If you are a trader selling goods, services or digital content to a consumer, these Regulations will apply to you.

The Regulations set out:

  • the information which a trader must give to a consumer before and after making a sale
  • how that information should be given
  • the right for consumers to change their minds when buying at a distance or off-premises
  • delivery times and passing of risk
  • a prohibition on any additional payments which appear as a default option
  • a prohibition on consumers having to pay more than the basic rate for post-contract customer helplines.

These regulations will apply to contracts concluded on or after 13 June 2014.On this date, the Distance Selling Regulations 2000 and Off-premises (Doorstep) Regulations 2008 will be revoked.

Where goods received are faulty or not fit for purpose or as described, consumers have different rights which are covered by separate legislation.

For more information about how the Regulations affect you and your business, please view the full article, The Consumer Contracts Regulations: A Guidance Note by Brian Miller, Solicitor

Your Domain Name

Make sure the right person is the registered owner of your domain name e.g. your company.  If it is in the name of an employee, there can be problems if he or she leaves the company’s employ.

If your website is high profile or successful, it may become the target of attack by hackers or those seeking to gain a financial benefit from the name or goodwill of your business. For instance, if your organisation is a charity, there is nothing to stop someone setting up a ‘spoof‘ or fake website and diverting donations away from people who think they are dealing with your website to the fraudster’s website, which can result in large financial losses.

It is therefore important to ensure that you register a trade mark corresponding to your domain name, so that third parties cannot use it or a similar name, as well as registering alternative versions of your domain name so others cannot do so.  Likewise, make sure your domain name doesn’t infringe a third party’s registered trade mark, in any part of the world where your website is likely to be looked at.

Own Your Own Website

Make sure you own the copyright in your website.  If it is developed by one or more of your employees in the course of their employment, the copyright will normally belong to the employer.  If the website is developed by a third party, make sure they assign copyright under the development contract, otherwise you may have only a right to use it, and not to license or assign the rights or sue infringers for copying it.  To assist in enforcement, make sure you put a copyright notice in a prominent place on the website (e.g. © 2012 Your Website Limited).

Clear Your Content

Make sure you own the copyright and all material you wish to put on your website, or have a licence to do so.  It is an infringement of copyright to put extracts of other people’s copyright works on a website unless you can claim a “fair dealing” exception in the UK.  This is narrower than “fair use” in the US and effectively only covers reporting current events.  “Thumbnails” of third parties’ photographs will infringe their copyright.  Lifting standard terms from a third party site can also infringe copyright.

Avoid Illegal Content

Apart from ensuring that your site does not infringe third party rights such as copyright or trade marks, it is important to ensure that any material you put on the site is not otherwise illegal e.g. if it is defamatory of someone.

Disability Discrimination

Since the passing of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now embodied into the Equality Act 2010), website owners, broadcasters and others who provide services to the public have been under a duty to ensure their sites and services are user-friendly for those with visual impairment and other disabilities.  Although there are no clear guidelines as to what “accessible” means as far as a website is concerned, it is advisable to comply with the lowest level of conformance with the guidelines issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which would include the following:

  • making a button available which increases the size of the text
  • ensuring that information conveyed in colour is available without colour
  • ensuring that the combination of background and foreground colours are sufficiently contrasted so as to be readable by someone with a visual impairment
  • making all elements of programming compatible with software which assists in the interpretation of websites, such as speech synthesis or Braille
  • for every non-text element on a site, making available a text-equivalent version
  • allowing the user to turn off any blinking, automatically updating, scrolling or moving objects

Use Effective Terms and Conditions

If your site involves any degree of interactivity, you should consider including suitable terms of use.  These should be in a prominent position.  Much of what is contained in standard terms of use involves an attempt to limit liability and such attempts are regulated by UK law, particularly where consumers are concerned, which can result in certain terms being held to be illegal by the Office of Fair Trading if a consumer makes a complaint.  Terms of use should always state the applicable law to which they are subject, but note that it may not be possible to prevent consumers suing in their own countries.

Formation of Contracts Through a Website

If you supply goods or services through your site, you should ensure that your customers have to agree to a standard set of terms of supply.  Where customers can enter into a contract through your website you must include clear details of:

  • the technical steps to follow in order to conclude a contract
  • the means of correcting errors in the order
  • the language of the contract
  • any applicable code of conduct

The customer must be able to access the terms and conditions and store and reproduce them.  The supplier must acknowledge receipt of the order without undue delay by electronic means.

