Hashtags No Longer Protect Influencers. Actually, they never did!

Influencers and brands must clearly disclose their relationship. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notified influencers earlier this year that simply using a hashtag like “#sp,” or words like “Thanks [Brand],” or “#partner” in a social media post is insufficient to comply with FTC laws. Recent events like the Fyre Festival and related $100M class action lawsuits, have raised the visibility of the issue of influencer promotion and FTC compliance.

To all my friends who are influencers. Beware. Formal notice has been given. You must “clearly and conspicuously” disclose all endorsements for consideration.

Learn more about proper influencer/brand hashtags in this post by the FTC. Click here to learn more about your obligations under FTC law as an influencer.


Related Posts

Social Media Influencer Liability by Mitch Jackson

Influencer Marketing- Tips for Influencers, Social Media Agencies, Brands and Consumers by Mitch Jackson

Just Out! The New 6th Edition of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott

I’m honored to be profiled in Chapter 5 of David Meerman Scott’s 6th edition of his best-selling book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.” The chapter is titled, “Blogs: Tapping Millions of Evangelists To Tell Your Story” and frankly, it shares some of my favorite approaches to building your brand and creating global top-of-mind awareness and influence. I know you’re going to like all of the tips, information and stories found in David’s updated book!

To put the value of David’s book into context, it’s important to know that the first edition of “The New Rules of Marketing & PR” was published in 2007 and was six months on the BusinessWeek bestseller list. Since then the book has sold more than 375,000 copies in English in the various editions and is now available in 29 languages from Albanian to Vietnamese. Hundreds of colleges and universities around the world use it as a text in class and many companies require all marketing and PR staff to read a copy.

The newly updated 6th edition is out in the USA and will soon reach other countries around the world. It includes a dozen fresh new examples of success. Click here for more information and to place your order!


Update: I’ll be sharing the stage with David in Las Vegas later this month at the Tony Robbins Business Mastery Event. Look for our updates and livestreams during the upcoming event and click here or on the image below to watch a short live video of David sharing my newsjacking efforts at the recent Florida event 😉

Do The Right Thing In Your Social Media Community!

Do The Right Thing on Social Media

Each of us must rededicate ourselves to serving the common good. We are a community. Our individual fates are linked; our futures intertwined; and if we act in that knowledge and in that spirit together, as the Bible says: “We can move mountains.”

-Jimmy Carter

______

My first website went up in 1996 and over the years, I’ve experienced good things on the Internet, social media, and digital platforms.

I’m a fan. I “get it” and enjoy the technology dance. The platforms we all use allow us to add value to others, build relationships, and show our human side. It’s an amazing time to be alive.

But during this same period of time, I’ve also personally observed a tremendous amount of online fraud, crime, and wrongdoing take place. And this bothers me.

Just over the past two years on social media I’ve watched more than one dishonest business person use his or her “fame” or “influence” to mislead others and take thousands of dollars from other people.

Over the past two years on social media I’ve observed the harm caused by a social media influencer (who at the time also happened to be a convicted registered sex offender with 300k+ followers on Twitter) and and his online “friends” by initiating and encouraging  a misguided social media feeding frenzy resulting in false defamatory statements being made and harming the reputations of good hardworking people.

Over the past two years on social media, I’ve observed multiple people, including a well know Snapchat user, arrested for alleged crimes involving child pornography.

Over the past two years on social media, I’ve watched people steal other people’s ideas, clients, trade secret list, and even entire websites from hard working digital business owners.

And over the past two years on social media, I’ve watched and read about careless people causing harm and death to others because they tried to live stream or update their social media status while driving.

Speaking of distracted driving, during this same period of time, I’ve been retained to help numerous people harmed by the careless distracted driving of others. This included a family who’s grandmother and two-year-old granddaughter were both killed by a distracted driver. Even my own son, Garrett, lost two of his soccer teammates to reckless distracted driving.

Both of my kids have been hit from behind by distracted drivers. My daughter, AJ, had her car totaled and Garrett had major damage to his car. Both were injured but are doing better today. It’s because of these very personal experiences that Garrett and I started StopDD.Today. 

Looking back on all of these situations, the careless and often times intentional conduct of these wrongdoers is inexcusable and pathetic. This type of conduct should never be permitted or condoned!

But too often it is. Too often people who know the facts simply look the other way.

That’s not OK.

Because there is  no place in my life for people like this, I’ve already unfollowed, blocked, and stopped supporting what these people are doing. I’ve advised my clients to do the same. After you read this post, I hope you do too.

Online Community Neighborhood Watch

Nobody is perfect. We all make mistakes. I know I do. Maybe you do too.

But there’s a big difference between people who work hard, do their best and sometimes fall short and make a mistake and others, who intentionally try to harm and deceive other people. This is especially true when crimes are committed.

Some friends of mine have taken the position that we should live and let live when it comes to our social media communities. They tell me not to get involved. Just look the other way and forget about it.

