Need some Advice: Facebook Fanpage someone wants to Sue me.

66 replies
I really did not know where to post this. Figured this forum is probably the one I could get a decent answer from.

Awhile back ago, I created a Facebook "Fan page" for a national syndicated Radio station. It was around some very well known Radio morning talk show personalities.

Then, I sent 2 years ago a email to them telling them about the "Fanpage". But never got a response. I really did not know at the time of creation that Facebook does not allow transfer of ownership of pages.

My personal profile is attached close to 2k of IM friends and Family. Also I have many other pages with thousands of followers to them as well.

Anyway, back to the story. I created the page and even put a disclaimer note stating that the page was not an offical radio talk show fan Page. It still attracted about 18k of followers.

And is a pretty active page. I even put their web page url in the site and all the information for Goodwill to sent traffic their way.

Today I received a call from the producer stating the images were copyrighted and they wanted the page. So, I told them I would be happy to work with them and remove the images and even give them the page and that I enjoyed their show.

Also, said I did not want to strong arm them or anything like that.

He stated he did not like that I did a poll while back about advertising on the page and if fans wanted to see any. In a attempt to monetize and make some cash. He stated his advertisers/sponsors were mad.

But Fans said no, So I took the advertising off and let the page sit. There are many other fan pages around the same show. Just My page is the largest.

I told him I could remove the copyrighted images and even delete the page.

He stated not to do that because it has so many fans. He did not want them to think bad of the show if it was deleted.

He even stated if their legal team was to pursue it with Facebook that Facebook would just delete the page as well. He stated he just wanted the Fanpage and fans.

He offered a couple hundred bucks for the fanpage.

There are 3 things I can do to not get sued.
  • Delete the page.
  • Remove the images and site info related to them
  • Make them an admin, but it will not let them delete original creator of page which is me.
So, I rather not give up my whole profile for a couple hundred bucks.

My question, has anyone else experienced this? I mean it is a "Fanpage" it seems they just want it for all the fans.

Any suggestions on how to negotiate this?

Thanks Warriors in advance!
#advice #facebook #fanpage #sue
  • Profile picture of the author rob1123
    Have you asked any one facebook at this, they could probably add them as an admin, and you could take they money
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    • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
      Originally Posted by rob1123 View Post

      Have you asked any one facebook at this, they could probably add them as an admin, and you could take they money
      Facebook gave his legal team my name and also told them that they could remove the page for them. That the producer of the show told me.
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      • Profile picture of the author Rashell
        Do you really want the advice of "pretend lawyers"?

        Contact a real lawyer.

        At least after speaking with a real lawyer you'll get a more accurate idea of your options and can prepare to deal with whatever may come in a more real way.

        If necessary, let them (the real lawyer) negotiate a settlement of some sort which may or may not include deletion of the page, etc.

        Not that you have to go in looking for a fight. But at least cover yourself.

        Rashell
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        • Profile picture of the author eibhlin
          Originally Posted by Rashell View Post

          Do you really want the advice of "pretend lawyers"?

          Contact a real lawyer.

          At least after speaking with a real lawyer you'll get a more accurate idea of your options and can prepare to deal with whatever may come in a more real way.

          If necessary, let them (the real lawyer) negotiate a settlement of some sort which may or may not include deletion of the page, etc.

          Not that you have to go in looking for a fight. But at least cover yourself.

          Rashell
          I agree. I had a similar situation a few years ago, when I had a website with a domain name that was a household phrase... but also a TV series name.

          Well, the TV show's producers had trademarked the name, and the terms of the trademark included Internet use. (Check for that: Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) )

          So, I had the website appraised and told the producers they could have it for that much money. Otherwise, I'd bring in my own lawyer and the lawyers could run up a bill -- and bad PR for the show -- as much as they wanted to.

          The producers were paying about $1k/hour for the attorneys. They settled with me, gave me the appraised value of the site, and I gave them the domain name.

          It's not quite the same thing at Facebook, of course. And, you're doing something deliberately tied to the radio show.

          However, this could result in horrendous PR for the radio show if it looks like the nice fan & friends are being bullied.

          In your position, I'd make that clear to the producers.

          If they persist, either contact a real lawyer (you want someone who deals in copyright & trademark law) and/or go to the local newspapers with the story.

          You put time and effort into the fan page. That's worth something. Just handing it over...? That sets a dangerous precedent at Facebook and among the fans of the radio show.

          Using copyrighted images? That's on the edge of "fair use." Read the page & use the free PDF at Fair Use Checklist — Columbia Copyright Advisory Office

          The rest of it? That's close to being a free speech issue. First, check the trademark database to see if they've even trademarked the words/phrase you're using.

          Then, if they won't be nice about this, follow Rashell's advice: Talk with a real lawyer.
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        • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
          Originally Posted by Rashell View Post

          Do you really want the advice of "pretend lawyers"?

          Rashell
          Problem is I am not in a situation to get into legal fees right now.
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by Shane Hale View Post

            Problem is I am not in a situation to get into legal fees right now.
            At this point, by the sound of it, you no longer have a choice. You need to contact an attorney. Pronto.

            Fines for copyright infringement can start at around $25,000-$50,000.
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    • Profile picture of the author palmer9999
      Best thing to do is as state above add them as admin, take the offer from them, this way you still get the page but they think its there's
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by Shane Hale View Post

    • Make them an admin, but it will not let them delete original creator of page which is me.
    It seems that this may be the best option for both of you. It sounds like they really only want the page, not your profile.

