Friday, August 17, 2012

Will the International Olympic Committee strip Michael Phelps of his gold medals because of leaked Louis Vuitton photos?

On June 28, 2011, I was one of the first to analyze the new International Olympic Committee's social media regulations. When the regulations initially were released, I immediately noticed that there may some major challenges with the policies. At that time I stated, "In general, the IOC's Social Media Policy appears to be a good starting point for discussion. However, the points I mention above need to be addressed before the Games begin to lessen the likeliehood that social media compliance misunderstandings may occur."

During a conversation I had with ReadWriteWeb that was published on June 26, 2012, I stated that the "IOC’s social media policy is, at best, a work in progress, and that both official Olympic sponsors and the IOC will likely learn some hard lessons as the 2012 games progress." For example, under the IOC's Rule 40 (their social media regulations) Michael Phelps could be stripped of all of his medals because during the Olympics some photographs were leaked online of him that also contained Louis Vuitton merchandise and Louis Vuitton was not an official Olympic sponsor.

I highly doubt that Michael Phelps will be stripped of his 2012 Olympic medals because the negative press would create a huge black mark on a highly successful Olympic Games. However, as our world becomes more digitized the IOC must prepare for the possibility that similar situations may occur in the future and adjust their social media regulations accordingly before the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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.

Has Facebook created a legal duty to monitor for illegal activity?

Does Facebook have a legal duty to monitor for illegal activity on its website? Facebook is an international company with its headquarters in California. However, Facebook must comply with the laws of every jurisdiction where it operates.

In Australia, Facebook was recently pressured to remove a page that was alleged racist. At first, it appeared that Facebook claimed that because it is based in California it did not have to comply with Australia's anti-discrimination laws. However, after more public and governmental pressure Facebook eventually removed the controversial page.

A series of Facebook chats in Canada recently caught the attention of Facebook's staff who reported it to Winnipeg law enforcement officials. Detectives arrested a suspect and he is now facing charges of sexual assault, sexual interference, and luring. It may have been noble of Facebook to report an alleged criminal act but what would have happened if Facebook knew about the chats but didn't report them?

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.