I understand what they’re saying and normally this is my approach when it comes to the “little” things in life. I’ve got more than enough on my plate to keep me busy for many years to come.

Having said that, I think it’s important to appreciate who really benefits, and who is harmed, when there are no consequences and wrongdoers are not held accountable. I explore that last statement further below.

In the offline community we’ve lived in since 1991, we have a neighborhood watch. Our neighbors and friends all look out for each for each other and the system works pretty well.

neighborhood 600

Just two weeks ago I posted some pictures on Facebook of all of us hanging out in front of our homes during a Friday evening neighborhood block party (above). What I didn’t mention is that later that night one of our kids noticed a teenager from a party down the street try to steal a skateboard, speaker, and several other items from our neighbor’s open garage.

Continue reading “Do The Right Thing In Your Social Media Community!”

Facebook Live Audio Copyright Issues: Things You Need to Know!

The rollout of Facebook Live Audio is awesome. It offers a new way to communicate, in real time, with our clients, customers, and audiences, using our mobile devices. Click here or on the image above to listen to my first Facebook Live Audio.

Intellectual Property Rights

While Facebook Live Audio provides all of us with a new free audio based broadcasting tool, it also exposes uninformed users of Facebook Live Audio to place themselves in legal jeopardy for violations of Intellectual Property (IP) and specifically, copyright right laws. In this post, I share some of the issues I’m already watching and listening to and, others I anticipate in the future on the Facebook Live Audio platform.

For example, if you read or play original content created by someone else, for any reason and for any length of time, you may be in violation of the creators IP rights. This includes reading a book, blog post, or playing music in the background. The easy solution is as follows: If you didn’t create the content, don’t use it without the written permission of the owner or person with legal use rights.

Yes, there is the Fair Use Doctrine that permits the use of someone else’s copyrighted material, but the exceptions are narrow and the law is gray. Don’t count too much on this exception protecting you unless (1) your lawyer is better than the other side’s lawyer and (2) you have more money than the other side to win your case in court (sarcasm).

Terms of Service (TOS) Agreements

Facebook has a Terms of Service (TOS) Agreement that applies to Facebook Live Audio. It prohibits users from violating the copyright of others. It’s part of the DMCA Safe Harbor provisions that protect Facebook and not you.

If you go live and share copyrighted material, you may be liable to the creator of the content and, you may also be in violation of the TOS Agreement. Facebook can suspend your account or shut you down for a violation of its TOS Agreement.

If you repurpose your Facebook Live Audio broadcast on other platforms like Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram and Snapchat, their TOS Agreements allow for the same action. Depending on how and why you use your social media platforms, this could be devastating to your reputation, success, or business.

Music

If you play music during your Facebook Live Audio and didn’t get permission from the creator of the music (writer, band, license holder, management company), you will in all likelihood be in violation of a copyright. This includes background music or using Facebook Live Audio to share an evening of live karaoke which I see all the time with livestreaming video. Keep in mind that just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it right or legal.

Similar to the TOS Agreement mentioned above, if you go live from a concert or stadium and share protected music with your audience, you’ll probably be in violation of one or more intellectual property rights. While the venue may have secured a public-performance license through ASCAP or BMI (songwriters’ associations), and may have the legal right to record and play the music, you don’t.

In addition to copyright issues, there’s also a valuable “right of publicity” that an artist may be able to protect. Under this theory, Katy Perry may argue her voice or music played in the background during your Facebook Live Audio is part of her image or brand, and only she has the right to benefit from that image or brand. This is a relatively new and untested area of law. It appears to me that artists such as Katy Perry would be on strong legal grounds should they decide to hold offending Facebook Live Audio users liable.

Other legal arguments musicians and bands may assert for the unauthorized use of their music during a Facebook Live Audio include violations of the “Lanham Act” (confusion or dilution of a trademark through unauthorized use) and “False Endorsement” (implies that the artist supports a product or your broadcast).

Pro Tip: Create Your Own Brand Sound and Music

If you’re looking to compliment your Facebook Live Audio or business branding with music or sound, avoid all of the above hassles and create your own!

I recommend you take a close look at Signature Tones. It’s a sonic branding studio that works with organizations to create and use music and sound to establish a unique and memorable identity. Created by friend, marketing strategist, international sales and marketing speaker, and bestselling author David Meerman Scott and recording artist, live music performer, and music creative director Juanito Pascual, Signature Tones is your one stop solution to creating an audio brand you own and that your audience will never forget.

Conclusion

We tell our clients not to use any audio, including music, during their Facebook Live Audios that they did not create or, obtain permission from the creator or owner to use. When they claim that the Fair Use Doctrine will protect them, we remind them of the limited scope and protection this doctrine provides.

Best practices are to (1) get permission before using someone else’s audio content or (2) use licensed or royalty free audio (for example, services like Shutterstock).