    Let them admin the page. Then, they can set up their own page for the station (if they do not already have one) and gradually move people from the fan page you created to their official page.

    Once most or all of the fans have moved to the official page, you can (with the station's permission of course) delete the fan page you created.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
      Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

      It seems that this may be the best option for both of you. It sounds like they really only want the page, not your profile.

      Let them admin the page. Then, they can set up their own page for the station (if they do not already have one) and gradually move people from the fan page you created to their official page.

      Once most or all of the fans have moved to the official page, you can (with the station's permission of course) delete the fan page you created.

      I offered that as well and they stated they really just wanted the page and not take it down at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author AmandaT
    If you explain that you would rather delete the page than give your entire profile, they may be more likely to just let you make them admin to run the page.
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  • Profile picture of the author alanbluecat
    So, just to recap to make sure I'm getting this correctly -

    you don't make any money from the page
    you just run the page as a fan
    they want control
    they do not want to lose a connection to 'your' fans
    you don't want a tiny payment to give up control
    you would be happy to transfer to them
    you would also be happy to delete the page

    If the above sums up what the issue is, I would say that they want their cake and eat it.
    They are trying to bully you into gaining control but not because they want to shut you down but because they want to leverage your fans.

    Under these circumstances if I were you I would delete the page and let them build up their own 18k fans.

    They're just the same as a playground bully trying to steal your sweets. I would throw the sweets in the bin rather than give them to the bully.
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    • Profile picture of the author Erica Leggette
      These are my thoughts exactly.
      They could care less about your page when you initially contacted them but now that it's booming, they want to hit you with copyrighted images bs. And they don't even want you to delete the images, they want control over the whole page.

      I would just post a friendly post on the wall telling the fans what's up in a positive way, set a date to hit the delete button, then move on.

      They are tryin to bully you into handing over something you built. The part about the advertisers being mad because of your poll is insane, your fan page is free advertising for both the show and the sponsors being featured on that show. If anything I would have been thanking you for being a loyal fan and in turn offered you a spot in my marketing dept.
      Originally Posted by alanbluecat View Post

      So, just to recap to make sure I'm getting this correctly -

      you don't make any money from the page
      you just run the page as a fan
      they want control
      they do not want to lose a connection to 'your' fans
      you don't want a tiny payment to give up control
      you would be happy to transfer to them
      you would also be happy to delete the page

      If the above sums up what the issue is, I would say that they want their cake and eat it.
      They are trying to bully you into gaining control but not because they want to shut you down but because they want to leverage your fans.

      Under these circumstances if I were you I would delete the page and let them build up their own 18k fans.

      They're just the same as a playground bully trying to steal your sweets. I would throw the sweets in the bin rather than give them to the bully.
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    • Profile picture of the author James Vang
      Being threatened with legal action can be intimidating but remember you have what they want, that gives you leverage too. If I were you I'd ask for a moderate amount of money for the page and if they were unwilling to meet my terms I'd then delete the page. I'm no lawyer but I don't see how they could win a court case against you if the page has been deleted.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
        Originally Posted by James Vang View Post

        Being threatened with legal action can be intimidating but remember you have what they want, that gives you leverage too. If I were you I'd ask for a moderate amount of money for the page and if they were unwilling to meet my terms I'd then delete the page. I'm no lawyer but I don't see how they could win a court case against you if the page has been deleted.

        They stated they want the page no moderation not even make them admin for time being they just want the page. He said he would compensate (couple hundred bucks) me but I think that is total BS. They get page they will not send a buck.
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      • Profile picture of the author weblink29
        I had a similar situation. I had several twitter pages promoting a product. Let's call it PartyPoker. I was an affiliate promoting their product. They sent me an email stating they ran into one of my pages and they wanted it. It had thousands of followers. I didn't want any trouble so I handed it over to them. Two weeks later I got another email from them stating they found another one of my pages and they wanted that page also.

        At this point I changed the content on all of the pages to an ebook promotion. Let's call it "how to make money with Party Poker". The product wasn't mine. I am just promoting it as an affilite and there were no copyrighted images on my twitter page.

        I haven't heard from them since. The pages are no longer promoting their products. I got fed up with the high pressure legal threats and decided to change the content where they couldn't say anything about it.
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    • Originally Posted by alanbluecat View Post

      Under these circumstances if I were you I would delete the page and let them build up their own 18k fans.

      They're just the same as a playground bully trying to steal your sweets. I would throw the sweets in the bin rather than give them to the bully.
      That was my first thought: "Screw 'em! Just delete it, then see what they do."

      However, I would probably go in and make a statement, explaining to your fan base why you are deleting the page (in such a way that it doesn't come back and bite you). Bad PR, but they brought it on themselves.

      But that's just me. I would rather see something I built destroyed rather than let bullies take it...especially when they bring bully lawyers into the mix.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
    Ok just got off phone with the Producer of show. Here is what they are doing, He is filing a IP infringement report with Facebook. I told him that Facebook would look at it as an offense on my part.

    He claims I used their images and copy write even though it was in Good Faith which I thought was a "Fan Page". He states that those 18 k of followers are his followers since I mislead the fans to thinking it was their official site.

