A number of courts throughout the nation are grappling with disputes between employers and departing employees over the ownership of social media accounts. These employers are attempting to seek ownership over company Twitter and LinkedIn profiles claiming, among other things, that these contain “trade secrets.” Employees dispute these contentions by pointing out that there is nothing “secret” about social media profiles and that employers have no inherent property interests in Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.
All employers who profit from their employees’ use of social media should be aware of and carefully analyze these issues. In many cases, a properly drafted agreement delineating the property interests of employee work product will save employers from time-consuming and expensive litigation over ownership of social media accounts.
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