Those days are gone when actual buildings and real-estate properties caused disputes. In our digital age, these disputes have also gone digital. In the most recent of it’s kind, a former-employee is accused by the company, PhoneDog, of ‘stealing’ its twitter account together with a whooping 17,000 followers!!
PhoneDog, a company that produces reviews for mobile products, has filed a case against its former employee Noah Kravitz. The company has alleged that Noah ‘stole’ the twitter account @PhoneDog_Noah together with the 17,000 followers of this account. The account has been made while Noah was working at PhoneDog but Noah was the only one who has been using it. Now in the company’s view the account itself is a ‘trade secret’ and so, Noah is bound to return it to the company.
Account a personal property:
Kravitz, on the other hand, has changed the twitter handle of the account to @noahkravitz and now has some 21,000 followers. He is of the opinion that the twitter account is his personal property and is not liable to be returned to the company. He also said that a twitter account is no secret since anyone can see the followers of that account publicly.
Dispute over total damages:
The court, for now, has allowed the case to proceed despite Noah’s arguments. The judge is of the opinion that for now, insufficient data is available. The company has claimed that every twitter follower equals $2.50 and so the total damages amount well in excess of $300,000. But industry experts say that it’s inaccurate to state that every twitter follower is worth so much. The judge opined that it is impossible at this stage to determine the amount of losses, if indeed the claim of the company is right. And so, the court has allowed proceedings so that it can be made clear which of the two parties if right.
Meanwhile, the social community is pretty agitated over this case. Bloggers, tweeps and social journalists are of the opinion that the account is Noah’s and that the company has no claim over it. The case is an interesting one in that it will determine the future course of similar cases.