Marketing on the social Web – a few legal considerations

I was asked to speak at the Marketing Legislation Conference at The Rosebank yesterday by Knowledge Resources. My topic was “Marketing on the social Web – legal considerations for digital marketers” and I thought I would approach it a little differently to the usual legal presentations you tend to see at conferences. Actually, all my presentations are a little different from the usual legal presentations. I spoke about the social Web and the challenges it presents to marketers. I am fairly heavily influenced in how I think about the social Web by the Cluetrain Manifesto and, more recently, Marketing in the Groundswell.

I was hoping to record my talk and make it available here for you to listen to but my recording setup still needs a little work. I have uploaded my presentation to Slideshare which you can take a look at here:

You’ll notice that one of the slides is blank. I embedded this video titled “Building on the Past” which is a great introduction to Creative Commons licensing and to the social media mindset itself:

By far one of the biggest challenges that lawyers certainly face is that the social media mindset is totally foreign to them and looks a lot like hippy piracy thinking. There is this notion that if something is online it can be used, remixed and re-used but I think that comes more out of this underlying “sharing is caring” ethos, and not so much out of a specific desire to infringe anyone’s rights. This scares lawyers who tend to be conservative and averse to this sort of open sharing, especially when it comes to digital media.

This isn’t to say that the law is meaningless online. Quite the contrary, the law provides an important and essential framework for the Web and digital media generally. What I do believe is that the traditional rules need to be adapted to social media because, ultimately, people who are social media users will prevail and will find a way to do what they want to do. The law should be used to facilitate the social Web while at the same time shaping its evolution with due respect to intellectual property rights, reputation and privacy concerns. This is all possible but it begins with an understanding of what motivates people on the social Web and you don’t get that from law school.

If you are interested in the program for yesterday’s event, here it is:

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