PRIVACY -fabulous play at The Public Theater about privacy online  Reply

If you have a smart phone, use apps and share content online, seeing the play PRIVACY at privacyThe Public Theater is a must.  The talented cast engages audience members in exploring the hard to grasp topic of privacy (or lack there of) online.

Who are we online? How much information do we give away about ourselves when we connect online?  Who can see us online?  

Is our location tracked each time we use a transportation app or log into a wifi network?  Is our first social media post still visible?  What privacy terms are we agreeing to each time we use an app or social media website?

The play PRIVACY is entertaining, informative, interactive and at times a bit spooky.  I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

See also: Previous blog posts on website privacy policies at  https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/website-privacy-policy; blog post on imitating others online at http://wp.me/p10nNq-Cg; The Public Theater’s website for information about the play and ticket sales at www.publictheater.org/en/Public-Theater-Season/Privacy/; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Imitating Others On Social Media Reply

photo(2)Social media sites generally frown upon users who imitate others and list impersonation as a no-no within their Terms Of Use and Privacy Policy.  By using, joining or registering with a social media site, folks “agree to” and “accept” the terms and policies of the social media site.  Note, that the terms and policies of a social media site (that you should, although, may have never read) apply merely by the simple act of using the site, joining or registering.

Imbedded within these terms and policies are several common elements that relate to impersonation and the treatment of imitators.  Often, these are listed as things that a user is permitted to do and not do.  “Shall not” language is commonly used in these lists (perhaps modeled off the Ten Commandments).  Here are a few examples:

THOU SHALT NOT (as per terms and policies of various social media sites):

  • provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission [excerpt from Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities]
  • create any account for anyone other than yourself without such person’s permission [excerpt from Foursquare’s Terms Of Use]
  • use a User Name that is the name of another person with the intent to impersonate that person [excerpt from Foursquare’s Terms Of Use]
  • post content or take any action on Facebook that infringes or violates someone else’s rights or otherwise violates the law [excerpt from Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities]
  • upload, download, post, submit or otherwise distribute or facilitate distribution of any Content on or through the Service, including without limitation any User Submission, that:
    • infringes any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, right of publicity or other right of any other person or entity or violates any law or contractual duty;
    • you know is false, misleading, untruthful or inaccurate;
    • impersonates any person or entity, including any employee or representative of Foursquare  [excerpt from Foursquare’s Terms Of Use]

These are short, illustrative excerpts from the Terms and Policies currently posted on the Facebook and Foursquare sites.  The Terms and Policies also include information on how to report imitators.  Generally, a valid imitation claim will result in the imitator being removed from the site and possibly forfeiting other privileges and use of the site as well.  While Terms and Policies are subject to change, discouraging imitation will likely remain standard protocol.  Social media sites have a vested interest in discouraging imitators on their sites, because, this keeps their sites user friendly for original celebrity users.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

The Terms of Use and Privacy Policy for various social media sites can generally be found with a Google Search or are available on the social media site, often at the bottom on the login page. 

See also: a related post on What to do if someone is using your stuff on social media sites; The Terms of Use and How to Report Claims of Intellectual Property Infringement posted on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms and https://www.facebook.com/help/www/39922488347420; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

AT&T revises the process for Mobile Device Opt-Out of Data Sharing Reply

Many of you may already know that AT&T has made changes to their Privacy Policy to allow them to share more of your personal data (gathered on each of your devices) with advertisers and external marketing folks. (I posted a blog about this in July <click here to read it>).

This is a FOLLOW UP post regarding changes that AT&T has made to the Opt-Out process to simplify it and iron out the kinks.  AT&T has acknowledged that some of its customers (including me and maybe you too) had difficulty completing the Opt-Out process on their mobile devices and as a consequence AT&T has revised the process for Opting-Out on a mobile device.

Here are the new revised instructions that were emailed out by AT&T:

  • From your AT&T mobile device you want to opt out, go to adworks.att.com/mobileoptout
  • Make sure you are on the AT&T wireless network, and not on any Wi-Fi
  • Choose the blue Opt-Out button. You should receive the following message: “Thank you. This device will not be receiving AT&T AdWorks Relevant Advertising”

I just went through these steps on my iPhone and received the promised confirmation message.  Simplifying this Opt-Out process and providing a confirmation message was a good move.  All AT&T customers should have received an email from AT&T giving notice of this revised Opt-Out process for mobile devices.  (THANKS to all of you who contacted AT&T to let them know that you were having difficulty with the initial Opt-Out process.  I have a hunch that this new revised Opt-Out was launched in response to the feedback we all provided).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information on privacy policies see: http://wp.me/p10nNq-tf; http://wp.me/p10nNq-bL; http://wp.me/p10nNq-ni; and for more information on Opt-Out policies see: http://wp.me/p10nNq-6j ; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Opt-Out or AT&T will share more of your data via their Privacy Policy changes 21

AT&T has made changes to their Privacy Policy to allow them to share more of your personal data (gathered on each of your devices) with advertisers and external marketing folks. Perhaps I’m a digital prude… but I have chosen to “Opt-Out” of sharing my data with advertisers and marketers. The good news is that AT&T has an Opt-Out provision (this is a legal requirement in the US)… the less than optimal news is that the Opt-Out isn’t straight forward.