    I told him I could remove the images and anything related to copy write. He stated "no" . If I leave them up I would be part of a Facebook IP infringement. He stated he does not want me to change the integrity of the page at all.

    I told him I would delete the page and he got all mad and said I have already tarnished their image due to other fans posting spam and crap on the wall and his sponsors were not happy about it.

    I know multiple IP infringements Facebook will delete your account. However, this is my first offense. Really the page was created in Goodwill. But now, he stated if I delete it they will pursue it with legal for all the damage it has caused.

    He just wants the page and remain friends according to him. After I said I would delete it he was getting all mad and said he would just sent it to the legal team which is in same building as Facebook in California.

    So if Facebook wants they could delete my account even though it is 1st time offense which I told him I would just delete pictures and anything referring to them and post again that this is not an official fan page.

    I even put a note in the page when creating it in the beginning that it was not an official fan page.

    My biggest concern to him was I rather delete it and not be violating anything and he stated that it has already been done and that he has screenshots of the page. So I delete page or images he is taking me to court. If I leave them up Facebook could hit me up for IP infringement violation.
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    • Profile picture of the author VegasGreg
      Originally Posted by Shane Hale View Post


      He claims I used their images and copy write even though it was in Good Faith which I thought was a "Fan Page". He states that those 18 k of followers are his followers since I mislead the fans to thinking it was their official site.

      However, this is my first offense. Really the page was created in Goodwill.

      So if Facebook wants they could delete my account even though it is 1st time offense which I told him I would just delete pictures and anything referring to them and post again that this is not an official fan page.

      I even put a note in the page when creating it in the beginning that it was not an official fan page.
      I hope you work this out peacefully, but seriously...you are trying to get sympathy for stealing??

      "I stole something, but it was in good faith!"
      "It's my 1st offense"

      It's kind of like robbing a bank and asking the police to let you off easy because it was your 1st robbery attempt and you did it id good faith to just pay some bills or buy some food.

      That may reduce your sentencing if the judge feels ya, but you are still guilty and will pay the price.

      If you are frequenting a business marketing forum and running your own business, you need to know the BASICS of business law. You can't use other people's images/content without their permission.
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    • Profile picture of the author Erica Leggette
      I'm not lawyer by a loooong shot but this is entrapment! If you delete the page thus undoing the "wrong", he's gonna sue you. If you don't hand it over, he's gonna sue you.

      Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

      But from what little understanding I do have with copyright laws, you get the chance to remove copyrighted material upon notification.
      So this dude is above that part of the legal procedure, I guess.
      Times are hard & I know those legal fees will be through the roof, but you gotta use what you have to remedy this problem which is the fan page. Delete it before this dude is able to hit you hard. The only one benefiting from the page is the show & if this is the best way to handle a raving fan, you can do way better with your efforts!
      Originally Posted by Shane Hale View Post

      Ok just got off phone with the Producer of show. Here is what they are doing, He is filing a IP infringement report with Facebook. I told him that Facebook would look at it as an offense on my part.

      He claims I used their images and copy write even though it was in Good Faith which I thought was a "Fan Page". He states that those 18 k of followers are his followers since I mislead the fans to thinking it was their official site.

      I told him I could remove the images and anything related to copy write. He stated "no" . If I leave them up I would be part of a Facebook IP infringement. He stated he does not want me to change the integrity of the page at all.

      I told him I would delete the page and he got all mad and said I have already tarnished their image due to other fans posting spam and crap on the wall and his sponsors were not happy about it.

      I know multiple IP infringements Facebook will delete your account. However, this is my first offense. Really the page was created in Goodwill. But now, he stated if I delete it they will pursue it with legal for all the damage it has caused.

      He just wants the page and remain friends according to him. After I said I would delete it he was getting all mad and said he would just sent it to the legal team which is in same building as Facebook in California.

      So if Facebook wants they could delete my account even though it is 1st time offense which I told him I would just delete pictures and anything referring to them and post again that this is not an official fan page.

      I even put a note in the page when creating it in the beginning that it was not an official fan page.

      My biggest concern to him was I rather delete it and not be violating anything and he stated that it has already been done and that he has screenshots of the page. So I delete page or images he is taking me to court. If I leave them up Facebook could hit me up for IP infringement violation.
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      Be easy.


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      • Profile picture of the author marketingva
        My advice: Call the station on the main number and ask if the person you spoke to is a producer of the show. Make sure he is real.

        Secondly, if he calls you back ask for the name and number of their attorney and tell him you will work it out with his attorney. Call them and see if they will discuss a settlement with you. That might help.

        Contact Facebook. He is threatening you if you leave the page up and he is threatening you if you take it down. See what Facebook says... they run up against this everyday.

        If you take it down and he sues you for damages he has to show actual damages. He has to show that your fan page caused the show to lose money. I doubt he can do that.

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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by Erica Leggett View Post

        But from what little understanding I do have with copyright laws, you get the chance to remove copyrighted material upon notification.
        From what I understand (and I am not a lawyer), such notification is not a requirement.

        The notification process is part of safe harbor laws which protect the host against infringement claims. It is not designed to protect the offender against infringement claims.
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        • Profile picture of the author kellymonaghan
          I dunno, but it seems like it'd be kinda hard to remain a fan after the way they've treated you.

          Why not just delete the page and start a "This Radio Show Suxx" page?

