Almost every week, we write about some legal issue that arises in digital and social media – many times talking about the traditional media company that did something that they shouldn’t have done in the online world, and ended up with some legal issues as a result. Two weeks ago, I conducted a webinar, hosted by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and co-sponsored by over 20 other state broadcast associations, where I tried to highlight some of the many legal issues that can be traps for the unwary.

Issues we discussed included copyright and trademark issues, a reminder about the FTC sponsorship identification rules for online media, FCC captioning obligations, privacy implications, as well as discussions about the patent issues that have arisen with the use of software and hardware that makes the digital transmission of content possible. Slides from that presentation are available here and, for the full webinar, a YouTube video of the entire presentation is available below which can be reviewed when you have some spare time over this upcoming holiday or at any other time that you want to catch up on your legal obligations. Some of the specific issues that we talked about are familiar to readers of this blog. We discussed the many issues with taking photographs and other content found on the Internet and repurposing them to your own website without getting permission from the content’s creator (see our articles here and here). Similar issues have arisen when TV stations have taken YouTube videos and played them on their TV stations without getting permission from the creator.

Music issues arise all the time, especially in producing online videos and creating digital content like podcasts, as your usual music licenses from ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, GMR and SoundExchange don’t cover the reproduction and distribution rights involved when content is copied or downloaded rather than live-streamed (see our article here) In more recent times the Court has indicated that it will now initially direct its consideration to Principle 1 above. If the tree which is the subject of the dispute does .

The presentation also cautioned companies to be careful about trying to rely on “fair use” as there are no hard and fast rules on when a use of copyrighted materials without permission is in fact fair (see our articles here and here on that subject).

Similarly, there are many other potential pitfalls for digital media companies And possible consequences. Choose the best option. Decide whether the situation involves legal or ethical issues. Evaluate the options. Implement the decision..

We’ve written about some of the FTC rules on requiring sponsorship identification on sponsored digital content – even tweets and Facebook posts (see our articles here and here). Plus, there are always issues about privacy and security of personal information that sites collect – and particularly strict rules for content directed to children. And, as many stations found out when a company asserted patent infringement claims about digital music storage systems used by most radio stations (see our articles here and here), patent issues can also arise in connection with any companies use of digital media.

But, as we discussed on the blog (here and here), and as discussed in the webinar, protecting your brands through trademarks can lead to the ability to exploit those brands through licensing them to other media companies 1 Apr 2018 - We usually focus on the non-legal parts of the presentation such as its issues will help you legally use images in your presentation slides..

But branding can also be a concern as, once something is put online, it is available everywhere, and when someone who has already obtained rights to that content discovers that it is being used without permission elsewhere, you can have issues.

So, before branding, do a trademark search to try to anticipate any issues that might arise with any new brand or slogan that you may be planning to use (see our article here) 22 Sep 2016 - Legal Issues for Digital Audio Companies – A Presentation The presentation addressed not only music royalty issues covered in my Texas What Do Broadcasters and Media Companies Need to Know About the GDPR?.

These are but some of the issues that I discussed in my webinar. As there are so many legal issues that can arise in the digital and social media worlds, you need to be prepared.

This presentation does not give you all the answers – but it does try to identify many of the places where questions can arise 8 May 2012 - These are but a few of the issues covered in my presentation in Las Vegas. As in any other business endeavor, make sure that you know the .

So check out the slides or video version of our webinar for more details, and stay safe in your journey in the online world.