In March, 2013, Denver’s premier social media marketing group welcomed Jim Thomas (@jimtdenver), Attorney/Owner at Minor & Brown, to discuss Legal & Copyright Considerations for Social Media Marketing. The material and discussion comprised Chapter Three of the custom Social Media Strategy Plans group members are developing.

Video courtesy of Conversation Starters Public Relations
If you’re following the group on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #SMGDenver, you may have seen some of the ongoing conversation. Here are highlights of that conversation, with some additional detail from the content provided at the event.

#smgdenver don’t worry about competition using your posts. Instead, focus on always providing more valuable content to your customers! – @musicmunch

Jim offered that the odds of your media being reused in violation of your rights are relatively high. Don’t post it if you couldn’t live with it being used by your competitors. Remember that Terms of Use contain licenses that give the platforms the right to use your property.

Why copyright a Tweet? Sharing is more important than ownership, it’s social, after all. Legal tip from @JimTdenver #SMGdenver – @toothdoclee

While it’s true that, technically, you own the copyright by publishing it first, that defense is difficult at best to support.  Jim and Dr. Weisbard agree here that the goal for your content should be consumption and sharing. Social media marketing should be offensive rather than defensive.

And when you err, should you delete the tweets and posts? No. Citing spoliation laws, Jim suggested treating social media content exactly like any record-keeping requirements that apply to your business. Hiding the evidence just creates more problems.


Thanks to #SMGDenver or I would not have known about the new ruling from the FTC. – @RoofBrokersInc

This was actually contributed by the group and was news to our guest expert (Everyone learns something every time)! On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, the Federal Trade Commission mandated sponsored tweets be clearly noted as such. The most popular and FTC-approved solution is to precede the principal content of the tweet with “Ad:”.


Listening to @jimtdenver at #SMGdenver”Who owns the social media account when the employee leaves?” Good stuff!! – @kimbirly

While admitting to an “evolving landscape” around this topic, Jim cited Colorado HB 1046, the National Labor Relations Act and the Stored Communications Act. These state that an employer cannot require disclosure of passwords or “friending.” Personal use of social media can be restricted during work hours or on company assets. Jim advised checking with an attorney before taking disciplinary action based on social media. Regarding noncompetition/nonsolicitation/confidentiality/trade secrets—think customer list—an employer’s best course of action is clear and reasonable policies, employment agreements, and covenants and consistent enforcement thereof.
Thomas’s presentation was preceded by brief addresses from John Vachalek, CEO of Webolutions and John Brackney, President & CEO of the South Metro Denver Chamber. Vachalek spoke about the “Humanization of Marketing.” Expanding on a theme established in the February presentation on Developing, Communicating and Understanding Your Brand Experience on Social Media, Vachalek stated the ubiquitous availability of all things has commoditized all products and services, enabling people to choose to do business with people they like and trust. “In an online world,” said Vachalek, “this is no longer just a person; it is the company.” Vachalek challenged all group members to “humanize” their companies–to define their culture, who they are and what they stand for in the world—and to communicate that in their social media marketing.

Brackney spoke about the South Metro Denver Chamber’s B.I.G. Day initiative and invited all group members to participate and to help raise awareness and participation about the event. B.I.G. stands for Be Involved. Give. It is a volunteer service day, the intent of which is to provide assistance to nonprofit organizations that perform valuable services in our communities by introducing them to the people and businesses that live and work in their backyard. The program’s goal is to supply over 1,000 volunteers or 4,500 person hours in one day in support of area non-profits.

Twitter hashtag: #BIGDay2013

Speed Tips  included peer-to-peer advice, which was not refuted by the expert, about what can and cannot be done with a YouTube video vis-à-vis copyright and how businesses can use the new Pinterest analytics tool.

Here’s what people said about the event:

• Good to know information, especially on the use of photos and video in social media. Love the energy! – Susie O.
• Terrific and timely information from a very knowledgeable person. – Joyce F.
• I learned a more about the legal aspects of Social Media Marketing. – John W.

There is no cost to attend Social Marketing for Business – Join the Conversation! and everyone is welcome. Each event is held at the South Metro Denver Chamber (@bestchamber) and features breakfast treats from My Favorite Muffin and Peet’s Coffee SouthGlenn.

Please join us at our upcoming events:
Friday, April 19, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00 AM: Chapter Four: Social Media Marketing and SEO – Get a top rank for my website!
Friday, May 17, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00 AM: Chapter Five: Advertising on Social Media Networks
Friday, June 21, 2013, 7:30 – 9:00 AM: Chapter Six: Using Video in Social Media Marketing

Who Should Attend: Executives and Business Owners interested in improving their social media marketing acumen and Return On Investment (ROI) from social media marketing

Where: South Metro Denver Chamber, 2154 E. Commons Ave., Suite 342, Centennial, CO, 80122, in the Streets at SouthGlenn.