THR, Esq. reports in this exclusive and developing story the OMGFacts Twitter law suit. Social media is here to stay. The lawsuits will increase from bloggers, “twitterers” and other social media influencers. Also, we are still dealing in the legal areas of intellectual property and contract law(s).
Of relevance to me and you, is this part from the report,”
“The contract is also said to have assigned Spartz Inc. “any copyright in any existing or future works.” for OMGFacts.
Having only gotten a paltry $100 for his efforts, Deck is attempting to cancel the contract as “unconscionable and unenforceable,” particularly because Adorian Deck was a minor. Deck is asking a judge for declaratory relief plus damages for unfair competition and false advertising.
UDUAK LAW FIRM BLOG ANALYSIS
Future Copyrights: Yikes! Who negotiated this contract? Totally favorable to the other side. Although, if you are the other side, you want the future copyrights. But, if you are like OMGFacts, you have a strong bargaining power so you should not concede and give away that much. The world is changing creative people. Especially those involved in online businesses, when in doubt, make short term commitments. I am thinking the OMGFacts kid didn’t really understand the rights he was signing away.
Contract 101: See my article on Mos Def & J.Lo Breach of Contract Cases.
So, after reading the Mos Def and J.Lo cases, you know in this instance as to the contract issue; the OMGFacts Teen is trying to get out of the valid contract he signed. Can he do that? Is the contract valid?
First, always get a smart lawyer to draft a contract for you. Too many people try to go it alone or do poor research on what lawyer to retain and they end up with only $100! for a company worth millions as in the case here. Do your research and ask around for good recommendations. Further, assume you enter into a contract and realize you’ve been really screwed over, what do you do? In this case, the OMGFacts Teen creator wants out and he is using the vehicle available to him i.e. I was a minor!
What Makes a Contract Invalid?
1. Void contract: Assume you sign a contract with a war lord to commit a crime. Is this contract valid? It is not a trick question. The answer is NO! It is “totally without any legal effect” as the saying goes in legal speak. It is unenforceable in any court of law because the terms are illegal. In fact, if you tried, you would be arrested and thrown in jail as in the scenario above.
2. Voidable contract: Scenario #2. Assume you sign a contract with a minor or a mentally challenged individual. Is the contract valid? Yes it is. At least one person is bound by the terms. Can you get out of it? Yes. You or the mentally challenged person or minor can “elect to avoid” the contract.
3. Unenforceable contract: Scenario #3 . We’ve got a valid agreement but can it be enforced in court? If you read the J.Lo & Mos Def article, you would see the various defenses your lawyer could raise on your behalf as to your breach of an otherwise valid contract.
Now a few other legal issues raised in the excerpt I quoted above:
Declaratory Judgment: The new OMGFacts attorney is smart. Shout out to all the brilliant attorneys out there. It is not enough to get out of the contract. The OMG Facts Twitter kid has to make sure the defendant will not sue him to collect any monies from that agreement now or in future, given it is an otherwise valid contract. So, the OMGFacts attorney is saying, “hey Judge, could you also make a ruling that my client does not owe this guy any money?”
TIP OF THE DAY: People get a good lawyer, right from the start, really. Litigation is expensive although I am so not complaining. I suppose if people got good lawyers it would put litigators like myself out of business? I doubt it, though. There will always be something to fight about. It is human nature and the way the world works. Attorneys are a necessary “good.” 🙂
Unfair Competition & False advertising: These are common causes of actions that arise where a breach of contract claim is filed. I’ll wait (“perch”) for a really sweet case that calls for delving into these kinds of claim. I am sure it is only a matter of time. Alright enough from me. Check out the THR, Esq. story.
“A story of the times: Teenager creates Twitter feed, OMGFacts, which publishes titillating tidbits about celebrities and pop culture. His tweets become so popular that he’s approached by a digital development company that wishes to transform teenager’s millions of followers into a lucrative entertainment channel on YouTube with merchandising potential. Now, the mother of the teenager is suing, saying OMGFacts’ creator, Adorian Deck, has only gotten $100 for his efforts, while the company, Spartz, Inc., has grabbed control of the intellectual property.
In the years that Twitter has burgeoned into a popular social media platform, it has also become a good place for creative people to showcase their talent, leading to one Hollywood development deal after another. No surprise then that the “Twitter Gold Rush” has prompted the same kind of copyright and accounting battles often seen in La-La Land.
According to a complaint filed by the Deck family in federal court yesterday, Adorian Deck, who turns 21 next month, created OMGFacts in 2009. The Twitter feed is now approaching two million followers with amusing factoids like, “J.K. Rowling chose the unusual name ‘Hermione’ so young girls wouldn’t be teased for being nerdy!” and “Weezer’s first gig was opening for Keanu Reeves’ band. . .”
THR, Esq. has the full story.