THE OPT-OUT SCOOP: For a complete Opt-Out of AT&T’s new personal data share programs, you must click to Opt-Out of both programs (via two different links) on each of your devices. For me, this meant that I needed to clink the links on my laptop and also on my iPhone. (If you have an iPad you must also clink the links on this devise also to complete the Opt-Out). Clicking the links on my laptop and checking each of the Opt-Out boxes was simple enough. Although, I had to call customer service to complete the Opt-Outs for my phone… and will likely call back for confirmation of a successful Opt-Out from my iPhone.

Here are AT&T’s Opt-Out links:

All AT&T customers should have received an email from AT&T giving notice of these privacy policy changes and providing the Opt-Out links. My guess is that most folks may have overlooked the email… and even if folks saw the email…. they may not have noticed the multiple steps required for a complete Opt-Out.

Feel free to forward this blog post to your friends and family. I’m forwarding it to my mom.

(And if I can pass a message onto AT&T… come on, make this simpler. The error message that I received while trying to Opt-Out on my iPhone stated that I could NOT Opt-Out because I was “using a Wi-Fi connection and not an AT&T network”….???? Am I supposed to leave work and walk around the block so that I can click on the links without being on WiFi? Even turning off the WiFi on my iPhone resulted in the same error message… which is why I called customer service and will have to call back because I have not received a confirmation message).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com.

For more information on privacy policies see: http://wp.me/p10nNq-tf; http://wp.me/p10nNq-bL; http://wp.me/p10nNq-ni; @iplegalfreebies and for more information on Opt-Out policies see: http://wp.me/p10nNq-6j

Three Myths about collecting information from website users Reply

MYTH: collecting just an email address from website users is unregulated

MYTH: collecting information from children using a website is unregulated

MYTH: how website users who provide their email address are contacted is unregulated

ALL THREE OF THESE STATEMENTS ARE MYTHS. None of these are instances when collecting information from website users is unregulated.

There are laws in place regulating how information can be collected from website users. If any personal information is being collected from website users it is important to have a customized “Privacy Policy” and “Terms of Use” for your website. A Privacy Policy and Terms of Use provide an important function on a website. They give details about what information is being collected, how it is stored and used… and they operate as a digital agreement between the website user and the website operator (just to name a few of the functions).

For more information see: Privacy Policies are often required on Commercial Websites: http://wp.me/p10nNq-bL; The California Online Privacy Protection Act: http://oag.ca.gov/privacy/COPPA; CAN-SPAM Act: Compliance Guide for Business: http://www.business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business; Children’s Online Privacy: http://business.ftc.gov/privacy-and-security/children%E2%80%99s-online-privacy; EU ‘safe harbor’ arrangement: http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/ecom/menu.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

 

Viral Post Won’t Protect Copyright in US… Although Maybe in EU 2

If you use Facebook, I’m sure you have seen the viral post proclaiming copyright in posted content. While the proclamation sounds rather official…. it doesn’t actually mean anything (if you are in the US)… nor does it preserve any of your rights (including copyright) that are modified, abdicated,or terminated by the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the Facebook website. What this means is that by using the Facebook website the conditions listed in the Terms of Service (which speak to broad control and use of posted content by Facebook for virtual eternity) are consented to.

The Viral Post (or a modified version of it):

I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, professional photos and videos, etc. For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place…them under protection of copyright laws).

In response to the viral post, Facebook has a statement on their website dispelling the rumor and directing folks to its Terms of Service which state (but are subject to change):

For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

How did the viral post get started? One explanation is youthful optimism. Another possibility (and very interesting possibility) is that the post was started in the EU where organized challenges to Facebook’s Privacy Policy and Terms are Services are being made for non-conformance with EU laws. The EU has different policies (from the US) regarding the use of data including photo archives and EU laws may require different consent mechanisms. (Since Facebook is a US company, it is likely that their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service are written in American legalese). While surfing through the website for Europe-v-Facebook.org (which is a group in the EU that is challenging Facebook’s Privacy Policy and has threatened litigation for non-compliance with EU law) I read this: “We were just informed that Facebook is soon proposing a new change to its privacy policy…. Facebook said so far that if 7,000 users demand the same changes they would have users give the chance to vote on them.” If this is true… it could be interesting… it could have started the viral post or one like it… and it could possibly change Facebook’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service in the EU… and maybe other places too.

