MySpace Profile and Friends List May Be Trade Secrets (?)–Christou v. Beatport

20 05 2012

By Eric Goldman

Christou v. Beatport, LLC, 2012 WL 872574 (D. Colo. March 14, 2012). The complaint. The Justia page.

Beatport is a leading online retailer of electronic dance music for DJs. Roulier is a principal of Beatport. Christou is a dance club entrepreneur in Denver. Roulier worked with Christou for a while, then Roulier split off and formed his own dance club in Denver. . . . .

The antitrust discussion is pretty interesting, but I’m more interested in the trade secret claims over MySpace pages.. . .

With respect to the MySpace profiles, the plaintiffs allege that they “secured the profiles through web profile login and passwords.” This is a garbled allegation. I believe the plaintiffs are alleging that Roulier impermissibly logged into the MySpace profile management area after he left Christou’s employment; by doing so, presumably Roulier could see information that was only displayed to the accountholder, and Roulier could send messages to account followers. But because profiles are normally thought of as the public-facing side of a social media account, it’s confusing to talk about “securing profiles” through passwords, and the plaintiff’s unhelpful framing undermines the rest of the discussion.

Specifically with respect to the list of MySpace friends, two prima facie elements require the court to “look at whether the alleged misappropriator could have obtained the same information from a public directory or another source outside of the plaintiffs’ business”–a key point of disagreement. The court says:

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.

Related cases:

* “Social Media and Trademark Law” Talk Notes
* Court Denies Kravitz’s Motion to Dismiss PhoneDog’s Amended Claims — PhoneDog v. Kravitz
* An Update on PhoneDog v. Kravitz, the Employee Twitter Account Case
* Another Set of Parties Duel Over Social Media Contacts — Eagle v. Sawabeh
* Employee’s Claims Against Employer for Unauthorized Use of Social Media Accounts Move Forward–Maremont v. SF Design Group
* Courts Says Employer’s Lawsuit Against Ex-Employee Over Retention and Use of Twitter Account can Proceed–PhoneDog v. Kravitz
* Ex-Employee Converted Social Media/Website Passwords by Keeping Them From Her Employer–Ardis Health v. Nankivell
* Court Declines to Dismiss or Transfer Lawsuit Over @OMGFacts Twitter Account — Deck v. Spartz, Inc.
* Employee’s Twitter and Facebook Impersonation Claims Against Employer Move Forward — Maremont v. Fredman Design Group

The content in this post was found at and was not authored by the moderators of Clicking the title link will take you to the source of the post.



Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment