Florida Woman Rejects $147,600 Offer for Facebook Fanpage, Takes BET to Court

Categories: Reality Bites

staceymattocks.jpg
via Facebook
Stacey Mattocks is either a rabid TV fan or a next-gen cybersquatter who doesn't play around. Either way, she thinks 7.7 million Facebook "likes" are worth big BET bucks.
Stacey Mattocks is suing Black Entertainment Television over a Facebook fan page that she thinks is worth much more than $147,600, according to federal court papers filed yesterday.

The Miramar resident is the creator of a page for a TV program called The Game, which "follows the lives of professional football players and their significant others as they navigate game, family, and friends." CW canceled the series in 2009.

But Mattocks' fandom lived on. Through aggressive promotion, she was able to garner 7.7 million "likes" and therefore a wide audience for any network that picked up the series again. The scripted show was purchased by BET in 2010 and is now being renewed for a seventh season next year.

First, BET gave Mattocks a cushy job as a freelance social media consultant, making 30 bucks an hour. Her job was to generate "buzz" for the 2011 season through her undeniable influence.

"BET 'wine-and-dined' Mattocks in the weeks and days leading up to the show's premiere. For example, BET flew Mattocks out to Los Angeles for promotional interviews, 'red-carpet treatment,' and a screening of the show's premiere," according to an amended complaint.

It wasn't long, though, before the network wanted control over the page. Initially, the two parties reached a comanaging agreement. For her continued efforts, BET slid her an offer of $4,100 a month over the course of three years. Apparently rejecting that amount in 2012, Mattocks made it so that BET was no longer a page administrator.

After this, BET terminated its agreement with Mattocks. She is now suing for breach of contract.

A preliminary scheduling hearing is set for tomorrow, about a week after the creators of Snapchat, a mobile application that allows users to share fleeting photos and videos, rejected a multibillion-dollar buyout offer from Facebook. Apparently, the two entrepreneurs behind the dick-pic-sharing platform thought their contribution to the world was worth more than the GDP of Djibouti.

There is no precedent, really, for what online popularity is worth. It is a relatively new form of intellectual property. Although Snapchat is a social media platform, and The Game Facebook page is a product of social media, neither can really be monetized in a tangible way. Mattocks is suing for unspecified damages, according to the court documents.

Mattocks is also the creator of popular Facebook pages for The Real Husbands of Hollywood and Girlfriends, of which The Game is a spinoff. She is trying to patent "Reality Wives," an umbrella term that encompasses myriad shows, including all of the Real Housewives series. She is either a TV fanatic or the next-level version of a domain squatter.

Under the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, it is illegal to register a page like Mattocks' "in bad faith." In the past, people have been forced to turn over their creations and front legal fees over pages and accounts that are not clearly set up as either fan pages or parodies. It is unclear if a court will deem Mattocks an economic rent-seeker of sorts, considering she clearly labels her creations as "fan pages."

Send your story tips to the author, Allie Conti.

Follow Allie Conti on Twitter: @allie_conti

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20 comments
bufordlongshanks
bufordlongshanks

PAY THAT WOMAN!!!  BET loves talking about Black empowerment, etc., but they are quick to screw over a Black person.   Just like Berry Gordy of Motown.  This man stole MILLIONS and rigged contracts so that Black artist ended up broke, while he lived like a king.  

Heather Rogerson
Heather Rogerson

Lol ^^^^ hey she is just being an entrepreneur ! They thought highly of her to hire her they wouldn't offer $147,000 if her work were worthless ! It's her work her career GO FOR IT!

John Viera
John Viera

So glad I don't know what the fuck you people are talking about

verdisvioletta
verdisvioletta

An employer owns the rents, royalties, and content of any product that you "develop" or "make" during your tenure. Because BET had contracted her employment to develop the page during a significant portion of the page's life and the content was a product of an employment agreement, BET technically owns all of the content during that period. For her to claim she "owns" the content, she could not have been under a development and administration contract for BET. Think about it from the standpoint of a drug company. Drug companies hire independent labs and in-house chemists to develop their drugs. Any and all research, rents, and royalties (including patents) of anything developed while in the employ of the scope of the work contract is considered property of the drug company. In short- she should have just sold the FB page outright for an outrageous amount and stayed on as a paid administrator.  Now, because of this suit, she will be blacklisted from doing the thing she is extremely good at for hire because nobody is going to want to do business with her. Unfortunate from all angles.   

DaLaw
DaLaw

She's going to lose, it's pretty clear cut cyber squatting.

pod_nt
pod_nt

If someone gave me $4100/month over the course of a few years for a mere page on a website (FB) I don't own, I'd take it in a second. $4100 would let me live decently and afford the time to build up something not dependent on Facebook. 

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

bad idea lady. shouldve taken the settlement because a court of law will find in favor of BET and she will get nothing. She's just trying to be a leech. If anything BET should just pay her to continue running the site but they dont because everyone in this situation is acting like an asshole..

Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon
Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon

First off, it's not a reality show, it is a scripted sitcom with actors. Also, she is banking in BETs carelessness--the social media teams are toset up profiles before things even hit the air. And considering she helped bring the show back, she needs more than $147k, considering its' popularity. She's smart and I'm on her side.

Yikes
Yikes

Good for her.. That is one hell of an audience she generated.  Don't let the corporate bullies at BET  steal your face and your fortune.

jack_sprat
jack_sprat

It's more than a bit difficult to conflate 7.7 million "likes" as anything other than a significant use, but I suppose some old senile fool of a Judge might be unable to wrap his head around the idea that mindshare is an asset.

vitaluna919
vitaluna919

@verdisvioletta you need to read the article again. She already had her fan page up to 7.7 million likes by the time BET decided to hire her. They bought the rights to the show and decided to renew it for a 2011 season. That is when they hired her as a social media consultant to get the word out to her huge fan base for the upcoming season. All the work was hers and she owes them nothing. They need to stop being cheap and pay up! A 30 second commercial spot can cost between a couple thousand dollars to a couple HUNDRED thousand dollars depending on the station and time it airs. Trying to pay her $147,600 for years of personal work would be equivalent to running a 15 SECOND commercial during the highest charging prime time show at the moment - The Big Bang Theory - which charges $300,000+ per each 30 second commercial run and reaches about 11 million people a night. Now do you see how cheap they are being?

allie.conti
allie.conti

@Jessica Bailey Weatherspoon My mistake. Correcting it now! Thanks. Also, now I know what happened to Tia Mowry post "Sister Sister."

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