Insurance agent Stacey Mattocks is locked in a legal battle with BET over a Facebook page she made in order to get “The Game” back on television once it was cancelled on The CW. Mattocks Facebook page garnered over 750k by the time BET announced they were picking up “The Game”, and 3.3 million likes when the show premiered on the network.
Mattocks says the page was “credited by BET executives for playing a critical role in reviving interest in the Show and making it a massive success with viewers.” When “The Game” debuted on BET in January 2011, it attracted a record 7.7 million viewers, becoming the second most-watched program in the network’s 30 year-history. Social media played an integral role in facilitating that achievement.
But Mattocks efforts may have been all for naught. Last year Mattocks filed a lawsuit against BET Networks. She claims BET Networks submitted a proposal in December 2010 that would’ve paid her a maximum of $85,000 over a one year period for her social media efforts, stripped her of all rights to the page and “could have been terminated at any point by BET, with or without cause.” She rejected it.
In February 2011, one month after The Game’s record-breaking BET premiere, Facebook disabled her account. BET then contacted Facebook to inform them that it had been a “mistake” and her page was reenabled.
She is suing for copyright infringement because she claims BET “[copied] elements from her Facebook page onto its own Facebook page.”
Up until last week, BET was pretty quite on the whole situation and hadn’t responded to Mattocks’ allegations. BET responded on Tuesday to the allegation it stole Facebook “likes,” BET tells a Florida federal court:
“The conversion claim fails at the outset because a ‘Like’ is not personal property in which Plaintiff has any possessory interest. As the Facebook page itself makes clear, a Facebook user who bestows a ‘Like’ upon a piece of content or a Page on Facebook remains in control of the ‘Like’ at all times and is free to ‘Unlike’ the Page or content as the user sees fit… To the extent a ‘Like’ is anyone’s ‘property’ it belongs to the Facebook user…”
The the network’s legal papers also goes on to state that it was Mattocks’ fault that she lost control over the Facebook page, once she removed BET’s access:
“BET did not revoke Plaintiff’s license until Plaintiff admittedly and intentionally ‘demoted’ BET’s administrative rights so that BET could no longer update the Facebook page in its ‘sole discretion.’ Plaintiff’s allegations do not allege a breach of the terms of the contract and further show that Plaintiff herself breached the license agreement, thereby relieving BET from any obligations thereunder.”