections and relationships?

That is a good question–do you really know who owns your businesses’ social media connections and relationships?

This is a question that has been brought to the forefront because of the recent lawsuit PhoneDog v. Kravitz that is pending in federal court in the Northern District of California.

The essence of this case is pretty simple: PhoneDog used social media such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to promote its services and Kravitz worked for PhoneDog as a product reviewer and video blogger and, in conjunction with the duties of his job, Kravitz used a Twitter account with the handle of @PhoneDog_Noah that had approximately 17,000 followers (wow, @shawnetuma only has 1,130 if you’d like help me out). As always seems to be the case in today’s ever changing job market, Kravitz resigned from PhoneDog and PhoneDog asked him to turn over the Twitter account but, instead, he simply changed the handle to @noahkravitz which now has over 24,000 followers and, for its bio says “People are not property. Love over gold.” (it’s ok, I followed him also)

PhoneDog sued Kravitz and Kravitz filed a Motion to Dismiss which is a long and costly way of saying “judge, they have no case so please throw it out.” The court, however, did not see it so clearly and in its Order on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss allowed PhoneDog to go forward with the key claims of misappropriation of trade secrets and conversion. That does not mean it will be an easy battle for PhoneDog or that it will ultimately prevail. In fact, based on traditional principles of trade secret law I have a feeling it will not, and have previously written about these issues in other blog posts that I would encourage you to read:

Are LinkedIn Contacts Trade Secrets?

LinkedIn: think before you sync!

The issue is not, however, whether PhoneDog will win. The real issue is why is it even having to fight? Let’s assume for the sake of argument that it does win. At what cost will that victory come and, at that cost, will it truly be a victory?

How much will it cost your business to win?

Take a look at the 10 page Complaint in PhoneDog v. Kravitz and take a guess at what it cost in legal fees alone just to prepare and file it. Add to that a $350 filing fee, costs for service of process, and lots and lots of your time and your attorneys’ time which costs lots of money. But, you’re not done yet–not by a long shot. Filing the lawsuit is just the beginning. Go here and take a look at the Docket Sheet for PhoneDog v. Kravitz; they have been fighting over this since July, have addressed over 30 documents filed in the record of the case, and are still not past the initial stages of the lawsuit. Do you want to take a guess at how many thousands of dollars PhoneDog (and Kravitz) have spent so far?

Let me stop here and make something clear. I love being a trial lawyer and I love trying cases. I love technology and technology related cases. There is nothing I would enjoy more than being the attorney handling a case like this. Moreover, I would love for someone to pay me a lot of money to do it! Do you have an interest in having a part of how this body of social media law develops? Would you like to sponsor my efforts to shape it? If so, let’s get rolling!

If your interest, however, is focused on the financial strength of your business and not on shaping the future of social media law, this is probably not a wise use of resources. But if you do not have a policy addressing these issues, it is likely that you could end up doing exactly that though not by choice.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”

That old saying could not be more true than when it comes to having a social media policy for your business. All of the issues that are being litigated in PhoneDog could have been addressed and agreed to from the very beginning in a written social media policy, along with a host of other issues that arise concerning the use of social media. What is even better is that the cost of obtaining such a policy will probably be less than what it would cost for just the first day of litigation! It really is a wise investment for your business and all you have to do to get started is just give me a call. But, …

If you don’t want to do that, then give me a call anyway and we can start planning our litigation strategy — this is going to be fun!