Provision of Information

In addition there is certain information that you must provide under the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2000, including:

  • the full name and address of the company or other person who is the website owner (a domain name is not sufficient)
  • email and other contact details (a ‘contact form’ is not sufficient)
  • if a company, the company’s registration number
  • if the company is subject to an authorisation scheme, particulars of the relevant supervisory authority, e.g. the Financial Services Authority
  • if you are a member of a regulated profession, your member state, profession title, details of your professional body and relevant professional rules
  • your company or business’ VAT number (even if the website is not being used for e-commerce transactions)

Distance Selling

Where the website involves the sale of goods or supply of services to consumers through the site, you must comply with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000, which include a number of detailed requirements concerning:

  • the provision of information to the consumer
  • the statutory right of cancellation (with limited exceptions)
  • the requirement to supply the goods or services within thirty days

Privacy Policy

If the website collects personal information from individuals, you should include a privacy policy in order to comply with the Data Protection Act 1998.  In general terms, you must indicate the use you will make of any personal data and obtain consent for its use, particularly if you wish to use the details for direct marketing.  The privacy policy should contain details of:

  • who controls of the data
  • how the data will be used
  • to whom the information will be transmitted
  • whether the information is likely to leave the European Economic Area (or EEA)
  • the means of gathering information, including use of cookies (see also ‘Use of Cookies’, below)

“Sensitive Data” (e.g. about a person’s health or sex life) must only be collected if explicit consent to its use has been obtained from the data subject.  There must be a statement making clear that all subjects have a right to see the information held and there should be an opt-out box providing an opportunity to decline consent for the collection of information.

Use of Cookies

As a result of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011, a website operator must not store information or gain access to information stored in the computer (or other web-enabled device) of a user unless the user “is provided with clear and comprehensive information about the purposes of the storage of, or access to, that information” and “has given his or her consent”.

How you go about obtaining the consent of users is ultimately your choice.  Many organisations now use so-called ‘pop-ups’ to obtain such consent (see, for example, the Information Commissioner (or ICO’s) website at www.ico.gov.uk), so that it is sufficiently clear that consent has been given by encouraging the user to click ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, rather than simply referring the user to terms relating to cookies in a privacy policy, which may be hard for the user to find.  Failure to obtain sufficient consent could create problems with the ICO if a complaint were made.

This area is technically complex and we suggest you read the ICO’s guidance notes in detail in order to ensure compliance.

Online Advertising

There is no one source to go to for all rules relating to online advertising- it depends in what area your organisation or business operates.  E.g. if you are charity, there are specific codes of practice to follow in relation to online fundraising, in addition to the general body of rules underlying adverts, some of which are not legally binding and are ‘self-regulatory’.

The British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (otherwise known as the ‘CAP Code’) is enforced and administered by an independent body called the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). When preparing an online advertisement, you should refer to the rules set out in the CAP Code. The key principles that online marketers should always bear in mind is that all marketing communications on the web or elsewhere should:

  • be “legal, decent, honest and truthful” and not include anything that is likely to cause offence. For example, is the advert likely to cause offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability?
  • not be misleading. You need to ensure that all claims in adverts are accurate, unambiguous and can be substantiated. Do you have evidence for any claims made?
  • be prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers and society
  • respect the principles of fair competition generally accepted by business
  • not bring advertising into disrepute

The CAP Code is not a statutory code, but anyone can complain to the ASA about non-compliance, from which the ASA can adjudicate a decision.  The biggest incentive for organisations to comply with the CAP Code is that the publication of its decisions may lead to adverse publicity. The ASA can also require that all of an organisation’s adverts must be vetted in the future before publication.

Online Payments

Where online payments or donations are being taken, the payment processor must be ‘PCI compliant’ if taking card payments (a set of standards created by the Payment Card Industry, a conglomeration of several credit card companies).  Failure to do so can result in large fines and removal of merchant status, meaning that you will no longer be able to take card payments from customers until the processor meets the PCI standards of compliance.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

UK COURT OF APPEAL AWARD JUDGMENT IN SAMSUNG’S FAVOUR IN ‘TABLET WARS’

On 18 October 2012, the British Court of Appeal handed down its judgment in the dispute between Apple and Samsung over the design of three Samsung Galaxy tablet computers. You can read the full judgment here. The court unanimously upheld the decision of the High Court decision of 9 July that Samsung did not infringe Apple’s registered community designs relating to its iPad. Apple was also ordered to publish the outcome of the decision on its website.

