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Is It Game Over For Balotelli After Controversial Instagram Post?

Timely Warning To Businesses Regarding Social Media Policies

02.12.2014

David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

Liverpool FC forward Mario Balotelli’s alleged anti-Semitic and racist Instagram post could see him face a claim from Nintendo for both copyright and trade mark infringement, says leading national law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Balotelli has deleted the post, which contained Nintendo computer game character Super Mario, and since then both his club and the FA have confirmed that they are looking into the matter.

Under the FA's social media guidelines, the minimum ban for race-related breaches of rules is five games.

The law firm says that in addition to being fined by his club and the FA, unless he has Nintendo’s permission to use the image of Super Mario, he may be liable for copyright and trade mark infringement.

Georgie Collins at the London office of Irwin Mitchell said:

Expert Opinion
The use of Nintendo’s image for these purposes could get him into hot water for both copyright and trade mark infringement, especially given the content which could be said to bring Nintendo’s rights into disrepute or be denigrated.”
Georgie Collins, Partner

The Liverpool striker is not the first footballer to get into trouble from using social media. In 2012, former England defender Rio Ferdinand was fined £45,000 and found guilty of improper conduct for a tweet he sent about Ashley Cole.

In addition to the intellectual property issues that are at stake, employment lawyers from the firm have highlighted the importance for employers to remind employees about the dangers of social media.

Omer Simjee, an employment Partner from Irwin Mitchell, said:

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