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Lawsuit

Will the YouTube/Michelle Phan Lawsuit Change the Influencer Game?

Michelle Phan

In case you missed it: Michelle Phan, the “make-up demonstrator and entrepreneur” who became a prime influencer by posting short YouTube videos with titles like “Beach Beauty Essentials” and “How to Take the Perfect Selfie”–and earning nearly seven million followers in the process–got sued last week.

The suit, which could be worth several million dollars, stemmed from the fact that Phan allegedly used music by Ultra Records artist Kaskade in her clips without permission.

Phan is at the forefront of the social media influencer movement, earning more than $5 million in 2012 thanks to brand deals and appearing in ads for YouTube itself. The suit filed against her marks something of a first and raises some big questions about the future of one of the hottest trends in marketing.

Will it change the way the influencer game works?

Eric Dahan, the CEO of Instabrand.com, who spoke to us about using influencers to market to Millennials last month, has some thoughts after the jump.

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FedEx Responds to Indictment for Shipping Items From Illegal Online Pharmacies

fedex truckFedEx is facing a 15-count indictment including a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances charge, stemming from allegations the shipping company did not heed warnings from US drug officials that illegal online pharmacies were using the company’s services to ship prescription drugs. FedEx SVP Patrick Fitzgerald says the company will plead not guilty.

According to the indictment, FedEx had been warned as far back as 2004 about these illegal online pharmacies. “In one instance,” reports The New York Times, “FedEx knew the Drug Enforcement Administration had shut down one pharmacy, but continued to ship packages from its affiliates.” The company is accused of coming up with other ways to get these packages to recipients, including deliveries to parking lots and vacant homes.

Fitzgerald posted an extended response to the indictment on the FedEx website, using a hot keyword in its defense: “privacy.”

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Fan Caught Sleeping through Yankees/Red Sox Game Sues MLB and ESPN for $10 Million

Yankees fan caught sleeping suing ESPN for $10 million | New York Post

It’s embarrassing to be caught with your pants down (or, in this case, your very droopy eyelids), but one baseball fan who caught some flack for catching some Z’s at a recent Yankees vs. Red Sox game isn’t taking the criticism lying down — perhaps because he sleeps sitting up.

During a recent game between the two rival teams, Yankees fan Andrew Rector was filmed snoozing in his seat at Yankee Stadium. In response, Rector has filed a $10 million defamation suit against the team, ESPN and the MLB, stating that the ESPN commentators who covered the game — Dan Shulman and John Kruk — hurled an “avalanche of disparaging words” in his direction.

According to Rector’s typo-filled suit, Shulman and Kruk’s nationally-broadcasted “false statements” include suggestions that Rector is “not worthy” to be a Yankee fan, “is a fatty cow that need two seats at all time and represent symbol of failure,” and is “a confused individual that neither understands nor knows anything about history and the meaning of rivalry between Red Sox and New York Yankee.” Read more

Lawsuit Blames Woman’s Injuries on ‘Shocking and Menacing’ Dexter Ad

dexter-stairs-hed-2014

We thought Dexter‘s MO was to generally avoid harming the innocent, but one woman is claiming otherwise.

In a lawsuit that names Showtime, The City of New York, and The Manhattan Transportation Authority, Ajanaffy Njewadda asserts that her recent tumble down a flight of stairs at the Grand Central subway terminal — which resulted in a concussion and a broken ankle — was caused by the “shocking and menacing” ad for “Dexter” that was plastered to the stairs at the time.

Njewadda claims that the image of actor Michael C. Hall with his face wrapped in cellophane startled her so badly that she lost her footing and fell, sustaining the injuries.

To be honest, ever since we told you about the TNT/Purell ads urging subway riders to avoid becoming victims of a (fictional) global pandemic, we were kind of wondering when someone would freak out about one of the over-the-top brand takeovers that have been happening in the Grand Central Terminal — we just didn’t expect it to be one we had already completely forgotten about.

U.S. Patent Office Kills Washington Football Team’s Trademark Status

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Washington RedskinsThe unofficial “People vs. Daniel Snyder” case continued its devolution today with news that the U.S. Patent Office had withdrawn the registration belonging to They-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.

This means that the team no longer has exclusive rights to its name or trademark (pending appeals that will probably never end).

So even if/when Snyder’s team bows to popular pressure and changes the name, some “Dukes of Hazzard” types will be able to produce and profit from related merchandise without suffering under the full force of the law. We look forward to calling them “bootleggers.”

The board’s bold statement after the jump.

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THIS JUST IN: Canadian Supreme Court Hearts Internet Trolls

THIS JUST IN 2Discussions about offering the full slate of human rights to certain undesirables began with prisoners. Then, the debate extended to deadbeat dads. A small group of people began using that argument for reality stars.

And now, that heated discussion has Internet trolls in its cross hairs. They create a fake profile, use a fake email, keep the egg head avatar, develop a catchy name like “YourMom” and proceed to hurl hate bombs in your direction.

Today, even the worst trolls have a home. If you want to travel north of the border, don’t get those Canucks miffed because the Canadian Supreme Court could care less about your feelers or their anonymity.

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Detroit’s Gamble Could Be the PR Move Motor City Needs

motor city casino

Is this Detroit’s final bet for a fixed city?

Back in December, we brought you a story concerning the dire need for PR in Detroit. A plea to the public may be the only thing to rescue this once thriving epicenter of commerce and really fine music.

The government has failed it. The auto industry has failed it. And now the folks of Detroit are $18 million in debt with only one ironic source of hope — gambling.

According to the Wall Street JournalDetroit’s three casinos pull in some nice coin, which is what was offered as collateral in the 2009 negotiations with some big banks to secure lower interest rates on its excruciating debt. And that forces us to re-ask the same question: where is the PR?

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Chobani Claims That No One Owns the Word ‘How’

During last year’s Super Bowl, Chobani and its ad agency Droga5 told us that “how matters.” It was a brilliant Chipotle-style CSR call-to-arms that led, in part, to speculation that the company will soon go public.

Now author/ethics consultant Dov Seidman and his lawyers want to make that filing process a bit more difficult.

Seidman, whose best-selling book bore the title How: Why How We Do Anything Means Everything and an introduction by no less than Bill Clinton, filed suit against both agency and client yesterday for “trademark and service mark infringement and unfair competition.”

For some reason, he seems to think that the campaign might have been related to his book…

Interestingly, Seidman’s company LRN retweeted the message above before declaring it to be lawsuit-worthy. A little extra explanation after the jump.

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PRCA Wins Big Legal Victory Over Newspaper Distributors in Europe

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BREAKING: PR has triumphed over media in the UK. Well, sort of.

The not-quite-shocking conclusion reached by The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg holds that web surfers can Google and click to their hearts’ content without the permission of whoever holds the copyrights for the content they see.

Does this make sense to you?

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Dan Marino: ‘Sue the NFL? Not Me!’

Dolphins Dan Marino

Even the greats need crisis comms help. 

Poor Dan Marino. Poor, hapless, no-Super-Bowl-ring-earning, Hall-of-Fame-jacket-wearing, no-clue-having Dan Marino.

I sure hope all that tackle football didn’t mess with his head like it did to his former colleagues in the class-action lawsuit brought against the NFL. According to court documents filed last week in Philadelphia, Marino joined 14 other former players in filing the newest federal case.

Upon hearing the news, Dan Marino quickly disputed his status as poster boy for the suit, which alleges that the former players never got the facts about concussions in the NFL.

To wit, he said, “Count me out, bro.”

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