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It has often been observed that the law struggles to keep up with the advance of technology. Arguably, there’s no intersection of law and technology where this axiom is more on the mark than when it is applied to the interplay between copyright law and social media.

All the same challenges which the internet has presented to intellectual property jurisprudence since the advent of the commercial web have only been exacerbated by the explosion of social media use in recent years. After all, in the early days of the web, a relatively small percentage of people using the internet were actively publishing content thereon compared to now, when every person who holds a social media account effectively serves as his or her own publisher.

For those interested in the ongoing tug of war between the enforcement of intellectual property law and the far more freewheeling behavior of social media users, below are three cases on which to keep an eye. Only one directly involves social media, but the other two have significant and broad copyright-related implications which could impact how social media users use online content – as well as whether they can be sued for their use of the content, and if so, by whom.

Goldman v. Breitbart

Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v.

Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles


Gene Zorkin has been covering legal and political issues for various adult publications (and under a variety of different pen names) since 2002.

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