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Can You Tweet That? Social Media and the Law

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A resident tweets about a moldy apartment; the apartment company sues her for libel. An employee is fired because of a photo on Facebook. A monkey takes a self portrait on a digital camera accidently left in the forest by a photographer. Who owns the copyright – the monkey or the photographer? A month after the court verdict, there are more than 40 Facebook pages entitled F*ck Casey Anthony.

In today’s digital age, technology is advancing faster than the law. Do old-school laws apply to new-school technology? Don’t we have 1st Amendment rights online or should we be scared about what we post? In this thought-provoking session, we’ll look at legal issues, such as defamation, copyright, the 1st Amendment and hate speech, and how these issues apply to social media. We’ll discuss the definitions of these issues and examine recent court cases around social media and let the audience decide if these cases have merit.



Dara Quackenbush Sr Lecturer Texas State University

Dara Quackenbush is a public relations professor at Texas State University and a strategic communications adviser. She has more than 15 years of experience in marketing communications, public relations, branding and product positioning and has worked with both start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Dara began teaching in 2005 and strives to bring real-world experience to the classroom. Outside of the university, she works with clients to develop branding, positioning, social media strategies, messaging and strategic communications plans.

Dara is very involved in the community and volunteers for several local theatre and art organizations. She is president-elect for the Austin chapter of the Association of Women in Communications and is on the board of Austin Shakespeare. She was the chair of the marketing committee for the Austin American Heart Association’s 2007-2008 Go Red for Women and Heart Ball campaigns and the 2008-2009 Art Alliance Austin season.

Dara is a graduate of the Leadership Austin Essential program. She is one of winners of the 2010 Austin American-Statesman Texas Social Media Awards and the recipient of the 2010 Mentor Award from the Austin professional chapter of the Association for Women in Communication. She was a finalist for the 2009 Student Organization Faculty Adviser of the Year, Texas State Student Organizations Council and a 2008 Foundation of Excellence Honoree, Texas State University Student Foundation.

Dara earned a master’s degree in mass communication from Texas State University, where her research emphasis was blogging and opinion leadership, and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas.

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