Can retweeting or sharing someone else’s content get you into trouble? Possibly, based on news reports of a recently filed lawsuit seeking damages for defamation from a cable TV host who retweeted a twitter photo suggesting that someone has made racially derogatory comments. This case seems similar to the one about which we wrote here, where a court found a company liable for copyright violations for embedding a link to a Twitter photo on its site, when the photo was originally posted on Twitter without permission of a copyright owner. While neither of these cases are final decisions, and liability has not been determined in either case, they do point out that you need to be careful with what you post – that publicizing or actively sharing content raises issues of whether you could be liable if that promoted content has legal issues. With broadcasters and other media companies encouraging their public personalities to be active on social media, make sure that these personalities are warned to be cautious about what they post – as your media company does not want to be the “deep pocket” that someone who feels wronged by a social media posts comes after in a lawsuit.

See links to recent presentations, here and here, which identify other legal issues that can come up in your use of social media.