An unusual case is playing out in Miami, according to local business sources. A woman is filing a breach of contract lawsuit again Black Entertainment Television for allegedly stealing nearly seven million Facebook “likes” from her. The suit is unusual in Florida because of the lack of precedent of cases dealing with social media properties.
According to the court records, the plaintiff opened a Facebook fan page for the popular BET show “The Game,” which detailed the lives of real-life football players and their families. The show had been cancelled, and the plaintiff apparently entered into a contractual arrangement with BET to promote the show and get it back on the air. She contends the company did not live up to its end of that contract.
She goes on to contend that BET deliberately interfered with her relationship with Facebook, demanding that the 6.78 million “likes” she accrued on her page were to be transferred to the show’s official Facebook presence. Unable to come to a payment agreement on purchasing the Facebook page and associated Twitter feed from her, she says they agreed to a joint ownership, but that BET went back on that agreement as well and had the account disabled. She is suing for breach of contract for an unknown sum.
The Florida court assigned to this case may be breaking new ground in how it chooses to deal with this unusual scenario. BET is claiming that Facebook “likes” are not technically property to be disputed, so any decision made here could have repercussions on how similar cases are handled in the future. Regardless, if BET is found to be in breach of contract in this case, it may have to pay out damages to the plaintiff.
Source: abajournal.com, Social media maven sues TV network, says it stole 6.78M Facebook ‘likes’ from her page on ‘The Game’, Martha Neil, Nov. 15, 2013