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Tech Site Sues Ex-Employee, Claiming Rights To His Twitter Account 267

nonprofiteer writes "Noah Kravitz worked as a mobile phone reviewer for a tech website called Phonedog for four and a half years. While there, he started a Twitter account (of his own volition) with the handle @PhoneDog_Noah to tweet his stories and videos for the site as well as personal stuff about sports, food, music, etc. When he left Phonedog, he had approximately 17,000 followers and changed his Twitter handle to @noahkravitz. This summer, Phonedog started barking that it wanted the Twitter account back, and sued Kravitz, valuing the account at $340,000 (!), or $2.50 per follower per month. Kravitz claims the Twitter account was his own property. A California judge ruled that the case can proceed and theoretically go to trial. Meanwhile, Kravitz continues to tweet."
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Tech Site Sues Ex-Employee, Claiming Rights To His Twitter Account

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  • by CmdrPony ( 2505686 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @06:13PM (#38053176)
    He created the Twitter account as part of his job, so it does belong the company. Valuing those followers at $2.50 really isn't much either, and I can easily see that such group of targeted followers is worth that (I work in advertising too).

    This seems like a really straight-forward case. The Twitter account belongs to Phonedog.
  • Oh, the irony ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Infernal Device ( 865066 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @06:21PM (#38053276)

    If they win, it may damage their Twitter reputation more than just leaving it alone.

    17,000 followers can spam a Twitter account pretty heavily.

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by exploder ( 196936 ) on Monday November 14, 2011 @06:56PM (#38053620) Homepage

    Sounds easy and cute, but if the court rules that the twitter account in fact did belong to Phonedog, and in fact was worth $2.50 per follower, could the guy be sued for deliberately wrecking the value of the account?

    IANAL, but I'd be interested to hear a lawyer's comments: if you're in possession of some asset and are sued for ownership, and you subsequently and intentionally ruin the value of that asset, won't the court take a pretty dim view?

  • Re:Easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@nerdfl[ ]com ['at.' in gap]> on Monday November 14, 2011 @08:32PM (#38054572) Journal

    How would that be deliberately wrecking the value of the account?

    He would be announcing that he is leaving the company (true). He would be announcing that phonedog would be taking over ownership of the account (true). He would be saying he would be opening a personal account (true), and finally, and most importantly, he would not be compelling anybody to follow him... simply advising them that *IF* they wished to continue to do so, they would need to follow his new account, since he would no longer be personally commanding that one. He would not be deliberately sabotaging anything... and people who want to follow the company could continue to follow the phonedog account.

Receiving a million dollars tax free will make you feel better than being flat broke and having a stomach ache. -- Dolph Sharp, "I'm O.K., You're Not So Hot"