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Who Owns the Company Tweets?

Posted on in DuPage County Business Law Attorney

business company tweets, DuPage County Business Law AttorneyIn today's world, the majority of businesses have at least one social media account—if not several. In large corporations, there is typically an entire department—such as the PR department—which handles the company's social media postings. Or, a corporation may outsource to an advertising agency to handle those types of duties. Small business, however, typically delegate social media duties to an employee. However, what happens when or if that employee leaves the company? Who owns the rights to that social media page?

One Illinois company is suing a former employee who refused to turn over information from the social media accounts that he oversaw when he worked for the company. The company claimed that the employee was illegally holding onto information that belonged to the company. They also claimed that he was breach of the non-compete contract he signed, as well as in violation of the Illinois Trade Secrets Act.

The case can go either way, since the company did not take certain steps to ensure that when the employee left the company, all ownership, information, contacts, and communication of any social media accounts belonged to the employer and not the employee.

Companies should establish a solid social media policy and include that policy in their employee handbook. The policy should specify ownership and access to these accounts. Additionally, the handbook should clearly state that if an employee leaves the company, all of the social media account information is required to be transferred to the company.

Also, there should be a concise definition of what the company considers confidential regarding the accounts. Not only should all of this information be contained in the established policy, but should also be included in any employment agreement under the confidentiality section.

Employees involved with the social media accounts should be sign an acknowledgement of the policy.

By establishing a clear social media policy, a company is protecting itself legally should an employee leave the company and refuse to hand over that information back to the employer.

If you considering establishing a social media policy for you company, or any other employee contracts, contact an experienced DuPage County business law attorney to ensure that your company is legally protected.

Sources:

http://www.noncompetenews.com/file.axd?file=2016%2f2%2fCDM+Media+USA+Inc+v+Simms+%28Social+Media+Ownership%29.pdf

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2239&ChapterID=62

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