In The News

Stephen Zralek to Present "Legal Issues in Social Media"

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek will present “Legal Issues in Social Media” at the Nashville Business Journal’s Crash Course on Social Media half-day seminar held Wednesday, March 30 at Lipscomb University Shamblin Theater.


Discussions will include how to create, implement and measure a successful social presence for your business and coaching for building a social media marketing plan.


Click here to register.


 

Stephen Zralek Speaks on “How to Protect Against a Lawsuit When Using Social Media”

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek speaks to Indie Connect Magazine on issues every social media user needs to know to help protect against a lawsuit ranging from copyrights and trademarks to fair use, privacy and terms of use.


Click here for “’CYA – How to Protect Against a Lawsuit When Using Social Media’ with Stephen Zralek Esq.”


 

"Anonymous Online Defamation: Fighting Back to Protect Yourself and Your Business"

With the explosion of social media, businesses and individuals are becoming daily victims of anonymous online defamation.

With tools like Twitter and Topix, now everyone has a megaphone to say whatever they want to the widest possible audience.  Many say this is freedom of speech at its best.  But as with anything, this freedom comes at a high price.

Putting bloggers on equal footing with traditional journalism has many upsides, but now we are beginning to see the downsides, as well. Online reviews of restaurants and movies, for example, are often helpful. Generally, those reviews state opinions rather than facts, such as: “This movie was terrible,” or “This restaurant has the best food.”  Opinion cannot constitute defamation. But websites today also allow patients to review doctors, students to review teachers, and customers to review everything from iPads to car repair service. When these reviews include untrue facts, they may constitute defamation.  For example, a review expressing a diner’s opinion about how food tastes is mere opinion and does not constitute defamation, but a review claiming that a restaurant had a health department rating of 65 when the actual rating was 97 is an untrue fact that likely could serve as the basis of a defamation claim.

Sometimes the negative comments are minor and the best advice is to brush them off.  But other times the comments are serious and deserve a stronger response, such as when they indicate you committed scandalous or criminal conduct, that you are untrustworthy, or that you have committed malpractice. These comments can damage your reputation and harm you economically if they steer business away from you.  When that happens, especially if it happens more than once from the same person, you may have grounds to assert a claim of business interference, and not just defamation.

One of the biggest challenges with the Web 2.0 is the fact that most online reviews and comments are made anonymously.  If that’s the case, how can you protect yourself?  How can you even find out the identity of the poster?

Fortunately, victims are not without recourse.  Most people think that they can say whatever they want online and that no one will ever know who said it.  This is incorrect.  There are ways to find out the identity of online posters, but you need to act quickly since Internet service providers (ISPs) often destroy records of online activity after 180 days.

If you find that you are the victim of disparaging comments made online, you won’t get very far suing the website that hosts the comments (known as user generated comment or “UGC”).  Hosting websites are immune from liability related to UGC under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.  But you can have your attorney send a cease and desist letter to the website demanding that the comments be removed.  Sometimes websites comply; other times their terms and conditions do not allow them to comply without a court order.

When you want to find the identity of the anonymous poster, and not just have the comments removed, you can also file a “John Doe” lawsuit against unknown defendants, empowering you to subpoena the host website for the IP address of the person posting the comments.  From there, you can determine the ISP.  Because the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984 prohibits ISPs from disclosing personally identifying information about Internet users to non-governmental entities without a court order, the next step is to obtain a court order allowing you to subpoena the ISP for the identity of the poster.  Recently, a court in Nashville refused to allow an anonymous poster to hide his identity, and allowed the victim to move forward with its subpoena of the ISP.

Finally, responding to anonymous online defamation often requires a multi-faceted approach. Recently, one of my business clients found several comments online that accused its employee of criminal and scandalous conduct. Given the context, the client needed legal advice on not just the social media issues, above, but also with employment law issues.  If defamatory comments are made that threaten to damage your reputation and your business, don’t just sit back and take it.  Instead, consider your options in fighting back.


 

Stephen Zralek’s WaterCooler Networking Event to Feature “Molding Your Image in a 24/7 World”

The next WaterCooler event is set for Monday, October 11, 2010 from 5:30 to 7pm at Fish & Co.   Co-hosted by Stephen Zralek of Bone McAllester Norton, Renata Soto of Conexión Américas and Wade Munday, WaterCooler is an open invitation, informal networking group for young entrepreneurs.  Bring your friends and please RSVP to Kristi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Join us for after-work drinks and networking as we welcome WKRN anchor Christine Madella.  In addition to serving as an anchor, Christine is also a media consultant for entertainers, athletes and organizations.  She will lead a discussion on molding your image in a world where we are constantly connected, as individuals and organizations, whether through social media or traditional media.

