Proof of ownership to a Facebook Page...lawsuit help

Long story short I started a Facebook Page. It grew to a decent following. I asked a friend to help with posting content. Fast forward I removed that friend as an admin. He is now suing me saying he is part owner of the page and wants full rights to the page. Yes he filed a lawsuit over a Facebook page. An LLC was formed after the page was created by me. Business accounts were setup by me. He just posted content.

How would you fight something like this? How do you actually proove that you are the “starter” or owner of a Facebook page. Heck I don’t even own it Facebook owns the dang thing.

Why would a court even listen to this case?

Help please.

First, I have a law degree in England, so that may or may not be relevant to where you are, but I really don’t recommend you use my ramblings as a substitute for proper legal advice.

Now, I’m going to ask a few extra questions:

  1. Is he mentioned anywhere on the LLC creation documents?
  2. Did he have any hand in creating the company? (Was he even around at that point?)
  3. Does the page make money?
  4. Did you ever pay him?
  5. Did you ever have any written contracts with him?

My oversimplified thought? Usually, copyright rests with the creator (you) and intellectual property of work created in employment belongs to the company (still you). I’m struggling to see why he thinks it’s worth suing.

That said, wherever you are, get legal representation - it won’t go away if you ignore it. No win no fee is good if you’re worried about the cost, and you should be able to get your fees back from the claimant.

Here’s an interesting case (if you’re in the US):

That got settled out of court, so the original court ruling still gives some precedent.

I am located in the USA.

  1. Is he mentioned anywhere on the LLC creation documents? No. LLC was created a few years after the Facebook page started getting some decent attention.
  2. Did he have any hand in creating the company? (Was he even around at that point?) He provided content, helped plan an event, and purchased minimal equipment (roughly $200) total for an event we hosted.
  3. Does the page make money? The actual page no. We hosted an event outside of Facebook that did generate some money. They were given a check for about $1500. The check was not deposited to this day.
  4. Did you ever pay him? Yes but he never cashed a check. Was not on a payroll, no application, resume, nothing stating he was working other than verbal.
  5. Did you ever have any written contracts with him? An email was sent from me to him stating we would split any profits 50/50. Also stated neither one of us would “start our own thing” basically a non-compete. Nothing was signed. He responded to the email agreeing.
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I have legal representation but thought I would reach out to folks on here as it is a good source for social media.

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Thanks for the extra details.

It looks pretty clear that there’s no way for him to claim he was an employee, which was my first concern, as there is no regular income or work hours etc. I don’t really think he can claim he was a co-founder either.

The only issue is that profit splitting agreement - assume that a written email is a contract and you’ve got a good starting point for your defence. I think he’ll struggle to win, but that’s where I think he’s going to be coming from. I’d go on the basis that the 50/50 split related to the event, you gave him his check, so you’ve done your part.

Also, the best advice I got from a lawyer regarding copyright (we were claiming) was to remember that settling out of court is a good thing and a hell of a lot easier than going to court.