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Emojis and emoticons are showing up in court cases, and lawyers are all (☉_☉) about it




A picture shows emoji characters also known as emoticons on the screens of two mobile phones in Paris on August 6, 2015.
A picture shows emoji characters also known as emoticons on the screens of two mobile phones in Paris on August 6, 2015.
MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images

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Lawyers are having a tough time arguing in court when emoticon and emojis are involved.

With the ambiguous nature of a martini glass or dancing horse come questions in sexual harassment, defamation and other cases.

As reported by the Wall Street Journal, judges on a Michigan Court of Appeals came to the decision that “:P” was used to “denote a joke or sarcasm and could not be considered defamatory.” Another lawyer’s sexual harassment case in Santa Monica argued that a red-lipstick kiss emoji confirmed that a potential female employee approved of a producer’s sexual advances.

With the endless combinations of emojis and emoticons and their meanings, how are lawyers navigating this new landscape?

Guests:

Gabriella Ziccarelli, technology attorney at Blank Rome LLP in Washington D.C., where she addresses disruptive technologies including emojis and emoticons in court cases