Venable partner Po Yi discussed the influence digital media is having on brand identity and intellectual property rights in a Lexis Practice Advisor Q&A.
Asked about changes she has seen in IP activities over the course of her practice, Yi said, "Digital media, especially social media, has changed the way people think about IP issues because there is so much content out there, and it is available to everyone. A lot of my clients, and this is true of the general public, think that just because you can see it and it's in public areas, that you can take that content and use it…Another change is that everything is just so fast. We used to have time to think about issues, but we don't have time anymore because of social media. Things are happening instantly, and we have to help our client make decisions on issues as they arise for immediate execution every day. Some issues we have seen before, but some issues we have not seen before."
Discussing issues facing clients in her advertising practice, Yi said, "Native advertising and influence marketing are the top issues right now. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been extremely active in this field. Native advertising is advertising using contextually relevant content that has been paid for by the brand. Influencer marketing involves a brand engaging influencers (primarily in social media) to communicate a marketing message to reach the influencers' fan base. Typically, the influencer has been given a promotional consideration or free products by the brand, or the production costs have been paid for by a brand. If the connection between the brand and the native advertising content or the influencer is not disclosed to the consumers, that could be a major problem for the brand, the content partner, and the influencer."