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Today’s age has brought us information at our fingertips at the snap of our fingers with social media. While this can help us in many cases, you can also be hurt by this if you don’t know how to use it correctly. There a numerous crimes such as infringements and defamation that go “hand-in-hand” with the failure to use social media correctly. In an article by carterlaw, they give you 4 crimes and the price you may have to pay if you are guilty of committing them.
Make sure to check the U.S. Patent and Trademark Database for registered trademarks before branding yourself. If you have the same name for your business as someone else in your industry and they have it registered, then you are committing trademark infringement. Price: cost of rebranding*
Illegal Social Media Policy
If a company fires an employee for violating their social media policy, but it’s discovered that the policy violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), the company may be ordered to pay the employee back wages, damages and offer their job back. If the company is ordered to pay back the employee $10,000 that is considered getting off easy. Price: at least $10,000*
Don’t go thinking you can use any image on the internet as long as you cite the source. If you do that you could easily be committing copyright infringement. Photographers are becoming more savvy on protecting their products. Price: $150,000 (per work copied)*
Defamation is a tricky and is heavily based on how you state something as you write. If you make a false statement about a person to a third party that hurts that person’s reputation, then you could be sued for defamation. A problem can arise when you believe you are stating an opinion, but how you say it makes it sound like you are stating a fact. If it is a lie, then it could be defamatory. Price: $2,500,000*
Note (*): These numbers do not include any legal fees you could face along with damages if you are sued.