          And by the way, I approached FB about someone using my copyrighted art work and within a day the offending page disappeared. So if they were really annoyed my opinion is your page would be history by now. My opinion is they're just jerking you around. Another reason to unfriend them.
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          • Profile picture of the author Adam X
            Something interesting I found a while back:

            Anyone can take down a facebook page with a fake email

            Make sure you call the producers directly and talk to them, just in case.
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            • Profile picture of the author Mar
              OK, I amn't a lawyer, amn't in the USA .... loads of other disclaimers coming up .... I think, however, you've got to investigate a little further than the show's producer - unless he's also the owner of the show?? If he is co-owner/shareholder, then maybe he's the guy to talk to. If he's just the flunkey, then maybe you should be negotiating directly with the show's owners.

              So, my twopence worth of advice - get googling and find out more about the show and the owners ....

              Mar
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              • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
                I'm not a lawyer, but I'd ask mine if this was a reasonable response. First, delete any copyrighted images they mentioned. (I would never use them in the first place, personally.) Then...

                Ask the fans of the page what they think you should do.

                That's what I'd ask a lawyer. Keeping in mind that I am not one.


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                • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
                  I actually am an attorney, with an LL.M. in Entertainment and Media law.

                  Without more details I couldn't give a definite opinion, I would say that depending upon the kinds of copyrighted material you have used, and whether it was used for "the purpose of criticism" for example, YOU MAY fall within the fair use exceptions under copyright law, YOU ALSO MAY NOT.

                  The next question is whether or not you fall under the fair use exceptions regarding trademark law in the event the program IS making commercial use of their marks in commerce online. If they are, it seems POSSIBLE that you would again fall within fair use exceptions to the Lanham Act. I mean McDonald's was able to compare itself to Burger King in television advertisements and that was appropriate fair use, so a fan page likely falls within similarly protected fair use, ESPECIALLY as you suggested that you disclaimed any actual association with the show.

                  This DISCLAIMER would seem important.

                  Ultimately, FACEBOOK'S Terms of Use MAY BE the most important governing laws in regards to this particular dispute.

                  There is quite possibly a fair use argument to be made regarding the LIMITED USE of copyrighted images for the purposes of criticism, IF IT WAS NON-COMMERCIAL. If you are not making money as a result of the use of the images, then your fair use defense under the copyright law MAY protect you if the page provides criticism, or IF THERE IS A NEWSWORTHY ASPECT TO THE USE OF THE IMAGES. There are some interesting cases surrounding images of the Los Angeles Riots and the beating of Rodney King regarding fair use for the purpose of news which could likewise provide protection from claims of copyright infringement.

                  If you were utilizing someone else's trademark, for example the shows name, in a product or service category where that same organization used the trademark to make money, your protections under the Lanham Act may be non-existent, OR if YOUR USE WAS FIRST, in that particular medium and in that particular commercial category, YOUR RIGHTS in the trademark MAY BE SUPERIOR to the originator of the mark who used the mark in a DIFFERENT commercial category. Trademark law has more caveats than can be explained effectively in a brief internet forum post, but I mention these because you NEED professional advice based on ALL of your specific circumstances before a REAL answer can be given to your questions under CRIMINAL and CIVIL statutes that protect intellectual property rights.

                  Of course, once you have those questions answered, THEN, Facebook's "Terms of Use" will come into play in a huge way, and you may have legal arguments with not only the show, but also the MULTI-BILLION Dollar bohemoth that is Facebook if YOU WANT TO RETAIN CONTROL of the PAGE AND, YOU HAVE A CLAIM THAT STANDS UP BOTH UNDER FEDERAL LAW, AND FACEBOOK'S TERMS OF USE!

                  My first piece of advice would be READ THE FACEBOOK TERMS OF USE. They are important in terms of your rights, which are fleeting, because having previously read the Facebook terms of use, I know they are subject to amendment at any time by Facebook, at their whim, not yours. If you have a right under their terms of use to retain control of the page you created, then you can worry about the federal trademark and copyright laws. If it is clear that you don't, then fighting a battle with anyone would seem to be a bad idea.

                  If there is a gray area, FOR EXAMPLE, when Facebook's terms say that the owner of a trademark can stop others from using their mark, you need to understand first that trademark rights are limited to the services or products that trademark owner was the FIRST COMMERCIAL participant in. If you used the term for commercial purposes in terms of internet marketing before the radio show, YOUR CLAIM to the mark MAY be superior to theirs. Of course if the mark is "Coca-Cola" you probably are going to lose that argument, but you MAY not. Like I said, trademark is a stange area of law.

                  As to copyright issues, the key questions are how much material did you use, was it for commercial purposes, was it for the purpose of criticism, was it a use that was in regards to something newsworthy, or did it fall inside any other accepted fair use defense???

                  One of the reasons that I used a picture of Charlie Sheen I found on the wikipedia that was Creative Commons Attribution licensed on a joke site I made a few months back in regards to what at the time was a newsworthy topic, and a criticism site, that had no commerical purpose, which I don't have enough posts to provide a link to, but I will say that a while back the term recast charlie was one I had a pretty good google rank on, I think #2, was because it shouldn't have copyright issues, and even if it did, the picture was probably fair use. Most importantly, its non-commercial nature meant I wasn't violating PERSONALITY RIGHTS that Charlie Sheen had in his own likeness for commercial and advertising purposes.