Christine was one of the early reporters to use Twitter as a journalist, and is credited for having broken the news of Steve McNair's death on Twitter.  With over 4,000 followers on Twitter, you can follow her here: www.twitter.com/christnemaddela

We will meet at Fish & Co. (formerly Miro District), near Vanderbilt.  Come check out the new restaurant, which has garnered great reviews.  When you enter, go upstairs and to the back of the room.


Please RSVP to Kristi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Friday, October 8, so that we can give Fish & Co. an accurate headcount.  Feel free to invite your friends.


WaterCooler Presents
Christine Maddela
"Molding Your Image in a 24/7 World"
Monday, October 11, 2010
5:30- 7:00 PM
Fish & Co.
(1922 Adelicia Street)
$10 includes food with cash bar


WaterCooler is an informal networking group for young entrepreneurs in their 20s, 30s and 40s that meets the second Monday of every month from 5:30-7pm for cocktails, networking and the chance to hear vibrant speakers on a variety of topics.  There is no official membership and no dues -- just come when the speaker interests you.

WaterCooler began in September 2009 and has featured the following speakers/topics:

September 2009: Kimberly Pace (Owen School): "Personal Marketing"
October 2009: Clint Smith (Emma): "The Art of Everyday Innovation"
November 2009: Chris Ferrell (SouthComm): "The Changing Delivery of Information"
December 2009: Becca Stevens (Magdalene/Thistle Farms): "Walking in Gratitude"
January 2010: Freddie O'Connell (SearchViz): "Search Engine Optimization"
February 2010: Bob Bernstein (Bongo Java)/Jose Gonzalez (Belmont): "Entrepreneurship with Heart"
March 2010: Sid Chambless (Nashville Capital Network): "Investment Capital for Young Entrepreneurs"
April 2010: Networking for WaterCooler attendees
June 2010: Laura Creekmore (Creekmore Consulting): "Using Social Media as a Young Entrepreneur"
July 2010: Alan Young (Armor Concepts LLC): "Secrets of Starting a Successful Company"
September 2010: Ed Nash (Oxford Fine Arts): "The Art of Buying Fine Art"


 

Stephen Zralek to Present How to Protect Against a Lawsuit when Using Social Media

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek will present a session titled How to Protect Against a Lawsuit when Using Social Media at BarCamp Nashville on Saturday, October 16th at Cadillac Ranch.


 Stephen will be among dozens of presenters at this free, new-media focused “unconference” which brings together the brightest minds from the new media, tech, entrepreneurial and “geek” communities.


Below is an overview of Stephen’s topic:


Legal issues are often the last thing people think of when using Twitter, Facebook or blogging. They say that ignorance is bliss, but ignorance of the law is never an excuse in court.


We will explore issues that every social media user needs to know to help protect against a lawsuit, ranging from copyrights and trademarks (copying others’ content, photos or logos) to fair use, privacy & terms of use, along with questions from the audience.


Learn more and register for BarCamp Nashville.





 

Stephen Zralek's Watercooler Networking Event to Feature "The Art of Collecting Fine Art"

The next Watercooler networking event will be held on Monday, September 13, 2010, at 5:30 PM at the Stanford Fine Art Gallery in Belle Meade, at 6608 Highway 100, just past the Hwy 100/70 split.


  We have relocated this upcoming WaterCooler to allow our future host, Fish & Co, to complete its renovations.  There is no charge for attending this WaterCooler and complementary wine will be available.  What better reward for making the trek to the backwoods of Belle Meade than this informal networking and learning opportunity?  (Networking from 5:30 to 6:00; Ed begins his presentation around 6:00.)


"The Art of Collecting Fine Art"
with Ed Nash of Oxford Fine Arts


Please RSVP to Kristi at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so that we can give an accurate headcount.  Feel free to invite your friends, and let us know of anyone else who should be on our list.


WaterCooler Presents
Ed Nash
"The Art of Collecting Fine Art"
Monday, 13 September, 2010
5:30- 7:00 PM
Stanford Fine Art Gallery
6608 Highway 100
Renata, Stephen, and Wade


WaterCooler is an informal networking group for young entrepreneurs in their 20s, 30s and 40s that meets the second Monday of every month from 5:30-7pm for cocktails, networking and the chance to hear vibrant speakers on a variety of topics.  There is no official membership and no dues -- just come when the speaker interests you.