See also, http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html; http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57554497-93/viral-post-wont-copyright-your-facebook-updates/; http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms; http://newsroom.fb.com/Fact-Check; NY Times article: Law Students in Austria Challenge Facebook Policy on 12/5/12 and www.kasterlegal.com

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

What happens to your photos once posted to Facebook? Reply

Facebook thrives because people want to connect and share photographs and other content. However, connecting and sharing content on Facebook means that Facebook makes the rules for how the content is shared, used, copied and made available to others. (Facebook also has the privilege of changing these terms of use at anytime and is known for making significant policy changes frequently. For the current Terms of Service see –>; http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms).

Here are three significant components of Facebook’s current policy concerning photographs that you post to Facebook (these are the terms as of today… and may change tomorrow):

  1. …you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. (Subject to how you set the privacy and application settings on your account).
  2. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
  3. Facebook respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits users from posting content that violates another party’s intellectual property rights. When we receive a valid notice of IP infringement, we promptly remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing content. We also terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances.

What can happen to your photographs when you post it to Facebook under these Terms? The short answer – ALMOST ANYTHING… especially if you have left the default settings on your Facebook page to allow public access to the content you post on Facebook.  If however, someone else posts a photograph that you took and own the rights to… then you have a bit more muscle and can request that Facebook remove or disable access to the photograph by reporting a copyright infringement to Facebook.

To report a copyright infringement on Facebook go to –>; https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=190268144407210 …you will see that there is an online form as well as a contact email [ip@fb.com] and mailing address.

See also: http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms, https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=190268144407210; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

Interested in PINTEREST.COM’s growth and use of photographs posted to the site 3

Have you heard the buzz about PINTEREST.COM? Amazingly, PINTEREST is demonstrating record-breaking growth and is now the fastest growing site to reach 10 million users… and it focuses on sharing photographs and visuals.

This obviously raises questions on what you are ‘agreeing to’ when you post a photograph or visual image on the site. Like all large social media websites, PINTEREST, outlines these details in their terms of use.

The bottom line: If you post a photograph to PINTEREST you are virtually giving your image away. By posting content on PINTEREST you grant the site a:

“worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.” http://pinterest.com/about/terms/

(This means that the website can use your image for virtually any, conceivable purpose…. including granting their other users permission to use and exploit your work on the ‘Site, Application, or Services.’)

Three things to watch out for:

  • Post only your own original work or work you are authorized to distribute and license (or the content can be removed due to copyright infringement if the actual owner requests PINTEREST to do so)
  • Post only work that you want to have FREELY USED by and potentially SOLD to others
  • Post only work that you have permission to use in this way

For example, a bride may not have permission from the professional photographer who took the photo to share it in this way and conversely the photographer may or may not have permission from a bride to share her portraits in this way. (Under these terms agreed to when posting a photograph to this site… any picture posted could potentially be sold to another party and end up in an advertisement on the other side of the world without needing permission from or paying $ to the person who posted it on the site. This could get complicated…)

P.S. Keep in mind that the Terms of Use often change frequently for most social media websites… so it’s a good idea to recheck them often.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

 

See also:http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/ ; http://rawsocialmedia.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/the-power-of-pinterest-a-great-infographic-guide-to-pintrest-with-some-very-persuasive-data/; http://www.bloomberg.com/video/88836636/@iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Privacy Policies are often required on commercial websites

If a commercial website collects personal information from consumers and users, it is often required that a Privacy Policy be posted to the website.  Here are FOUR things to know about Privacy Policies:

  • ITS THE LAW, to post a Privacy Policy if a website is directed to children under 13 or a website operator knows that personal information is being collected from kids under 13
  • ITS THE LAW, to post a Privacy Policy if any personally identifying information is collected from consumers based in California
  • The EU, Canada and Australia require that website operators who collect personally identifiable information from consumers in within their borders post Privacy Policies.  Even if you are operating a website from another country, posting a Privacy Policy is recommended if you are collecting information from people in these countries.
  • POST AN ACCURATE PRIVACY POLICY.  This sounds obvious, but it’s important that the Privacy Policy that you post is accurate, relevant to your business, clear and is not deceptive.

For more information see: State Laws: http://www.ncsl.org/default.aspx?tabid=13463; Children’s Online Privacy: http://business.ftc.gov/privacy-and-security/children%E2%80%99s-online-privacy; EU ‘safe harbor’ arrangement: http://www.ita.doc.gov/td/ecom/menu.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com