Advertisement

April 23, 2014

Who Owns a LinkedIn Account? An Update to Eagle v. Edcomm, Inc.

In October 2012, we told you about the case of Eagle v. Edcomm, Inc. pertaining to whether an employee’s LinkedIn account belongs to the employee (Linda Eagle) or to her employer (Edcomm).  At that time, the United States District Court for the District of Pennsylvania dismissed Ms. Eagle’s claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, as well as her other federal law claims.  Her state law claims, for unauthorized use of name, invasion of privacy, misappropriation of publicity, among other claims, were not dismissed.  You can read more about that case here, or hear it discussed at this link.

On March 12, the court issued its ruling on all remaining claims, finding Edcomm liable on the three claims named above.  The court reached this conclusion after determining that Ms. Eagle’s name had commercial value – Ms. Eagle had invested substantial time and effort in developing her reputation in her industry, and it was undisputed that Ms. Eagle is a well-known expert in her chosen field.  Moreover, the Court found that Edcomm improperly benefitted from Ms. Eagle’s name when it took over her LinkedIn Account.  All other claims, including those against Edcomm and individual Edcomm employees, were dismissed.

Despite prevailing on three claims, Ms. Eagle’s victory was hollow; the Court found that Ms. Eagle suffered no economic loss as a result of Edcomm’s misconduct.  Stated differently, although Ms. Eagle was able to show that Edcomm misappropriated her name and used it without her consent, Edcomm’s actions did not cause any legally cognizable harm.  

Although Ms. Eagle ultimately did not benefit financially from her win, this case should serve as a wakeup call for employers.  Social media law is in its infancy but, as time goes on, more parties will litigate to test its boundaries.  As we have written before, employers must be proactive in developing social media policies that set clear rules regarding who owns company-related social media accounts during and after an employee’s time with the employer.

©1994-2014 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.

About the Author

Christophe Difo, Employment litigation attorney, Mintz Levin, law firm
Associate

Christophe focuses on employment-related litigation as well as commercial litigation matters, ranging from simple breach of contract claims to complex, multiparty litigation.

Christophe served as a 2008 Summer Associate. Prior to joining Mintz Levin, he was a fellow in the Housing Help program at the Legal Aid Society of New York in the Bronx. The focus of this program was eviction prevention. Christophe had the same duties as a Legal Aid Society of New York staff attorney and was solely responsible for managing his caseload. He matched clients with programs, worked on motions...

212-692-6812

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.