Facebook Live Audio is a fantastic tool. Enjoy it and use it often. But when you do, respect the IP rights of all sounds, music or other material that you directly or indirectly share over the platform.

Related

What Rights Do Musicians Have When Politicians Use Their Music Without Permission? 

TheShow.live (my weekly live video show). Last week’s topic: “How to Use Facebook Live Audio” with Jennifer Quinn and Rachel Moore

My Take-A-Ways From Gary Vaynerchuk on TheShow.live

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” -Winston Churchill

Gary Vaynerchuk was on our weekly live video talk show, TheShow.live, and we chatted about how our life experiences helped build our foundations for success. We shared examples about how what we learned, watched and experienced (good and bad), all helped shape who we are and what we’re doing today.

This is such an important concept that I want to dive into it in just a bit more detail. By the way, this was a popular episode with Jennifer Hoverstad, Gary Vaynerchuk and yours truly talking social media, VR, the NFL, Samsung phone battery fires, the presidential election and much more. If you missed it, here you go!

The Early Years

My early use of dial up modems, coding websites and eventually creating websites for my law firm in the late 1980s and early 1990s gave me the foundation and skills to incorporate tech into my business and relationship developing efforts today. I was and still am a full time trial lawyer, but my interest and passion for the tech side of life, especially social media, has allowed me to build the global brand I have today.

Now here’s the kicker. Even though almost all of the code, tools, and platforms I spent hours learning how to use no longer exist, the lessons and skills I developed help me stay relevant to this very day. From our discussion, I know Gary and Jennifer feel the same way.

For me, the “success” I’ve achieved (I define my success as being in a position to help my clients and comfortably balancing my professional and personal life) isn’t simply because of tech, social media or even the law. We need to go back even further in time and well before the Internet or law school for the initial and extremely important foundational building blocks. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate to obtain some very good jury trial verdicts for my clients. The skills, techniques, and approaches I used during each trial to help jurors see things my client’s way had more to do with the people skills I learned over the years as a waiter and bartender in college than what I was taught in law school. My results in court and online are from the “people skills” I picked up by watching, listening to, and talking to all of the amazing guest from around the world who stayed at our Arizona ranch during my high school and college years.

When it comes to jury selection, I believe picking the right twelve people to serve as jurors in all of my 66+ trials had more to do with the skills I developed chatting with and checking people in at the front desk of Caesars Tahoe than what I learned in my evidence class. The techniques I use to help cope with emergency issues during a trial came from my experiences as a manager at Caesars and other resort properties and not what I learned in my Civil Procedure class.

I didn’t realize back then that my experiences would help me today as a lawyer and entrepreneur, but they did and in a big way. The lessons I’ve learned from the highs and lows of my early life experiences are all now valuable assets I use each week in court and online.

Now let’s fast forward to today’s tech including social media and live streaming. I can comfortably report that my ability to quickly engage on these platforms comes from what I learned decades ago and because of the experiences I mentioned above. In court, I’ve also changed how I interact with witnesses and my jury.

Understanding the issues of time and attention, today I talk in 140 character soundbites (sort of) and do all that I can to deliver the type of message most of my young jurors hear 24/7 on social media. It’s about keeping things familiar and sharing concepts via metaphors that they understand, appreciate and respect. It’s also about giving an 18 minute dynamic TED Talk type of opening statement instead of delivering a two hour mind numbing “watch the paint dry on the wall” experience.

The World Is Your Classroom

We can all learn important lessons from everything we do. Our experiences are a foundation for progress and future success. Nothing you’ve done, good or bad, is wasted time. Everything you do is a building block for your long-term success.

As we chatted about on TheShow.live, it simply takes the right mindset to appreciate this approach to life’s journey. Once you figure this out, anyone can flip the switch and create positive change.

Things don’t always work out, and opportunities and experiences come and go. The important thing to remember is that the experiences you have during the process are unique and powerful assets for future growth and skill. Embrace everything that happens to you, learn from your wins and losses, and always keep moving forward.

Without exception, every single successful person I’ve met in my 30+ years of business has a clear understanding of the power of what we talked about in this episode and what I’ve highlighted in this post. Now, you do too.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” -Winston Churchill


Related: Join us on TheShow.live (Wednesday’s at 4 pm ET)

Don’t Look The Other Way On Social Media

“Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.” -Oprah Winfrey

When you see something bad happen to someone else on social media, do you look the other way or do you do the right thing and help?

Most people pretend not to notice when others behave badly. They ignore the problem. They look the other way.

I see this a lot on social media.

When the digital fox is allowed inside the social media hen house, people get hurt. Wrongdoers are not held accountable. Ignoring the problem makes it worse for everyone.

Protecting each other is not always easy, but it is always necessary.

Have integrity, promote high standards, and act ethically in your online community. Stand tall and do the right thing.

Doing so will help make our online communities, and the world, safer and better places.

Mitch

Related: “Do The Right Thing In Your Social Media Community”