Reviewing the UK Communications Act – an open letter to Jeremy Hunt

On May 16 2011, Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, asked citizens and those who work in fixed or mobile communications,
television, radio, online publishing, video games, and other digital and creative content industries for responses to an open letter [PDF] reviewing communications in the digital age.

He also invited responses via this video, explaining that a review of the Communications Act would occur during the second part of this Parliament.
Continue reading → Reviewing the UK Communications Act – an open letter to Jeremy Hunt

New course: Legal issues of social media

GavelI’ve been working with the Ark Group over the last few weeks to develop a new course in social media and the law in the UK, which I’m going to be running on the 2 December 2009.

The aim of the course is to be very practical and hands on, looking as much at preventative measures as what to do when things go wrong. The course will look at issues such as:
Copyright, rights and intellectual property
Defamation
Privacy and data protection
Contempt of court
Breach of contract
Unfair trading

I’m also really happy that a specialist lawyer will be joining us for one of the sessions in the afternoon to answer questions and go through newer aspects of the law.

More details and how to book here.

Social media and the law

GavelAt today’s Investor Relations Conference at the London Stock Exchange, fellow panellist, media lawyer, Duncan Calow from DLA Piper, gave an excellent presentation of the law as it regards social media. The areas of the law that those engaging in this area – from bloggers to brands – should at least have some awareness of. He summarised the different aspects of the law as ‘known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns’, as follows:

Known knowns
Defamation
Privacy
Intellectual property rights
Contempt of court
Breech of [employment] contract

Known unknowns
Listing rules
Employment law
Telecommunications Act
Protection From Harassment Act
Terrorism Act

Unknown unknowns
Blogs and social media in the courts
“What is unlawful offline is unlawful online”
US experience [and how it may affect UK law]
UK development
Nigel Smith v ADVFN – July 2008
Author of a blog v Times newspaper – June 2009
Ministry of Justice – Defamation and the Internet, consultation paper – September 2009

I’d also add that those working in social media should be aware of the 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations which outlaws:

  • Creating fake blogs
  • Falsely representing oneself as a customer; and
  • Falsely advertising on social media site

In this area the Word of Mouth Marketing Association Code of Conduct is also well worth understanding, it states:

  1. Consumer protection and respect are paramount
  2. The Honesty ROI: Honesty of Relationship, Opinion, and Identity
  3. We respect the rules of the venue
  4. We manage relationships with minors responsibly
  5. We promote honest downstream communications
  6. We protect privacy and permission in a campaign when asked by consumers or the media.
  7. We will provide contact information upon request.