                  Which is a nice way of saying even if the trademark and copyright issues aren't enough to think about their are 50 sets of state laws regarding personality rights that could come into play TOO!!! Not to mention the possiblity that someone could SUE you in London where the personality rights laws and some other things don't have to conform to the FIRST AMENDMENT and the Constitutional protections it provides Americans. That World Wide Web part opens you up to litigation in ANY jurisdiction where you might have harmed the "celebrities" associated with the show too!

                  All of this was a nice way of saying, unless the page has exceptional value for you, if there is a way you can avoid litigation, WITHOUT losing your personal connections on Facebook, IT MAY be your best route. IT MAY not too. I don't know enough about your situation to give you specific advice and unless you reside in the state I'm licensed to practice in, it would be unlawful for me to give you specific advice anyway.

                  What I can recommend is that you weigh the value to you of the page, and determine whether or not it is worth examining your options with a qualified Media Attorney. If it is worth something to you, it may be worth a few hundred dollars that it would cost you for an initial consultation with a good media lawyer. The best are in New York City, Los Angeles, and Nashville, but of course, depending on where you live, it may be unlawful for an attorney in those jurisdictions to give you a consultation, unless they are also licensed in your home state.
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          • Profile picture of the author lootbags2010
            [QUOTE=kellymonaghan;3999471]

            Why not just delete the page and start a "This Radio Show Suxx" page?

            Do you like slash peoples tires after getting in an accident with them?

            I think that might be one of the worst statements i've read.

            Its been established they're not going to be happy with the fan page gone and you're suggesting agitating them further?

            I'm pretty sure starting a "This Radio Show Suxx" page is going to cause them to threaten even more legal action.

            I'm not even going to try to give legal advice.

            Perhaps you can find some type of free legal aid counseling that will help you to format your position in a way that will limit the amount of time you will need to have your attorney bill you.
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  • Profile picture of the author mrelosa
    There are a lot of fan page that was not really handled by the company itself. When the time comes that the company will make their own fan page, they will just put "THIS IS THE OFFICIAL FAN PAGE OF____________________" or something like that. Maybe they are just interested with the number of fans.
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  • Profile picture of the author italiandude
    I feel like he's using scare tactics. It's a fan page after all. He already offerd you a couple hundred dollars for it. I personally would ask for more. Get an attorney if you are scared but I wouldn't be to intimidated by it.
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    • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
      Originally Posted by italiandude View Post

      I feel like he's using scare tactics. It's a fan page after all. He already offerd you a couple hundred dollars for it. I personally would ask for more.

      But asking for more money will likely just provide further proof that the OP is trying to make money off this Fan Page. And that's not a good thing in an infringement suit.

      As has been mentioned countless times (including by italiandude) -- get an attorney. I realize you can't afford it -- but what you really can't afford is getting dragged into court, paying an attorney for hour after hour of work and maybe even facing fines.

      Right now a quick consultation with an attorney may show you the best, quickest and least expensive way to get out of this.

      Don't take legal advice on this forum. Some folks DO know what they're talking about, some are clueless, some are yanking your chain for giggles, some aren't from your country (thus don't know the laws), and some are just kids (not even old enough to enter into their own legal contracts, which doesn't exactly qualify them to help with your legal problem).

      Problem is, you don't know which category any one member falls into... so call an attorney and at least have a quick chat.
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  • Profile picture of the author marcromero
    Are you sure you are actually talking to the producer of the show. Sounds like someone is just trying to scam you out of your page man.
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  • Profile picture of the author alanbluecat
    Their intentions are clear by their reaction when you say you will delete the page.
    All they are after are the fans on the page. The rest of their story is BS.

    On a related note have a look at this which I came across after my first reply -

    Urgent! We Need Your Help! - SiteSell Blog
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    • Profile picture of the author Canuckystan
      The only reason you have so many fans is they think it's connected to the station, regardless of the disclaimer. I could do a "Coke" page and have a footnote that it's not related to Coke. But it won't matter a bit - you are still using their brand and images without permission. You may not have profited much or yet, but you have been building a valuable page on off their back.

      You should hire an attorney to review the settlement agreement with them - won't cost much and you'll be out of this mess. Take the few hundred or whatever and be done with it before they really turn up the heat.
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendon Zahrndt
    Get out of this thread and call a lawyer. What else do you need to hear?
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  • Profile picture of the author Danny Cutts
    I get threats of people wanting to sue me all the time now due to a forum I run...

    I completly destroyed a company on it and they got their legal team against me... I stood my ground and I won....

    most companies play the big I AM now if someone tries getting heavy handed I have a nice email drafted by a lawyer and that normally gives them the message..

    my favourite saying is

    "S**t in your hat and punch it!"

    Seek a lawyers advice.... you may be able to sell it for a lot more than $200

    Business is business
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  • Profile picture of the author pcpupil
    Contact a lawyer,your first visit is free.
    As stated,call the show,ask for the producers name and phone number.Take this to the lawyer with you.
    Next,take off images and content that is not yours.
    Then,let your fans know what is going on.The show people will see this post also.
    Then see what they say after they see this post.

