• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
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  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
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  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
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  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
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  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

How should brands deal with objectionable online content?

The growth of social media and blogging platforms provides an expanding forum for user-generated content. Individuals can, with one click, broadcast their views or other information via social media, blogs, or by submitting comments and reviews on third party websites.

Closely linked, is the risk that users will publish objectionable material, whether untrue, damaging, malicious or even abusive.

We’ve all read scathing online reviews and heard reports of malicious, or even abusive, tweets or content. Such content can be extremely damaging to a brand, particularly where it is unfair or inaccurate. 

So, where the content is objectionable and accumulating significant attention, what options do brands have? 

There are a number of legal causes of action: defamation (where something untrue has been asserted, without justification, which is likely to lower the brand in the minds of those reading it); trade mark infringement (where online content uses a registered trade mark without permission, in a manner which is not honest or fair); and even harassment.  Whatever the basis of claim, a brand-owner will first have to find out who is responsible.  This can be difficult, especially where the user conceals their identity. 

If verifiable contact details can be ascertained, a formal letter might be enough to stop the user but equally, it might encourage them to increase online activity, meaning going directly to Court can be more appropriate, but will be more expensive.

The Claimant will seek an injunction, preventing repetition of the material, as well as compensation. The English justice system permits the winning party to recover reasonable legal costs from the loser, however there is no guarantee they will actually be good for the money so litigation can be an expensive way to deal with objectionable online content.

Legal action may appear overly-aggressive, resulting in worse PR repercussions than the original content so brand-owners should also consider: responding directly via social media; seeking takedown via the online platform; or manipulating search engines. 

O2 previously combined a sense of humour with quick response times to turn a twitter complaint into a PR triumph. Recently, Ashley Madison used take down notices, based on copyright infringement, to have the names of its subscribers removed from the web, after its data leak

It can easily go wrong, however, with brands such as Samsung coming under fire for overdoing it with their social media efforts. Take down notices should not be sent in every situation. There must be a legitimate legal basis for seeking removal, as content that amounts to ‘fair use’ can often stay online, as Universal Music Group found out. Attempting to take pre-emptive measures can also backfire, as one hotel found out when it threatened to fine guests for bad reviews.   

There is, of course, the option to do nothing.  This won’t be appropriate in all circumstances, but where the content has not (yet) really attracted much attention taking action might actually be counter-productive.  

For further information please contact Emily Nuttall.

This article first appeared in The Wall.