Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Should Facebook Be Held Accountable For Allegedly Hosting Ads For Counterfeit Merchandise?

The Digital Age and now the Social Media Age has had a significant effect on traditional methods of protecting intellectual property.  Sports brands and athletes may be losing hundreds of millions and possibly billions of dollars a year due to fraud and the misappropriation of their digital image and likeness.  Stopping the problem is like playing whack-w-mole in your local arcade.  When you think you have hit every target another one appears.

Every couple of months there seems to be another story how law enforcement has seized websites and/or counterfeit merchandise.  Last year, when I read that Google paid a $500 million dollar fine to avoid prosecution that it knowingly accepted advertising that was against the law I wondered if Facebook had a similar problem.  I started to pay closer attention to the ads that were appearing on my Facebook account and soon realized that Facebook may be accepting ads for counterfeit merchandise.  

I have seen a tremendous number of ads for allegedly counterfeit merchandise on Facebook and I have discussed this issue with others, including the media.  Generally, Internet platforms are not liable for the content that is posted on their websites.  However, if a digital platform is put on notice about a problem and does not take reasonable steps to resolve it then it may have potential legal liability.

Does the law need to be updated?  Does enforcement need to be increased?

To learn more about these issues you may contact me at

Copyright 2012 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.  

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