Influencers on Social media – Between Law and Ethics

25 September 2018, Brown Bag Lunch
12.15-13.45, MakerSpace (room beside Mensa), University of St. Gallen

Social media has been changing the way in which people communicate, and that is nothing new. The emergence of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or – more recently –Musical.ly has transformed social interaction in peer-networks. This transformation can be noticed by anyone participating in or observing such networks. What is less noticeable, though, is how business models have changed to benefit from these shifts in social trends.

One industry where business practices have been fundamentally impacted is the advertising industry. While in the early days of social media marketing, social networks were used to establish online brand identity, since 2015 a new advertising concept has been sweeping the online space: influencer marketing. Based on peer empowerment – anyone with a camera and internet connection can start producing content for an online social media platform, influencer marketing is to social media what native advertising is to the news world. Persons with well- followed social media accounts lend their brand image for the endorsement of goods or services, while rarely – if at all – disclosing that their support does not necessarily entail genuine appreciation for the endorsed things, but that such support is paid or bartered for.

This event aims to discuss influencer marketing using insights from private law, ethics as well as journalistic practice. Register by sending an e-mail to isabel.ebert@unisg.ch by 23 September. Exceptionally, Skype connections may also be available for streaming.

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10 Years After Romania’s Accesion to the EU: European Contract Law (Doctrinal and Empirical Observations)


The Maastricht European Private Law Institute and the Legal Research Institute of the Romanian Academy (Centre for the Study of European Law – CSDE) are organising a conference on current issues of European contract law. 2017 marks a decade after Romania’s accession to the European Union, which is a meaningful moment for legal researchers to evaluate various aspects in different sub-areas of private law with respect to the development of the Romanian legal system as a legal system of the European Union.

The conference will include both doctrinal and empirical observations on European contract law. At the same time, the conference will serve as a dissemination platform for the first empirical study on the application of European law by Romanian national judges.

The event will also honour Prof. Nicolae Turcu, the former president of the Romanian Legislative Council’s Civil Law Section, who passed away earlier this year, to the grief of both legal academia and practice.

The full programme of the event can be found here (in Romanian/English).

Registration requests can be sent to ardae2007@gmail.com until 20 October 2017.

The conference is free of charge.

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Consumers on Fyre: Influencer Marketing and Recent Reactions of the United States Federal Trade Commission

 

*Content re-posted from the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum  – Transatlantic Antitrust and IPR Developments, Bimonthly Newsletter, Issue No. 3/2017 (June 12, 2017)

 

Social Media Disruptions

Silicon Valley continues to change our world. Technology-driven innovations that are disseminated with the help of the Internet have met with great success. This success translates into heaps of followers, as one can see in the case of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, it is the followers themselves who continually affect the purposes of these platforms. A good example in this sense is Youtube; what started out as an alternative channel for the sharing of low-resolution home videos soon became a place where users could actually create their own content professionally. If well-received, this content leads to real Internet phenomena, and eventually become monetized, via direct or indirect advertising. Individuals around the world now have access to their own TV-stations where they can attract funders and actually make a good living out of running their channels.

Online content creation raises issues that are similar to those in the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, etc.). On the one hand, online platforms connect individual content providers with viewers, in the same peer-to-peer fashion that AirBnB connects an apartment owner and a tourist. Given the service-orientation of both activities, provided they are monetized, a clear issue emerges: when does an individual stop being a peer? In other words, what does it mean to be a consumer in this environment? Relatedly, what legal standards apply to the process of creating such content?

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Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology (Pavia, 8 February)

On 8 February I had the pleasure to accompany Jan Smits for a visit to Pavia, where we gave a presentation titled ‘Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology’, on the third day of the Innovating Legal Studies and Practice Winter School 2017.

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Caroline Cauffman at the European Consumer Summit 2016

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This year’s Summit is entirely dedicated to the fitness check of EU consumer and marketing law in the framework of Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). ‘Fitness Check’ is a comprehensive policy evaluation aimed at assessing whether the regulatory framework for a particular policy sector is ‘fit for purpose’.

Consumer policy represents one of the most significate achievements of EU single market and makes a tangible difference in the lives of the European citizens. EU consumer and marketing law guarantees a high level of consumer protection and facilitates cross-border trade in goods and services.

The Fitness Check’s objective is to evaluate the functioning of the existing rules and to identify the needs for modernisation, so that EU citizens continue to benefit of a high level of consumer protection and at the same time economic operators, especially SMEs have a clear and fair level-playing field.

During the Summit, we will discuss in particular issues around consumer information requirements, the fairness of commercial practices and of contractual terms and ways to enhance the effectiveness of the injunction procedure. Representatives of national authorities, European institutions, consumer organisations, businesses as well as academics will be invited to contribute to the discussions, which will feed into the Commission’s examination. A number of prominent speakers have already confirmed participation.

Over the years, the European Consumer Summit has become a valuable occasion to increase awareness concerning consumer policy and a key tool to mainstream consumer interests in key EU policies.

European Commission
Directorate General for Justice & Consumers

The European Consumer Summit 2016 highlighted the need for better enforcement of the EU consumer protection rules. The results of the workshop that aimed at formulating concrete proposals for enhancing the effectiveness of the injunctions procedure were presented by our own Caroline Cauffman: https://webcast.ec.europa.eu/european-consumer-summit# (as of 16:13).

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‘The Prism Effect’ of European Jurisdictions (Al. I. Cuza University, Iasi, Romania, 21 October 2016)

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On 21 October 2016, the Robertianum Private Law Center at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University (Iasi, Romania) will be holding its national conference on ‘The Prism Effect’ of European Jurisdictions. The theme of the conference reflects the role of the European judge in the interpretation of the law, as well as the different methodologies applied by the European judge in the process.

Mihai Sandru and Catalina Goanta will present, also on behalf of their collaborator Dragos Calin, a preliminary research framework for the study of unfair contract terms in Romanian law. This project builds on the existing expertise of the Romanian Association of Law and European Affairs together with the Judge Forum Association Romania as well as The Center for European Law Studies of the Romanian Academy. Within the ambit of this collaboration, a lot of effort has already been dedicated to the mapping of preliminary questions sent by Romanian national judges to the Court of Justice (here you can find an overview of these questions – Romanian only).

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