This dispute over ownership of Facebook ‘likes’ pits the creator of a fan Facebook page for a TV show against the television network that owns the show. The facts of the dispute are as follows: From 2008, the CW Network broadcasted the television series “The Game”, a dramatic comedy about the lives of professional football players and their wives and girlfriends. BET acquired the syndication rights to the series in 2010 and then in 2011 began producing original episodes.
In 2008, when the series was on the CW Network, Stacey Mattocks created a Facebook fan page for the series. Mattocks did not post any CW or BET owned content and she did not hold the Facebook page out to the public as the “official” series page. Around October 2010, BET hired Mattocks to perform part-time work managing the series’ Facebook page. BET then regularly instructed Mattocks to post, or not to post, certain information on the page and provided her with exclusive photos and video clips. Mattocks posted most of the content on the FB Page, but BET employees also occasionally posted material. Apparently Mattocks did a good job managing the series’ Facebook page as the number of ‘likes’ grew from around two million to over six million.
In February 2011, BET and Mattocks entered into a written agreement regarding each parties’ rights and privileges regarding the Facebook page. Mattocks granted BET full administrative access to the page, and BET agreed not to exclude Mattocks from the page by changing her administrative rights. However, it appears that this agreement was silent on which party owned the Facebook page.
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