BET’s “The Game” Legal Issues, Protecting Your Social Media Stuff + Lessons for Your Business.


So…my life-work world has been crazy hectic lately as I prep for the annual street food + art fest for my non-profit StreetFood Artistry Chicago (shameless plug). This post has been sitting in draft since Monday when I first read the deets on Hollywood Reporter about the drama between BET and Stacey Mattocks. You can read the dirty details over there, but here is the gist:

While the popular television show “The Game” was on the CW Network, Mattocks, an insurance agent, created a Facebook fan page for the show. “The Game” was cancelled from CW, but picked up by BET in 2008 (or so). By that time, the fan page had gained approximately 750,000 likes and generated quite a buzz in cyberworld. Essentially, it helped the show continue to receive attention and fan fare during it’s exit from network television, and is attributed with building enough for buzz for BET  to successfully pick it up.

BET initially offered Mattocks $30/hour to freelance as a social media consultant. She did not accept the offer. It didn’t provide fair compensation for the work already done (and I agree…this offer is actually pretty insulting). She wanted $1.2 million dollars after doing research on the value of the page and guess what.

BET refused.

Fast forward to today, BET allegedly had Facebook remove the fan page. At the time of removal it had over 6.2 million likes.

That is some serious cyber real estate.

Mattocks alleges loss wages of about $4,000-5000 per week from various ways that she had monetized the content published on Facebook. She also claims copyright infringement against BET, for allegedly copying elements of her content onto their own fan page. The legal battle is just beginning to heat up.

Why should you care?

Anytime you create….

You have to think long term.

Think, what if this makes it big? Am I protecting my work in the process?

First, claim your Cyber Real Estate. House your creative work on your own domain, and not on a social media network. I preach this time and time again in my workshops. I was very pleased that Luvvie and Scott of Rachet and the Geek  (a hilarious pop culture, social media, techy nerd podcast)  echoed these sentiments on yesterday’s show. I know a couple of really awesome Facebook pages that have 150K+ fans, amazing content yet no website. Why?

You don’t own access to any of those likers. What if Facebook suddenly decides to do away with fan pages, or charge a ridiculous user fee? What if they decide fan pages are only for recreational use, and any pages with a high volume of likers aren’t recreational.

What then?

Next, deal with any copyright clearance issues up front. The owner of a copyright is naturally the owner of any derivative works to that copyright. Meaning, works that include copyright-protected elements of another work. For instance, a book based on a television show would be considered a derivative work. Social media issues are still relatively new in the courts and legal world, so we shall see what happens in this case. I will say that anytime there is monetization of the derivative work…

The ante has been upped

(Does that even make sense? You get where I am going.)

I always err on the side of caution of dotting i’s and crossing t’s.

Get permission or clearance for the derivative work now, avoid the problems later. 

That’s it for now. Next up, I will share the ish you should know when freelancing.

What are your thoughts on “The Game” issue?

One thought on “BET’s “The Game” Legal Issues, Protecting Your Social Media Stuff + Lessons for Your Business.

  • Faye Perkins on July 30th, 2013

    Another great post!!!I Thanks demystifying for this “real-time” legal issue.

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