A businesses’ social media assets are its intellectual property and need to be protected. This point underlies the message of a recent article entitled Court Cases are Shaping Social Media Law in which the authors discuss three recent court cases involving the ownership and use of social media and how important it is for businesses to maintain control over their social media.
The following cases are discussed:
– Eagle v. Edcomm, Inc. (court allowed employer’s case to proceed where it is claiming it owned employee LinkedIn profile that it required employee to establish and provided resources to create and maintain);
– Maremont v. Susan Fredman Design Group, Ltd. (improper for company to continue using former employee’s personal social media to advertise company); and
– PhoneDog v. Kravitz (not yet determined whether employer owns @PhoneDog_Noah Twitter handle employee developed and used as employee, as well as its 17,000 followers).
The authors recommend that employers maintain control over their social media through the following methods and I agree with them, as I have previously written:
– maintaining administrative control over the accounts;
– eliminating individuals’ claim to social media by having multiple employees working with it; and
– most importantly, having, promulgating, and enforcing policies that maintain control over social media.
There is a lot of truth to the old saying that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” and the emerging body of social media law really emphasizes this point. You can pay a little now for a custom social media policy for your business or you can pay a lot more later when a dispute arises. I can handle either situation for you so give me a call when you decide which you prefer!