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In California, the right of publicity isn’t reserved for “reality” stars and actual famous people: it applies to everyday types, too.
Last month, Facebook settled a claim with California residents over the company’s “Sponsored Stories.” The plaintiffs challenged the posts, arguing that using a person’s image to promote a product without the person’s consent violates the state’s right of publicity laws. This week, the terms of the Facebook settlement became public: Facebook will cough up attorneys fees and $10 million cy pres to charity.
What are "Sponsored Stories" and how are they worth a $10 million penalty/donation?
As FindLaw's Courtside explains, "When a Facebook user 'likes' a product or company, or posts something related to a product or company, Facebook will sometimes present those likes or posts to other users in that person's network as a paid promotion for the product or company." Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg has stated that friend-endorsed "stories" are worth two to three times the value of a non-endorsed ad on Facebook.
Under the terms of the Facebook settlement, the company must start providing notifications to users when their posts might be used as Sponsored Stories, and offer users a way of opting out of Sponsored Stories.
The terms of the Facebook settlement mandate:
(Brief thanks to TechCrunch for gleaning the terms from the settlement.)
How do you think the Facebook settlement will affect the company? Are you going to opt out of Sponsored Stories?