    I would also think after you removed everything from your page,the show would have to produce the images for someone to see that you did something illegally.
    But now they are gone.
    All you have to do is say they have to prove they did not fake the page they are showing.
    I said,they said,he said,they said,ect,in my cases in court,do not count for squat.
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    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Originally Posted by pcpupil View Post

      I would also think after you removed everything from your page,the show would have to produce the images for someone to see that you did something illegally.
      But now they are gone.
      All you have to do is say they have to prove they did not fake the page they are showing.
      I said,they said,he said,they said,ect,in my cases in court,do not count for squat.
      Really, really bad advice. Do not play this game. It's all kinds of dumb, from a legal perspective. And it doesn't take a lawyer to see that.


      Paul
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  • Profile picture of the author cruisinman
    If you got money to waste - fight it.

    If it was me - I'd go down with the ship and scuttlebutt it . . .
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  • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
    Having said that, deleting the copyrighted images, and deleting their url so they lose any traffic if that is an option that avoids litigation, and allows you to possibly replace those images with say Creative Commons licensed photos or your own photos or a link to a site where you explain how the producsers of the show threatened a fan who was throwing a lot of good will their way for example radioshowsuchandsuchproducersuck dot com, might not be a bad way to go. You retain control, and you have a story to tell. They could still potentially sue you, but nothing prevents them from suing you, EXCEPT a SIGNED WAIVER OF ANY CLAIM, which would be part of any deal I would strike with them if you are relinquishing control.
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  • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
    The other question is WHO'S copyright did you allegedly infringe?

    Who created the photograph?

    Did they have a written work for hire contract before they produced the photograph?

    If they didn't, then they own the work, if they did, the show MAY own the work as an employer.

    This is important because you need to know WHO could legally sue you, regarding copyright infringement.

    Also, was the work registered with the copyright office? If it wasn't then they can't pursue statutory damages. This would be an important question to know the answer to as well.

    Of course, the possible fair use defenses also raise some issue that you need to understand in terms of considering what actions could be pursued against you.

    What person, if any was portrayed in the photographs in question? Did you infringe their personality rights by seeking to make money off their likeness? If you didn't, then your defenses to causes of action are likely strengthened, at least in the United States.

    How likely are these people to want the negative press associated with picking on the creator of a fan page?

    Your questions aren't just legal, they are business questions and common sense questions too.

    But if you do a deal, know who the OWNER of the copyright alleged to have been infringed is, KNOW whose personality rights are in play, know whose trademarks are in play, AND MAKE SURE they all sign off on any potential claims against you as part of the consideration for any deal you make with them if you are giving anything up.

    If you aren't giving anything up, then you have to do the calculus on whether or not you think they will sue if you comply with requests that don't cause you to lose control of the page. Of course the Electronic Frontier Foundation is a possible source for help for a person being bullied when they are in the right in terms of their fair use of media online.
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  • Profile picture of the author TommyB
    Sorry for all the crap your going through, now I know not to use certain pictures
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  • Profile picture of the author AVLopez
    Save trouble and add him as admin.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
      First off thanks for everyone especially Orange Bull.

      I used a profile image and information about their radio station from Wikipedia. Then a couple from their Gallery on their site. The page was always used for fans I did poll once whether to advertise or not and the Fans said no. So I never attempted to advertise on it.

      This was a experiment and poor attempt to gauge and monetize.

      I created this about 3 1/2 years ago. Sent to some friends and it went viral. So then when you had a page and posted on it. It would just post as the page name owner.

      They had a problem with it looking too much like the show. I have always had a note disclaimer stating this was not the official page since day 1.

      As a matter of fact, to answer the question of stealing property. I put their website up and information from wikipedia to drive traffic to their site in Good will. I removed all traces of images and traffic to their site.

      I even decided to make an official post stating I really don't mind handing the site over to them since it is their fans.

      I think at this point they were advised to file a IP infringement with Facebook and let Facebook hash it out. I removed all violations and will let Fans know that the page will possibly go to original owners or be deleted.

      Also, I even contact them 2 years ago to let them know about the page and I would even make them an admin to it. Of course that was 10k less fans ago. Big problem is Google indexes the page right under their official web site.

      It doesn't matter to me I rather delete it all together. Also, wouldn't even want any money for it from them. Since I was a decent fan I was going to do this all in Goodwill.

      Starting not to be much of a fan of their radio show now. I rather just delete the damn thing. If I knew they wouldn't try and sue me or something. They want the fans and the page. They went through proper avenues in Facebook.

      I took the images off they were talking about even though they stated they wanted the page left alone. But leaving it alone puts me still in violation of using their copywrited images.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by Shane Hale View Post

        I did contact a lawyer who is supposed to call me back.
        It's probably not a good idea to publicly reveal the behind-the-scenes details of the fan page you created on a public forum prior to discussing it with your lawyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author BenFromSoMo
    Try to get this to go public and maybe you'll get an army of fans pissed off that the station is made up of such douches and maybe they'll talk boycott or something and the radio station will be forced to back down because of the publicity.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
    True, Ben in all reality I am trying to work with them and really don't want a lawsuit or anything like that. I rather delete the page all together. But as mentioned, above nothing stops them from trying to sue me. Only thing I did that they did not want was delete everything and wrote request for fans not to post copywrite material until we get this all sorted out. And expressed my Goodwill of wanted to give them the page but Facebook does not make it that simple.
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  • Profile picture of the author cma01
    Shane,

    You aren't making money of the page. You have basically been an unpaid marketing person for their show for three years. You have built up a huge exposure for the show which THEY benefit from, not you.

