Florida Woman Rejects $147,600 Offer for Facebook Fanpage, Takes BET to Court
Stacey Mattocks is suing Black Entertainment Television over a Facebook fan page that she thinks is worth much more than $147,600, according to federal court papers filed yesterday.
The Miramar resident is the creator of a page for a TV program called The Game, which "follows the lives of professional football players and their significant others as they navigate game, family, and friends." CW canceled the series in 2009.
But Mattocks' fandom lived on. Through aggressive promotion, she was able to garner 7.7 million "likes" and therefore a wide audience for any network that picked up the series again. The scripted show was purchased by BET in 2010 and is now being renewed for a seventh season next year.
First, BET gave Mattocks a cushy job as a freelance social media consultant, making 30 bucks an hour. Her job was to generate "buzz" for the 2011 season through her undeniable influence.
"BET 'wine-and-dined' Mattocks in the weeks and days leading up to the show's premiere. For example, BET flew Mattocks out to Los Angeles for promotional interviews, 'red-carpet treatment,' and a screening of the show's premiere," according to an amended complaint.
It wasn't long, though, before the network wanted control over the page. Initially, the two parties reached a comanaging agreement. For her continued efforts, BET slid her an offer of $4,100 a month over the course of three years. Apparently rejecting that amount in 2012, Mattocks made it so that BET was no longer a page administrator.
After this, BET terminated its agreement with Mattocks. She is now suing for breach of contract.
A preliminary scheduling hearing is set for tomorrow, about a week after the creators of Snapchat, a mobile application that allows users to share fleeting photos and videos, rejected a multibillion-dollar buyout offer from Facebook. Apparently, the two entrepreneurs behind the dick-pic-sharing platform thought their contribution to the world was worth more than the GDP of Djibouti.
There is no precedent, really, for what online popularity is worth. It is a relatively new form of intellectual property. Although Snapchat is a social media platform, and The Game Facebook page is a product of social media, neither can really be monetized in a tangible way. Mattocks is suing for unspecified damages, according to the court documents.
Mattocks is also the creator of popular Facebook pages for The Real Husbands of Hollywood and Girlfriends, of which The Game is a spinoff. She is trying to patent "Reality Wives," an umbrella term that encompasses myriad shows, including all of the Real Housewives series. She is either a TV fanatic or the next-level version of a domain squatter.
Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to register a page like Mattocks' "in bad faith." In the past, people have been forced to turn over their creations and front legal fees over pages and accounts that are not clearly set up as either fan pages or parodies. It is unclear if a court will deem Mattocks an economic rent-seeker of sorts, considering she clearly labels her creations as "fan pages."
Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.
Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti
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