The emergence of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter
has materially affected brand owners. These sites, and others like
them, allow brand owners to interact directly with their customers
or potential customers. As a result the use of social media by
brand owners is rapidly increasing.
The most popular media sites are Facebook1,
Twitter2 and Youtube. In addition to the opportunity to
take part in activities on these sites, each of the respective
operators of the sites offers to brand owners digital advertising
services and related products to assist in reaching
At the same time, there are potential concerns with social
media. Concerns include, but are not limited to, the unauthorized
use and adoption of user names that incorporate brand names and the
impact of unauthorized or negative publicity.
Typically each user of a social media site will have an
individual username assigned to them that consists of a URL. Brand
owners should secure user names consisting of their brand name.
Controlling such user names serves two purposes; first, the user
name can be used to reach consumers, and second, it is a proactive
step to avoid problems relating to the control of the user name by
a third party4.
The legal status of a username is unclear. Like existing domain
names, there are few controls relating to who may apply for what.
The dispute resolution policies that apply to confusing domain
names do not apply to user names. There may not be sufficient
"trade-mark use" to support an action in the courts for
infringement. However, most of the major social media website
operators have trade-mark policies that allow brand owners to
report an infringement of a trade-mark by a user that can be
Unauthorized or Negative Publicity
False or negative product reviews and the like come within this
category. Although it is a daunting task, the key is to have
monitoring procedures in place so a brand owner can respond
promptly in an appropriate fashion5.
In addition, brand owners need to develop and implement
guidelines for their own employees concerning what they can and
cannot do in an online context. The guidelines should instruct
employees and should be incorporated in an employee handbook or a
stand-alone document. The guidelines must be seen as part of and
consistent with the overall brand management strategy of the brand
Brand owners need to be proactive concerning social media. Brand
owners should secure user names, monitor activities on the Internet
and develop appropriate responses.
Software license agreements generally require the customer to pay fees for the software license and related services, which fees are usually based upon the duration of the license and the manner in which the customer is allowed to use the software, together with applicable taxes and withholdings.
In less than nine months, on July 1, 2017, persons affected by a contravention of Canada's anti-spam legislation will be able to invoke a private right of action to sue for compensation and potentially substantial statutory damages.
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