    The producer is being a jackass and is trying to bully you into giving him the page and the marketing distribution channel that you created.

    This is what I would do.

    Take screenshots of the page for as far back as you can access.

    I would post on the page the saga, just the details: you created the page such and such a date with a disclaimer, you contacted them X date, and so on.

    Post it on the wall so the fans of your page know what is up, then 24 hours later just delete the sucker.

    And if jackass tries to go any further to threaten you, send him, the show's attorney, and the PR/marketing person a letter saying that you created the page because you were a fan, but after this situation, you are no longer so you deleted the page. And that if they persist in harassing you about deleting the page that you will take your story to the media.

    I'm sure they have a rival show and I'm sure that rival would LOVE to hear it.

    Then they will have a MUCH bigger problem than a fan creating a popular page.

    Obviously this isn't legal advice and an attorney would probably tell you to do something much different. But I don't react well when people try to threaten me. My response tends to be, 'Bring it."
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  • Profile picture of the author HeySal
    You kinda placed yourself in a boiling pot when you used copyrighted material. I'm not sure what people on the Net think that copyright means or why they are allowed to violate it when they want to if the excuse seems plausible.

    If you do not have money for a lawyer - go to your local DA's office and talk to them about it. That is free legal there - if you are in the wrong, they will advise you of how to squeeze out of it with as little problem as possible. If you are in the right, they may take action against the people bullying you.

    And for God's sake - people reading this one - take a lesson from it. DO NOT use material that is NOT yours to use. This guy's indiscretion is giving someone one hell of a lot of power over his life and could damage his wallet for one whopping long time.
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    • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
      Originally Posted by HeySal View Post

      You kinda placed yourself in a boiling pot when you used copyrighted material. I'm not sure what people on the Net think that copyright means or why they are allowed to violate it when they want to if the excuse seems plausible.

      If you do not have money for a lawyer - go to your local DA's office and talk to them about it. That is free legal there - if you are in the wrong, they will advise you of how to squeeze out of it with as little problem as possible. If you are in the right, they may take action against the people bullying you.

      And for God's sake - people reading this one - take a lesson from it. DO NOT use material that is NOT yours to use. This guy's indiscretion is giving someone one hell of a lot of power over his life and could damage his wallet for one whopping long time.
      You don't speak with prosecutors, i.e. District Attorneys about what may in fact be criminal conduct. There are intent elements, but copyright infringement isn't merely a civil matter. Criminal charges can be brought!
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
    I removed everything and made a disclaimer status once again. Weird thing is fans are writing support for me and some hitting the unlike the page. I am just stating that the page is not and official one and not to post Copywrited material on site.

    Got a voicemail from the alledged producer stating it is making them look like a bully. I even stated it would be best for page to go to the official people for the fans. Did not even write anything derogatory. People can read between the lines.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eve Foss
    They look like a bully because they are acting like a bully. A lot of people think they can get whatever they want by threatening legal action, and often they are right because so many people just cave under the threat.
    This is a good reminder to not use copywrited images, even if it seems innocent. It does give someone else an aweful lot of control.
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  • Profile picture of the author kirstie
    Shane -- good for you. They didn't care about the copyright infringement (if they did, deleting the page would have been fine), all they wanted was the facebook followers.

    The guy pushed you and pushed you and now they got a big bowl of mud on their face. They get to suffer from a PR disaster and anything else they do is just going to make it worse.

    What they going to do, sue? Just post on the page "oh no I'm being sued" and it'll make it that much worse for them. I love it.

    I wish everyone who threatened to sue over over a mind-boggling case of "fair use" would suffer as much shame and humiliation.
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    • Profile picture of the author celente
      Originally Posted by kirstie View Post


      I wish everyone who threatened to sue over over a mind-boggling case of "fair use" would suffer as much shame and humiliation.
      This is true. I helped a fellow aussie over here when one of his clients threatened him. We were able to even convince his laywer to spend time and deal with this client individually, and he did it at no charge.

      Sometimes you have to overpower those people with too much time on their hands. LOL. In this case it did work. But I guess it wont always.
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    • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
      Originally Posted by kirstie View Post

      Shane -- good for you. They didn't care about the copyright infringement (if they did, deleting the page would have been fine), all they wanted was the facebook followers.

      The guy pushed you and pushed you and now they got a big bowl of mud on their face. They get to suffer from a PR disaster and anything else they do is just going to make it worse.

      What they going to do, sue? Just post on the page "oh no I'm being sued" and it'll make it that much worse for them. I love it.

      I wish everyone who threatened to sue over over a mind-boggling case of "fair use" would suffer as much shame and humiliation.

      I have posted just that, removed all copywrite images against their decision to keep page intact. I do not want to continue to violate the copywrite.

      Plus, I have not received any paperwork from them. Just a phone conversation, so I stopped all communication over the phone with this guy.

      One of my friends made a good point, they had to get their lawyers to contact Facebook to get my contact information which makes me think they already filed a IP infringement and Facebook told them to work it out with me.

      Either which way, I posted on the page the reason the images were being removed and asked fans to refrain from posting copywrited images. Also, I reiterated again like I always have that this was not a Official page and that I have no ill will towards them and think the page in their hands would be good for the fans.

