Social drinkers. The founder of the Lagunitas Brewing Company decided to drop a lawsuit that he’d filed against Sierra Nevada for trademark infringement after beer drinkers expressed their disapproval of the suit on Twitter. The complaint claimed the letters “IPA” on the label for Sierra Nevada’s Hop Hunter IPA mimicked the “IPA” on Lagunitas’ India Pale Ale product because the font, color, kerning (or letter spacing) and “weathered look” of those initials were similar on both packages. After Lagunitas’ founder, Tony Magee, posted on Twitter about the suit, beer consumers expressed their dismay on that social media platform, with some even tweeting threats to boycott Lagunitas’ products. One consumer tweeted: “You’re suing over kerning? The labels look nothing alike and you’ve just done more damage to your brand than SN did.” Magee acquiesced to the Twitter mob by tweeting his intention to withdraw the suit the very next day.
Copyright crises averted. Until very recently, YouTube video creators had no way of knowing whether the music they included in their content was copyrighted until they’d uploaded their videos onto the site. Once uploaded onto YouTube, the music was (and still is) automatically scanned against the video-sharing site’s database of copyrighted material, known as Content ID. If a newly uploaded video contains music that matches a file in that database, YouTube responds by automatically following the copyright holder’s instructions on what to do with infringing material: mute the audio part of the video that matches the copyright holder’s music; block the whole video from being viewed on YouTube; track the number of times the video is viewed on YouTube; or enable the infringing video to make money for the copyright holder by placing advertisements on it. Now, thanks to a feature added last month, people who post content to YouTube no longer have to wait until they’ve uploaded their videos to learn the fate of that content. The new feature allows YouTube video creators to search the YouTube Audio Library for songs they plan to use in their content. The Audio Library will then inform the video creators if someone else owns the rights to the songs they’re considering.
Reputation preservation. A New York City-based start up wants to help save people who lack social media savvy from themselves. For $5 a month ($10 to monitor your interactions on more than one network), the company, ThinkUp, helps a subscriber understand how he is coming across on platforms including Facebook and Twitter by emailing the subscriber information such as how often he congratulates others and uses certain words on social media. Seem unnecessary? Other people must think so, too; the company recently announced that its user base isn’t growing as quickly as its founders had hoped. Conditions nevertheless seem ripe for ThinkUp’s success. A New York Times “Personal Tech” columnist reported that he found ThinkUp “to be an indispensable guide to how [he] navigate[s] social networks,” and, given the prevalence of news stories describing a social media gaffe’s potential to ruin someone’s reputation and career, you’d think there’d be no shortage of people willing to pony up $5 to help them stay in their online communities’ good graces.