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Digital Disputes

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Internet Lawyer


This blog discusses some of the common things that can get you BUSTED online!  If you need help, send us an email to the address on the right sidebar on this page.

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California Internet Attorney

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Top 25 things you are doing online that are probably illegal

  1. Posting revenge porn (ex. ex-girfriend or boyfriend videos, former spouse)
  2. Cyberbullying (harassing, bullying, intimidating, threatening the person or property of another via electronic communications)
  3.  Exposing personally identifiable information of another for no good reason (ex. posting someones social security number, loathsome disease, etc.).  This could be seen as one of the four privacy torts
  4. Googling nefarious things (ex. “how to make a bomb” or “how to hire a hitman”).  Shows possible intent to commit a crime.
  5. Accessing the “deep web” or “dark web” or “undernet” or “invisible web” (places that may not be indexed on google and which may lead you to nefarious websites).  Note: accessing with a VPN or proxy may not always be secure.  Ex. using i2P, TOR, Freenet you still need to be careful not to run afoul of the law.
  6. Torrenting (downloading copyrighted videos, TV shows or music and allowing others to share it).  Violates copyright holders rights to copy, distribute, publicly perform, etc.
  7. Faking your name online (fake accounts, impersonation accounts) which violate terms of service or rights of another person or company.
  8. Underage account access to social media sites (in violation of terms of use), for example a 10 year old using a facebook account.
  9. Business owners whose websites do not provide adequate accessibility to those with handicaps or disabilities under the ADA.
  10. Copyright infringement (ex. using someones photos on your homepage, or using music or photos in your youtube videos, or using copyrighted content in your podcast or on your blogs).  Note “willful copyright infringement” can lead to $150,000 in statutory damages, yes, I know that’s crazy, but that’s the law.
  11. Downloading or viewing photos of minors in sexual contexts
  12. Performing a guitar “cover song” or using other copyrighted music online.  Get permission, or hope for a fair use defense.  Parody songs may be protected by the first amendment.
  13. Streaming content from the theater or musical performance (ex. concert) and “going live” on facebook or streaming live to youtube or another website.
  14. Sharing passwords to access software or services online (in violation of terms of service).  May also be a DMCA anti-circumvention issue.
  15. Faking or spoofing your IP address (being anonymous and doing nefarious things)
  16. Defrauding someone on an eBay, Etsy or other online store.  Also, failing to report income as earnings (IRS issue), or selling software online (where you only have a “license” and not “title” to sell).
  17. Connecting to an unsecured wifi without authorization (ex. stealing bandwidth).
  18. Buying the domain name for a popular company and then seeking to approach them to sell the domain for profit (could be seen as cybersquatting and could lead to a UDRP action or lawsuit under the ACPA).
  19. Creating a “sucks” gripe site that goes overboard and defames or tarnishes a popular, famous or well known internet brand.
  20. Recording a SKYPE CALL or GOOGLE HANGOUT without permission of the other party (check your state illegal tape recording call laws, and federal laws).
  21. Using someone’s name, image or likeness (ex. voice, signature or nickname), on your websites, blogs, podcasts, video channels, twitter, facebook, or other online marketing or digital advertising (ex. on a banner ad) for commercial purposes without first obtaining consent.  Could violate California Right of Publicity Law).
  22. Sending mass amounts of spam, not allowing people to opt out of emails, etc.
  23. Making false statements of fact about other companies (libel/slander) which can lead to a internet defamation lawsuit.  You have the first amendment right to free speech, but this does not allow for defamation or placing another person in a “false light” in the public eye.
  24. Paying someone for an endorsement, or creating your own false endorsements (FTC may bring an enforcement action, could also lead to false advertising claims.
  25. Doing anything else that harms the person, property, business, or reputation of another.

Contact a Internet, Social Media and IP attorney

If you find yourself or your business involved in a digital dispute, call us to discuss your case.  We offer a free initial discussion as time permits.  Call us at (877) 276-5084.  For many non-litigation cases, we can usually structure a low flat rate legal fee.