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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Default Facebook Page Ownership

    My question involves business law in the state of: MICHIGAN

    I live in Michigan. In 2010 I started a Facebook page for the fans of a tv show.

    After several weeks of running the page, I was contacted by a producer from the tv show. They were unhappy with the support and promotion they were getting from the distribution company and he said they liked very much how we were running our fans page.

    He asked if he could send us additional photos and videos and clips to enhance the page. I told him that I could do one better then that, that I would add him as an administrator of the page so his professional team could do whatever upgrades they wanted to make the page work better for them (and hence, me). There was no risk in adding them, as Facebook Policy made it impossible for a creator (me) to be deleted.

    The show ran on national tv for the next several months, our facebook page was linked to by the national network and we grew to nearly 25,000 fans.

    Once the show ended, they went away.. I continued to operate the fan page like I always had.. over the next 18 months, we had no contact with this producer and no additional input or support. At some point during this time, Facebook made a policy change which allowed admins to delete any other admin, including the creator.. I was unaware of this and am unsure I was ever notified of such.

    I grew the page to 35,000 fans and had an active, vibrant facebook page producing 3M views a month -- we had started to make a little money on the page and had several people interested in cooperative marketing ventures with us.

    Then one day last week, this producer logged in and deleted me and my co-admin and basically stole the page.

    What are my options ? I feel like my business has been stolen. FB is providing no support, they won't even return emails. Do I sue ?? Am I entitled to damages ?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Facebook Page Ownership

    You can try contacting the producer to negotiate an acceptable resolution.

    One of the issues here is that your business was built around somebody else's intellectual property. I don't think you're going to have any problem with what you did through last week, as you had permission (implicit and explicit) from the producer to use certain images and clips, and the producer also remained as an administrator. I'm assuming he had the authority to permit your uses. However, the permission to use somebody else's intellectual property can be withdrawn - so I expect that had the producer wished to do so he could have effectively shut you down by revoking permission to use images, clips, trademarks, etc., associated with the show - you may have been able to negotiate a license with somebody else associated with the show or studio, but it would have been at best a hassle. So the question may become, if those items were removed from your page or you had to pay royalties to continue to use them, how much would the business be worth?

    By the same token, your intellectual property belongs to you - you can ask that they stop using materials to which you hold a valid copyright. Depending upon the amount and value of any such material, that could help in negotiations.

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