WaterCooler began in September 2009 and has featured the following speakers/topics:

September 2009: Kimberly Pace (Owen School): "Personal Marketing"
October 2009: Clint Smith (Emma): "The Art of Everyday Innovation"
November 2009: Chris Ferrell (SouthComm): "The Changing Delivery of Information"
December 2009: Becca Stevens (Magdalene/Thistle Farms): "Walking in Gratitude"
January 2010: Freddie O'Connell (SearchViz): "Search Engine Optimization"
February 2010: Bob Bernstein (Bongo Java)/Jose Gonzalez (Belmont): "Entrepreneurship with Heart"
March 2010: Sid Chambless (Nashville Capital Network): "Investment Capital for Young Entrepreneurs"
April 2010: Networking for WaterCooler attendees
June 2010: Laura Creekmore (Creekmore Consulting): "Using Social Media as a Young Entrepreneur"
July 2010: Alan Young (Armor Concepts LLC): "Secrets of Starting a Successful Company"


 

ABA Copyright Litigation Committee Co-Chair Stephen Zralek Announces Annual Conference Events in San Francisco

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek, co-chair of the American Bar Association (ABA) Copyright Litigation Committee, has announced committee events to be held during the ABA annual meeting on August 6 in San Francisco. All committee members attending the annual meeting are invited to attend.


Committee Meeting/Roundtable Discussion: The Committee will meet Friday, August 6, from 11:45am to 12:45pm in the SoMa Room on the 3rd floor of the InterContinental San Francisco.  Dale Cendali, a copyright litigation superstar at Kirkland & Ellis, will lead a roundtable discussion about current issues in copyright litigation and share some observations from her representation of The Associated Press in the lawsuit against Shepard Fairey (who used the AP's photo of President Obama to create a poster and other merchandise).  As "Above the Law" Blog says: "In case you're not familiar with her, Dale Cendali is a big deal. . . . [she] is a Bad-Ass Litigatrix."

We'll also shape our agenda for the coming year and establish subcommittees, including Hot Topics, Bulletin, Webinars, and planning next year's Annual Meeting. .

Happy Hour:  Drinks on Friday, August 6 at 6:30 at ThirstyBear Brewing Company, billed as "San Francisco's first & only organic brewery," located only 2 blocks from the Intercontinental at 661 Howard Street.

 

September 2010 Newsletter Features 11 Awards, Social Media Tips, Rappelling Off a Building, Economic Tips, ABC's First Liquor License & New Health Care Laws

September has been an especially busy month at Bone McAllester Norton.  To read the rest of our newsletter, click here.

Bone McAllester Norton Attorneys Charles Bone, Stephen Zralek and Trace Blakenship Named "Best of the Bar"

Bone McAllester Norton is pleased to announce that three members of our firm are among 30 lawyers in Middle Tennessee named to the Nashville Business Journal's 2010 “Best of the Bar.”


  Nominated by peers and chosen by a panel of judges, these attorneys were selected for their commitment to their clients, dedication to their respective areas of the law, and their respect and professionalism toward their peers and chosen profession.


Honorees from Bone McAllester Norton are Charles W. Bone and Stephen Zralek in the category Outstanding Small Law Firm and Trace Blankenship for Rising Star.


 

Bone McAllester Norton Attorneys Charles Bone, Stephen Zralek and Trace Blakenship Named "Best of the Bar"

Bone McAllester Norton is pleased to announce that three members of our firm are among 30 lawyers in Middle Tennessee named to the Nashville Business Journal's 2010 “Best of the Bar.”

  Nominated by peers and chosen by a panel of judges, these attorneys were selected for their commitment to their clients, dedication to their respective areas of the law, and their respect and professionalism toward their peers and chosen profession.

Honorees from Bone McAllester Norton are Charles W. Bone and Stephen Zralek in the category Outstanding Small Law Firm and Trace Blankenship for Rising Star.

 

Stephen Zralek Moderates Panel on Termination of Transfer Rights

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek moderated a panel of distinguished faculty on Termination of Transfer Rights on May 3, 2010.


  The seminar addressed provisions of the Copyright Act that allow authors to recapture rights to their works, which they may have transferred earlier in exchange for getting their works published.  Recapture rights currently is one of the biggest issues in copyright law, as the Copyright Act allows authors to exercise such rights only within certain windows of time, some of which are opening and/or closing in the next few years.  The seminar was produced by the American Bar Association Copyright Litigation Committee, of which Stephen is Vice Chair.  It was recorded and is accessible from this link: http://www.abanet.org/cle/programs/nosearch/tiocmo.html