Case History

This particular case related to the registered design of Apple’s tablet computer and whether the Galaxy tablet computers infringed that design. Proceedings started  in Germany and the Netherlands against Samsung’s UK subsidiary. In the UK, Samsung sought a declaration of non-infringement in relation to its Galaxy tablet computers. The matter proceeded to the High Court, followed by invalidation proceedings before the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal market (OHIM), the official office in Europe responsible for registering European designs, in respect of Apple’s registered community design.

The matter eventually ended up in the British High Court, where the judge at first instance assessed the similarities and differences between the two products and whether Samsung’s Galaxy tablet as a whole produced a different overall impression on the ‘informed user’ from that produced by Apple’s design registration, and concluded that it did. (The ‘informed user’ was deemed to be a user of hand-held tablet computers.)

High Court Judgment

Differences in the sides and back of the Galaxy including its “thinness” created an overall impression which was different from the registered design. The judge added that Samsung’s designs “do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design” and they were “not as cool“.

Following the decision, Samsung sought an order for publication of a notice on the homepage of Apple’s website and in national newspapers stating that its Galaxy tablet did not infringe Apple’s community registered design. The order was allowed but as a result of Apple’s appeal of the High Court decision, its execution was stayed pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal hearing.

Court of Appeal Judgment

On 18 October 2012, three appeal judges upheld the decision of the judge at first instance. Apple’s application to quash the order for publication of the decision on its website and in publications was also declined.

The court made it clear that “the issue is simply whether the accused design is too close to the registered design according to the tests laid down in the law“: “It is not about whether Samsung copied Apple’s iPad“. The court agreed with the lower court’s findings, confirming that “if the registered design has a scope as wide as Apple contends, it would foreclose much of the market for tablet computers.  Alterations in thickness, curvature of the sides, embellishment and so on would not escape its grasp. Legitimate competition by different designs would be stifled“.

This decision, binding throughout the EU, is one of a number of judgments in a worldwide and lengthy battle between the companies relating to intellectual property rights in the parties’ smart phones and tablet computers and shows the relatively narrow scope being given by the English courts to design registrations.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Increasingly in recent years individuals have been turning to the internet in search of legal advice. Whereas in the past the lawyer was primarily the first port of call for most people when inquiring about a legal matter, whereby it was not unusual for people to have a “personal or family” lawyer upon which they could rely when needing legal advice, nowadays individuals don’t tend to have the same relationships with a lawyer as you would have with your GP, for example, whereby, whenever in doubt, you can turn to for advice at no cost.

Many places on the internet have been offering legal advice in the last few years and this has led to attempts to curb the availability of this content. The internet has been of great help to lawyers in advertising their services, but has also prevented them from receiving potential clients, who manage to find what they need online. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2010-12, which has cut funding for legal advice and made the rules of giving legal advice stricter, has ever increased the resorting to the internet to find a legal solution.

Rather than a lawyer giving advice and answers to questions and specific problems, lawyers are becoming, increasingly, sources for information which provide general legal advice which individuals then interpret themselves. People now often create their own legal documents based on the templates that are provided by the internet. There is also such a thing called document assembly whereby, via an interface, users answer various questions which are then incorporated into the templates. Rocket Lawyer, an American project, is one of the more advanced examples of these and is planning to launch in the UK this year.

Traffic fines is an area of the law where many look to the internet for advice, and there is much information available for contesting them. On sites like “Ticketfighter”, you can speak to a solicitor online and be given quick answers. Many people have been successful in contesting such fines which can often end up in tribunals. This area of the law clearly demonstrates the growing participation that people are having with the law.

Nowadays, the increased commercialization of the law is being demonstrated by the growth in Alternative Business Structures (or ABSs) offering legal services alongside businesses such as supermarkets. Also becoming progressively more common is a brand of firms known as Quality Solicitors, who pride themselves on taking a revolutionary approach towards the law by providing their clients with a customer service and with an option to eventually meet a lawyer in person, all at a very reasonable cost.

Other than the financial implications that having to seek a solicitor implies, there is also a practical reasoning behind this phenomenon. People must feel that for certain problems, they are better off initially pursuing a resolution themselves, or that it is not worth seeking a professional for help.

Self-service wills have also been around for sometime such as those Kay Testler and more recently of Lawpack, which can be purchased at WH Smith and have been found to be quite useful. However, using a solicitor may save money in the end, although the initial expense may be off putting, given the potential for a badly drafted will to bequeath an estate to a wholly unintended beneficiary.

It should also not be forgotten that solicitors are required by the Law Society to have professional indemnity insurance of a minimum of £2 million (and £3 million in the case of a limited liability partnership or LLP), so in the event the worst happens and your will bequeaths everything to your mother-in-law, you will always be able to seek recompense from your solicitor’s insurance policy. There is also much transactional work which only qualified lawyers are capable of doing.

