Social media, influencers, the law and you

Boughton Law junior lawyer Donya Vahidi talks about new field of law

TRU grad and Boughton lawyer Donya Vahidi speaks about the recent trend in social media law. (Aidan Gether/The Omega)

As social media becomes an increasingly prominent source of marketing in our lives, so do the ideas surrounding how to regulate sponsored content. A new field of law dealing primarily with social media is starting to be carved out through new precedents being set.

Donya Vahidi, a previous TRU graduate is one of the lawyers that is helping establish that precedent. Vahidi works for Boughton Law as a junior lawyer with a focus on social media and how it relates to the law. As part of the TRU SLS Student Conference, Vahidi gave a speech outlining some of the intricacies of this newly developing field.

“I feel like it’s really hard to talk about law in the 21st century and not bring up social media because it’s obviously taking over the world right now. In every way,” Vahidi declared as she kicked off her keynote presentation on the topic.

“For example, I’m wearing this blazer. Let’s pretend I’m an Instagram influencer and I would say, “Hey everybody I know I have all these followers, do you like this blazer? You can buy it from this website,” and they’ll list the website to the store and use promo code Donya20 which will give you 20 per cent off,” Vahidi said about a practical use of social media and marketing that is often undertaken.

“We come in with advertising disclosure requirements. So just last week I had a client email me with a mockup of an Instagram post that she was going to post with respect to this outfit that somebody was wearing. She said, ‘Is this okay, can I post this?’ and it was interesting because the picture wasn’t an influencer she engaged with at all, it was a celebrity who she found in like US Daily or one of these magazines who was wearing the exact, let’s say it was a tee shirt that she had designed,” Vahidi told the audience in respect to what a common correspondence looks like.

“We actually got together to work together to create a kind of flow chart for her that she leaves in her office to say, “Can you do this? No, yes, no,” and I put a binder together for her and went to her warehouse and trained her staff because now she has upwards of 100 people working on it,” she continued.

Vahidi also gave the crowd examples of high profile lawsuits that were filed both due to copyright infringement as well as breach of contract for seemingly small things. One case she talked about was the lawsuit against actor Luka Sabbat for failing to wear Snapchat branded glasses at a party that he had previously agreed to.

The keynote proved to be light-hearted and engaging much to the credit of Vahidi’s talent as a speaker and promises an emerging new field of law work where the advantage is distinctly in favour of millennials.