No sooner have you graduated law school, passed the bar, and opened your own Social Media Law Practice when the phone rings.
“Billy McFarscam here,” the voice on the phone tells you. “I need your help!”
You listen to Billy’s tale of a music festival he wants to hold on a remote tropical island. He says the festival will have so many bands and rappers and singers and mimes and A-list celebrities that it will no doubt be the hottest event on the planet. It will be so hot, he tells you, that the air around the festival will combust with hotness. So he has decided to call this the BUST Festival.
“First thing’s first, we have to create a ton of buzz about the event. So I’ve hired every influencer I can find. Some have millions of followers, some only have a few hundred. One account is only followed by my mom. I’ve told them to all post a blank black screen tomorrow on every social media platform they can. The only caption will be a mention of my Instagram account, @TotalBustFestivalRocksSoHard. I’ve also told all my employees to do the same, along with the five agencies I’ve hired to help promote the event. So many influencers and employees posting away, we’re going to get so much attention, right? I think it’s a guaranteed hit, but then I thought maybe there’d be some legal issues here so I’m wondering if you can advise me on my campaign.”
What advice do you give Mr. McFarscam about his campaign?
Billy McFarscam is so pleased with your legal advice he immediately retains your legal services with a check for $300,000 (with strict directions not to cash the check until next February 30).
Billy’s latest idea is around a contest he’s going to hold as part of the BUST Festival. Billy has buried a treasure chest filled with valuable prizes (he won’t say exactly what but you think he said something about “$50 worth of kazoos”) on the island. His plan is to have people post on social media about the BUST Festival. Every time they post about the Festival they’ll earn points–plain text posts using the hashtag #TotalBUST get 1 point, regular pictures that tag the festival’s Instagram account earn 3 points, pictures with Bust Festival shirts earn 10 points.
After two weeks, people who have entered the contest will receive clues based on how many points they’ve received. 1-20 points gets a general clue, 21-50 points gets more clues, etc. And whoever digs up the treasure chest first, wins the prize.
Mr. McFarscam is convinced this is the greatest contest ever invented or that ever will be invented, but he wants to make sure that he’s covered against any potential legal issues since he’s never done a contest (or a music festival) before.
What advice do you give him about his contest?
The day of the BUST Festival has quickly arrived. Although Billy offered you free tickets to the event, you politely declined and stayed home to work with other clients, ones who pay. You start seeing some news alerts on your phone and computer about the BUST Festival and the coverage is entirely negative.
Stories about shoddy tents instead of promised luxury villas are on CNN. Reuters ran a report of all the bands that have cancelled their appearances leaving only Nickelback and a Christian metalcore band to play all three days of the festival. MSNBC posted pictures taken at the festival showing the advertised gourmet meals are nothing more than a packet of string cheese and a sleeve of crackers.
Billy calls you, his voice in a bit of a panic. In the background of his phone you hear screams and crowds of voices. Billy is livid over all the negative press and wants to know what can be done to take it down, take it all down. He says that all tickets required BUST Festival attendees to assign the copyright in any picture or video taken at the festival to Billy so he wants all the pictures and videos taken down immediately. He doesn’t care as much about the text posts because he doesn’t think people read anymore.
What do you tell Billy you can do about these posts?