A dispute between a television show’s fan and the network that airs the show has progressed to a lawsuit. Stacey Mattocks became a fan of a show called “The Game” back in 2008. Mattocks liked the show so much that she built a Facebook fan page devoted to the series.
Unfortunately, the network soon cancelled the show. Dedicated to the idea that the series deserved a longer life, Mattocks began campaigning to bring the show back on the air. BET eventually decided to pick up the series, and the debut episode gave the network its second highest ratings in its 30 year history.
This portion of the facts makes it seem as if the situation was a win-win for all involved. What is left out is the back and forth wrangling Mattocks and BET have engaged in for about two years over ownership and control of that pivotal Facebook fan page.
As Mattocks alleges, her popular Facebook page helped generate buzz for the series’ premier on BET. The network was fully aware of the page, and even offered to pay Mattocks an hourly wage for her time devoted to the site. Later, BET sent her a contract offering her $85,000 in exchange for rights to the Facebook page. Under the contract, Mattocks could have been terminated from administrating the site at any time. She refused to sign.
BET still tried to coax itself into Mattocks’ good graces, even flying her to LA for the premier. Then BET started its own Facebook page devoted to The Game in what Mattocks describes in her lawsuit as an attempt to compete. Offers regarding acquiring rights to Mattocks’ Facebook page continued to go back and forth, culminating in BET asking Facebook to disable the page. They did so, but only for a short time.
Mattocks says she lost income as a result of the removal of the page. Among other charges in the complaint are breach of contract, copyright infringement and breach of good faith. The outcome of this litigation is bound to break new ground relating to who owns social media rights.
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