In a decision that may one day be cited by Canadian courts on
the extent of an employer's rights over its social media
properties, the United States District Court for Colorado has ruled
that an employer's MySpace Profile and "Friends" list
can qualify as trade secrets.
In Christou et al. v. Beatport LLC et al., Regas Christou
sued former employee turned rival nightclub owner, Bradley Roulier,
for, amongst other things, theft of trade secrets. In particular,
Christou alleged that Roulier had misappropriated the login
information for the MySpace profiles of Christou's nightclubs
as well as their corresponding MySpace "Friends"
Following a motion brought by Roulier to dismiss Christou's
trade secrets claim, the Court ruled that Christou had alleged
sufficient facts to allow the claim to proceed. In so doing, the
Court accepted Christou's argument that the "Friends"
list was more than a list of names; rather it was closer to a
database of contact information:
"The names themselves, readily available to the public, are
not the important factor. The ancillary information connected to
those names cannot be obtained from public directories and is not
readily ascertainable from outside sources, and thus this militates
in favor of trade secret classification."
In addition, having secured the MySpace profiles of his various
nightclubs through web profile logins and passwords and expended
some amount of money, time and resources into developing the list
of "Friends", Christou further bolstered the viability of
his trade secret claim at this early stage in proceedings.
While this case dealt only with MySpace and therefore did not
address other commonly used social media websites such as LinkedIn
or Facebook, it nonetheless demonstrates the steps that employers
should take to protect the social media accounts that have been
registered on behalf of the company. In those circumstances,
employers should be careful to limit access to the company's
social media profiles to only those employees who are responsible
for establishing and advancing the company's on-line presence.
There is no reason for every employee to have access to the
company's on-line accounts. In addition, employers should also
amend their policies and contracts to clearly indicate that the
ownership of the contacts listed on these social media accounts
rests with the employer.
FMC is one of Canada's leading business and litigation law
firms with more than 500 lawyers in six full-service offices
located in the country's key business centres. We focus on
providing outstanding service and value to our clients, and we
strive to excel as a workplace of choice for our people. Regardless
of where you choose to do business in Canada, our strong team of
professionals possess knowledge and expertise on regional, national
and cross-border matters. FMC's well-earned reputation for
consistently delivering the highest quality legal services and
counsel to our clients is complemented by an ongoing commitment to
diversity and inclusion to broaden our insight and perspective on
our clients' needs. Visit:
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).