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Twitter followers worth $2.50 each

twitter, followers

2:42 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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The company is now seeking damages of $2.50 (1.60) per user, per month - a total of $370,000

[bbc.co.uk ]
5:26 pm on Dec 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

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IMHO - If he was working on company time for the benefit of the company, then the company owns the information. I see it no differently then when you design something for a company while in their employ - that is your job. If it were otherwise, there would be a lot of wealthy scientist at [former] Bell Labs, 3M, IBM and such.

6:05 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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I am not speaking to this specific case - the court will do that in time - but there is an inherent social problem that business entities need to consider carefully.

On offline example is a stylist or realtor that leaves one shop for another - often many of 'their' customers follow them if the switch is local.

Online examples are commentators/editors that leave one imprint for another - again many of 'their' readers follow them.

What a company needs consider extremely carefully is how to structure their communication outreach to minimise such loss. And contracts alone may not suffice.

Regardless it is entertaining to read about the incompetence/ignorance of those who are supposed to know their stuff:

...eight months later the company filed a lawsuit...

Guess it took awhile for them to notice an impact from Twitter cessation...
8:04 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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Surely Twitter owns the stream, when it comes down to it? Obviously it has value, but it's out of Phonedog's hands because it's on an external website, and Twitter can do what they like.

This is what can happen when you invest significant resources in developing something you have no direct control over. If only there were a way to keep your company announcements and customer service chat on your own web property...
8:14 pm on Dec 28, 2011 (gmt 0)

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It must depend on the terms of his contract of employment. Most employment contracts have probably not kept up with social media, but may have something general about IP developed in an employer's time... Interesting argument... lots of fees for lawyers!