Social Media Law: Hiring Marketing Agencies

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Title: Social media lawyer sought by marketing firm. Filed under: Advertising, Business, Cyber Law, Intellectual Property, Internet Law, Media, Social Media, Website Business.QUESTION:My company provides tweets and Facebook posts that are customized to the small businesses niche. I hire freelance writers to create the posts then provide them to the client for them to use. To gain an understand of the clients business the writers studies the clients website and ask them to complete a questionnaire. They get the final say on what to post to Facebook & Twitter. I am wondering if I have any legal liability in this? I check all of the posts against copyscape prior to submission.ANSWER:Social media lawyer needed by marketing agency. Got it. Based on the facts you provided, I suggest a well drafted creative services independent contractor agreement with your writers, which includes copyright provisions, limits your liability, and you may even consider a non-solicitation clause to make it hard for your writers to work around you and directly with the client.In addition, a second agreement, your standard Social Media Marketing Agency Contract, will be of enormous benefit to you in governing your relationship with your paying clients.This is the agreement all your clients must sign before you get started and will specify intellectual property ownership, limited liability (for you), payment terms, the length of the contract and grounds for termination, the customer’s obligations during the engagement, and other terms important to this type of agency relationship.As for potential legal liability for this, I don’t think the legal due diligence here is overly prohibitive.As with any business venture, a standard set of legal tasks are required, or well advised. In this case, let’s you have pizza shop client, and one of your writers is copyright social media updates from Domino’s Pizza twitter feed and posting them on behalf of your client?Without adequate contracts and legal procedures in those contracts (above), your client would look to you for recourse if and when Domino’s Pizza sues your client for copyright and trademark infringement. In another case, let’s say your writer offers FREE PIZZA FRIDAYS for your client, but your client did not intend that and now there are 100 people at his pizza shop looking for a free pizza. Someone has to pay for this… will it be you, your client, or the writer?And since you’re in the marketing and promotions industry, let’s say your client instructs you to promote a new pill that promises to help users “Lose 50lbs in 1 month”, and your writer blasts social media with this offer and claim. If this is a false claim, the client is sued by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for false and deceptive advertising, unless you have specific language absolving your agency from liability or passing it on to your client, then the FTC may sue your firm as well for publishing the false ads.Of course many other legal issues can arise, but I think the 2 contracts mentioned above are ideal legal tools for you to some extent control your legal exposure vis a vis your clients and your writers. I’ve handled many of these contracts from the agency and client side. If you have any questions about legal issues for this venture, feel free to contact my office.8 Lawyers agreed with this answer.

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 11.16.38 PMAuthor: David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2014. Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; david@latml.com.

Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Photo by Robert S. Donovan (Flickr) 
David N. Sharifi, Esq.
David N. Sharifi, Esq.

David N. Sharifi, Esq. is a Los Angeles based intellectual property attorney and technology startup consultant with focuses in entertainment law, emerging technologies, trademark protection, and “the internet of things”. David was recognized as one of the Top 30 Most Influential Attorneys in Digital Media and E-Commerce Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal.
Office: Ph: 310-751-0181; david@latml.com.

Disclaimer: The content above is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content above does not create an attorney-client relationship. All trademarks are the property of L.A. Tech & Media Law Firm or their respective owners. Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.

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