      Of course a lot of fans think they are bullying me and pasting their opinions on the wall and now the guy called me back wanting me to remove the disclaimer because it is causing ill will towards them and making them out as a bully.
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    • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
      Facebook is DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) compliant. If they were concerned about the violation of copyrights AND THEY OWNED the copyrights, they would post a TAKEDOWN NOTICE to Facebook.

      They didn't because they want the fans. You did something they couldn't do. You built a social media following. They should pay you for the service you provided, if they want the fans.

      They could STILL SUE, but the first step would be a DMCA notice to Facebook! I doubt they contacted Facebook on this one.
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  • Profile picture of the author MatthewNeer
    I would probably sell it to them.

    If he offered you a few hundred bucks for it, then maybe set a price for the page for what you think it is worth since you did all the hard work of getting 18K fans. That's worth something bro!

    If they don't wanna pay then you delete the page. So you gotta be confident in your offer.

    Either way, understand that you've got the leverage in this situation and if you play it smart, you can come out with a profit in your pocket.

    Best of luck man!
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  • Profile picture of the author Psychicwitch
    I am no expert , but It seems they are being bullies , even if you shouldn't have used the copyrighted materials. I would speak to a Lawyer 1st ~ but if you can legally delete the page ~ That is exactly what I would do. Let them do their own work.
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  • wow, hectic story. I would just delete the page. I mean they should have their own page any way, you can just pm all the fans and tell them to join the new page, but charge for every fan...hahaa. get your worth out of it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dwight Anthony
    Sounds like they are using some intimidation tactics of their own, keep us informed of your outcome.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alfredo Carrion
    You've already put the disclaimer on there so I would have just taken the money and cut it loose so you don't have to deal with them any more. But of course, make sure that it is their Producer for real. Also, consult a Lawyer - if it is for real, it will save you more money than you will lose if they really do something about it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shane Hale
    Thanks guys for all the great answers, especially from Orangebull. I ended up telling fans what was going to happen to page and talked to a lawyer who advised to take any copyrighted material off. Which I did, it started to raise a big response and the producer of the show who is also on the show called me stated he would not do anything if I was to just delete the page. I deleted the page and we went our own way. This has brought a lot of things into light.
    First, get a lawyer on hand always, second always check your old pages or anything out there for copyright infringement possibilities.

    This also includes blog posts about celebrities and trends. I know a lot of people tend to get traffic off of hot topics.

    Also, pick your battles. I am months away now of quitting my day job and going full time internet marketing. Could not afford a law suit. This was really a old page that I never kept up and forgot about. So I would say inventory everything you have and check for anything that could be in violation.

    Also, be careful of scammers. I gave up a 30k a month Clickbank product that a guy said he copyrighted the name, after checking into it after the fact. I found out that he trademarked it 13 months after I registered the domain name and had the product making money.
    Which my lawyer stated he would of not had a chance in court. I found that out the hard way. Since I was paying fees for consult might as well of asked him about that one too.

    I should of went to lawyer instead of asking it here but at the time was kind of freaking out heh. This place is full of cool people and a couple of A holes here and there but all in all we all support each other. Thanks guys for all the comments.
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    • Profile picture of the author OrangeBull
      That sux about someone succeeding in stealing YOUR trademark. It wouldn't have held up to a challenge under the Lanham Act, registered or not if your claim of right was prior and superior which it sounds like it was in regards to your product.

      I just had to tell some clients that they needed a new band name even though the one they came up with was cool because a bunch of teenagers came up with the same name 5 years ago and have been gigging under that name and posting online which would give them worldwide superiority of claim in all probability.

      The real problem is with their back story it was the perfect name and had zero such meaning for the people using the name. It's a band of guys who are all active duty military on the verge of leaving the service, and well let's just say the name was perfect for them as a band and one song they would like to do that I think could go viral with the name they came up with attached. Without it, they might have a more uphill push.

      It's always better to do your homework first and make sure the trademark is available. The USPTO, Delaware, Nevada, New York, and California's Secretary of State websites are always my first stops, right after Google when doing trademark research for a new tradename.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cloudzz
    I dont see how they can take legal action if you had and still have a written disclaimer stating it is not the official page. Speak to a lawyer, as long as you have all your facts cleared it should be ok. They prob taking a chance and trying to hussle you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Always-A-Warrior
    I think it all comes down to respect and dignity. If its not yours then leave it alone. If you really need it then ask. If denied, try another day. People think since they have direct access to content that its a never-ending open season to take whatever they like off the internet. I'm sure we've all done it a few times before and once in awhile the other is sleeping so we tend to help yourself and leave a thank you note or link back to the persons site even without his/her approval.

    But staying true as in real life is the real thing to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author LilBlackDress
      I have several Facebook Fan pages for my online businesses. When I created them it asked me if I was authorized to start them as a representative of the company.

      Looking at Facebook's TOS for starting a business, it clearly states,
      1. Any user may create a Page; however, only an authorized representative of the subject matter may administer the Page. Pages with names consisting solely of generic or descriptive terms will have their administrative rights removed.


      So my thought from this (unless I missed something) is you are not allowed to have the page anyway as you are not an authorized representative.

      And at this point the mental stress you are experiencing is just not worth it.

      I would either delete the page (though FB can probably restore it) or accept a payout. But it definitely seems like you need to get it off your hands since you are most likely not supposed to have it anyway.
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