Legal Guide to Social Media cover

Kimberly A. Houser

Allworth Press, 2013


Millions of photos, links, and comments are posted to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter every day, yet the legal briar patch of copyright, privacy, defamation, and more can snag both personal and business users. Houser, an attorney and clinical professor in Washington State University’s College of Business, wrote this book as a guide to some common legal risks of social media.

With the rise of social media marketing, the number of implications for the law has grown tremendously. Social media also spans so many legal jurisdictions that a small businessperson or entrepreneur must navigate some serious complications. Can you post about a product or person? What are the issues around licensing? How do terms of use and privacy policies on a website apply to you?

Many of her clients now ask about making sure their websites are “legal” as much as they ask about forming a corporation, writes Houser. She produced this book as a plain English explanation of laws affecting social media because of that demand. She uses a question and answer format to explain many of the legal complexities of employment law, copyright infringement, right to publicity, and other concepts for the layperson.

Her book comes at a crucial time and fulfils a definite need for any business engaged with social media—and that means virtually everyone. If you’ve wondered how to respond to a takedown request from Pinterest, what you can write on an online forum, or who really owns your work Twitter handle, this book can provide some advice and direction.