Social media – new laws for new attitudes
A survey commissioned by DLA Piper’s Intellectual Property and Technology group in 2008 found a marked lack of awareness amongst bloggers of their legal rights and responsibilities. Three years on, social media has evolved dramatically. But has users’ understanding of the law evolved with it?
Social media is an increasingly pervasive and important part of everyday life and there have been numerous incidents that have illustrated the influence that social media outlets now have on society. This summer's riots across the UK are one such example; Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger were all used to varying extents to incite and organise rioting and subsequently featured in the prosecution of those involved, whilst many of us "watched" events unfold via the same platforms.
However, despite the fact that social media is now an integral part of the way we live and, increasingly, the way we work, its rapid rise in popularity has been matched by a distinct lack of understanding amongst its users of the law and how it applies online.
We have sought to build on the findings of our 2008 survey – which found that just 5% of internet users were clear about their legal liabilities – in order to establish how the British public is using social media today, if their understanding of the law has improved, and to gauge how people think the law should apply in this increasingly ubiquitous medium.
The findings provide some fascinating insights and the report offers analysis and commentary from experienced digital media legal experts in our Intellectual Property and Technology group. The report provides valuable intelligence for anyone operating within the world of social media and user-generated content.
Read the report
Despite an increase in internet users’ awareness of their legal rights and responsibilities since 2008, the survey reveals that two thirds still claim to have little or no awareness, a worryingly high percentage. Clearly there is a need for change and this report poses the question of how far this should come in the shape of specific regulation and legislation, and how far it needs a change of attitude and greater emphasis on responsibility and self-control online. In essence is it the "social", or the "media", in "social media" that we need to fix?