When fans communicate with their favorite musicians on Twitter or Facebook, they rarely ask, “Who owns the social relationship?” But for artists and labels, this conversation happens daily — and it may drastically change in the near future.
Take the legal dispute between Noah Kravitz and Phonedog, a phone review site and Kravitz’s former employer. Kravitz had been tweeting from Twitter handle @Phonedog_Noah during eight months of his employment. After leaving Phonedog, the company sued Kravitz — $2.50 for each of the 17,000 Twitter followers he’d gained while employed at the company. In other words, $340,000.
The legal battle between Noah Kravitz and Phone Dog remains unresolved, but the outcome will likely set the tone for future social media ownership disputes, particularly for artists and musicians.
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