This is all especially true for commercial law and many people are now representing themselves in employment tribunals for example. The government has tried to encourage resolutions to employment issues through ACAS but many unsatisfied employees have insisted on making a claim and go to the Employment Tribunal. One judge has said that he believes that the rise in “DIY lawyers” is making trials more heated and fears that it could lead to more violence.

Nevertheless representing oneself is becoming more and more common and is sure to be on the rise.  Lawyers will be undoubtedly trying to find ways of benefiting from this, and others hoping that there be greater restrictions on the advice which is available.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

This article reflects the current law and practice. It is general in nature, and does not purport in any way to be comprehensive or a substitute for specialist legal advice in individual circumstances.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Apple acquires hundreds of LTE patents in readiness for iphone 5 launch.

Last year, Apple held precisely zero LTE patents (‘LTE‘ stands for Long Term Evolution and is to do with 4G connectivity, the next generation of super fast mobile networks).  This year, that figure has zoomed to 318.

Given that this amounts to roughly 5% of the world total, according to the Korea Intellectual Property Office, it has understandably caught attention online.

Samsung remains leagues ahead with the greatest patent share on the planet (819, closely followed by InterDigital with 780).  For this reason, bloggers have speculated that this move on Apple’s behalf is an attempt to catch up in preparation for the much-awaited release of the iPhone 5, which is rumoured to be an LTE smartphone itself.

Nonetheless, the Korean Times has reported that Samsung plans to ‘immediately sue’ Apple upon their release of any such LTE device.

Presumably out for blood after their recent defeat against the very same plaintiff, Apple can only hope that in the race for LTE patents, theirs is not a case of ‘too little, too late’.  As the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

The database goliath has to pay some of Google’s tab in failed lawsuit

The American multinational hardware-software corporation, Oracle, has been ordered by Judge William Alsup to hand over $1.13 million to Google.  The ruling followed a failed patent infringement lawsuit over Google’s Android mobile operating system. The judge ruled that Google had infringed just a few lines of code, and so Oracle was awarded zero dollars in damages.

Somewhat embarrassingly, the original suit diminished from 132 alleged violations to ‘a few lines of code’, as Gavin Clarke reports.  Although victory may not have been quite in the stars for Oracle, there was some good news to be had as the judge dismissed Google’s attempt to claim back a further bill of nearly $3m in discovery fees.

Judge Alsup commented:  ‘A close follower of this case will know that Oracle did not place great importance on its copyright claims until after its asserted patents started disappearing upon PTO [United States Patent and Trademark Office] re-examination…… Indeed, Oracle’s first damages report barely mentioned copyright claims.”’.

A hasty approach is ill-advised when it comes to a patent lawsuit, regardless of the circumstances. If you are in any doubt as to your rights in an intellectual property dispute, we suggest you take specialist legal advice.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Facebook co-operates with bloggers regarding data-collecting cookies that remain after logout from the social media project

The technological industry of today is growing hard and fast, and a new vocabulary is emerging with it.  Cookies are no longer the harmless baked goods of yesterday, but a growing online privacy concern.

It is in this light that a recent discovery by blogger Nik Cubrilovic was made, revealing that Facebook was tracking users’ visits to other sites via cookies.  This tracking was taking place not only during the Facebook sessions themselves but even post-logout from the site.

Whilst Facebook engineers were impressively quick to respond directly to the situation, modifying the manner in which cookies were stored, some cookies still survive the latest changes.  For this reason, the cautious are advised to clear their cookies after every use of the networking site before moving elsewhere on the web.

As Cubrilovic points out, ‘I believe Facebook when they describe what these cookies are used for, but that is not a reason to be complacent on privacy issues… take initiative in remaining safe’.

Given the day-to-day saturation of the modern world in online social media, the onus is now on the individual to monitor their own activities carefully – a task that should hopefully be made easier by the latest Data Protection Regulation from the EU.

This came into force this summer (2012) (as far as cookies are concerned) and requires that sites warn visitors about their cookie usage.  If you are unclear on how your site should implement cookie control in accordance with this directive, we can help.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Apple has condemned Samsung products as infringing its copyright and a hearing is scheduled on the 20th of September to consider Apple’s claims.

The tension between these two companies is not new. Their relationship has been quarrelsome for quite some time as each tries to vie for dominance of a smartphone market estimated to be worth $219 billion.

