Can the company control your social media profile when you change job?
The case of a “stolen” twitter account is the center of an ongoing legal dispute in California. PhoneDog.com, a tech website, has sued former employee for the Twitter following he accumulated while writing for the review site.
Henry J. Cittone, a lawyer in New York who litigates intellectual property disputes, stated, “This will establish precedent in the online world, as it relates to ownership of social media accounts.
“We’ve actually been waiting to see such a case as many of our clients are concerned about the ownership of social media accounts vis-á-vis their branding.”
The company is seeking damages to the tune of $340,000, valuing each follower at $2.50 per month over a period of eight months.
Ex-employee has 17000 followers Twitter:- Noah Kravitz, a mobile phone reviewer, contributed written and video content to Phonedog.com since April 2006.
During that period he regularly tapped into Twitter under the handle @PhoneDog_Noah and had built up around 17,000 followers.
When Kravitz left PhoneDog in October 2010, the company asked him to maintain the Twitter account in exchange for occasional posts on behalf of the company.
Agreeing to the proposal, Kravitz began writing as @noahkravitz but retained the 17,000 followers from the other Twitter account.
More than a year later, @noahkravitz has 22,158 followers. “I’ve always viewed it as my account,” Kravitz told VentureBeat of the now hotly disputed Twitter account. “It’s always served a wide variety of purposes.”
PhoneDog sues former employer:- Eight months after Kravtiz parted ways with PhoneDog apparently on amiable terms, the company sued Kravitz on grounds that his Twitter followers represented a customer list. The company is seeking damages to the tune of $340,000, valuing each follower at $2.50 per month over a period of eight months.
In the suit, PhoneDog accuses Kravitz of “misappropriation of trade secrets,” “intentional interference with prospective economic advantage,” “negligent interference with prospective economic advantage” and “conversion.”
“The costs and resources invested by PhoneDog Media into growing its followers, fans and general brand awareness through social media are substantial and are considered property of PhoneDog Media L.L.C. We intend to aggressively protect our customer lists and confidential information, intellectual property, trademark and brands,” said the company.
Article Source: Articles Engine