Dr. Mariann Hardey

Digitally on.

Speaker, Writer, Academic.

Durham University Lecturer.

I do stuff for the BBC.

Feminist & lovely.

Slanguage of social media

Legal pitfalls and bottom-feeding from user-generated data

June 2010

Hiding behind an academic walled garden Brian Wright's article on 'social media and marketing' develops a range of interesting legal issues for advertising and identifiable sponsors of branded content. Not wanting to put you off, there's some 'blue sky' thinking, suitable acronyms; C2C - consumer-to-consumer, or CGM - consumer-generated media, but the main thrust provides an opportunity to reflect on the wrapping policies for the prominence and encouragement of content that is developed by the consumer.

I'm co-running the Information Systems 2nd year Undergraduate course at Durham University this year and one component will be data surveillance, property rights, tort risks and privacy policies. Given my audience, who are particularly savvy, it is likely that by the time of my first lecture they will have already downloaded several ‘items' from the interweb and shared numerous content, without even realising they are breaking copyright. Not that my teaching is ‘dull', rather theirs is a up-close and constantly connected playground, regardless of who might be standing at the front of a lecture hall. A note to any students reading this, there will be at least one session when you will be live twitter-streaming, so keep up!

Wright, B.D., 2010. Social media and marketing: exploring the legal pitfalls of user-generated content. University of Dayton Law Review. Fall, 36 Dayton L. Rev. 67


The goal of advertising has always been to deliver a marketing message that connects with customers. For years, advertisers used a conventional model of informing, persuading, and reminding groups of customers using non-personal presentations delivered by the advertiser in a paid form from an easily identifiable sponsor. While there have been historically well-known and controversial breaks from this conventional advertising model (e.g., Reese's Pieces in E.T. and Ray-Ban in Risky Business), advertisers traditionally controlled the content, frequency, timing, and medium of the advertising message and were easily identified as the advertising sponsor. However, the cheap availability and the direct connectivity of social media (and its rapidly increasing use) have changed the conventional model and turned it on its head, creating interesting and often difficult issues...