Though Apple requested a ban on seventeen models of Samsung phone and $2.5bn in damages, the jury reduced this to $1.05 bn owing to the Apple’s overestimation of Samsung’s profits.  Apple has never been restrained when it comes to condemning the products of its rivals.  However, not all allegations have been successful.  According to the Guardian, “the jury especially decided that the Galaxy Tab tablets did not infringe the “trade dress” of the iPad – that is, appear to be a copy.”  According to Bloomberg, when the claims were not found to have violated Apple’s copyright in the products named in the trial, instead of backtracking, Apple tried to extend the ban to products such as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 with wireless connectivity, which was not originally listed in the products Apple wanted banned.

Perhaps the real impact on Samsung is yet to be seen.  As yet, Apple have successfully banned just 17 models.  Samsung sells 152 models in the US.  Under the proposed ban is the Galaxy S2, Galaxy S.  The Nexus S and the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note remain unharmed.

Samsung has kept its comments restrained yet bitter, commenting that the court’s decision “should not be viewed as a win for Apple, but as a loss for the American consumer.”  Samsung believes that patent law is susceptible to manipulation “to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners.”  It appears there remains a disagreement on the actual terms of commercially essential patents which is yet to be solved.

It now remains for the jury to give a $1bn verdict in Apple’s favour and Samsung awaits a decision on which of its phones may be sold on the market in the US.  Though Samsung has “strived to maintain a cheery face” against its recent defeat, ostensibly the world market is not trusting this façade.  According to the Register, the “South Korean firm’s stock price has dropped nearly 8 per cent on the news.”

As both Apple and Samsung wait with bated breath for the outcome of the most recent conflict, the world waits to see if there will be a winner in the race for the perfect smartphone…

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

The Chinese web firm Cubic Network is suing Facebook as it claims that the timeline feature is in fact a breach of Xiong Wanli’s copyright.  It is believed that ‘friendly’ US lawyers have advised Xiong to file a case.

In 2011, Facebook introduced the Timeline feature allowing members to display their photos, comments and messages in chronological order on their ‘homepage.’  Cubic networks claim that they had the idea three years before, in 2008.

The allegations do not end there.  Xiong is believed to have claimed that the logo of Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference is also a mimic of their own logo.

The Chinese seem intent on suing.  Only recently, they tried to sue Apple over coining the name ‘iPad’.

The public is not the only group to question the Xiong and the Cubic Network’s actions.  It is curious why the Chinese are only raising the case now.  Perhaps Cubic Network is hoping that the giant social networking monster will come down and will provide a hole in the market for a website of their own to be the new dominator.

If you have a copyright idea (and it is genuinely original, or sufficiently different from a base work as to have its own copyright), then you should create an audit trail showing you are the original creator of the work.  If you are in any doubt as to how to do this, we can help you work out what would constitute an original work and what might be deemed to be a copy.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog

Companies are being encouraged to introduce well-drafted media policies to ensure employees know their boundaries and the consequences if their actions do not comply with expectations.

The Medical Protection Society’s head of medical services, Dr Nick Clements has reported that as much as a third of all society members use Facebook on a daily basis.   ‘It is all too easy for boundaries between our professional and private lives to become blurred’ said Dr Nick Clements.  Although a smaller crowd use Twitter the same dangers apply.  A single post on any of these sites can jeopardise the individual’s career as well as the company for which they work.

This policy swings both ways.  The private lives of the employee should not be readily available to clients and the general public.  Developments in the technology world mean that almost anything can be tracked. Should companies therefore ban the usage of personal social media altogether?

Though some believe ‘anonymously’ posting information is safe, this is not the case.  Identity can also be traced via an IP address.

Companies and medical organisations alike, must decide to what degree they will or will not tolerate the personal and business use of social media.  They would be advised to offer training for employees concerning their involvement and usage limitations with sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google+.  For example, some Doctors use doctors.net.uk and must not forget that the same code of conduct applies for such sites as for the more obvious social network media.

Ultimately, employees must remember that their behaviour can be traced, anything written be it for work or recreational purposes must be entirely compatible with employment standards.  Every company should have an up to date, accessible and comprehensive social media policy applicable to all past and present employees.

If you are unsure as to what such a policy should contain, or how it can be enforced against employees who breach it, we can help you draft one or deal with a difficult employee who has put your company’s reputation in jeopardy.

© Brian Miller, Solicitor, 2012. This article may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of the author.

Brian is a solicitor at Stone King LLP.  For further news and information on legal topics of interest, please visit Brian’s other blogs:

Brian Miller Solicitor’s Games Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s IP Law Blog
Brian Miller Solicitor’s Privacy & Data Protection Law Blog