Do a company's Twitter followers belong to the firm, or to the employee doing the tweeting—and how much is each follower worth? The questions are at the heart of a lawsuit in South Carolina, report AP and the New York Times: An online tech review firm is suing a former employee who ran a company Twitter account. When Noah Kravitz left PhoneDog, he changed the name on the account and kept its 17,000 followers. The company says Kravitz owes it $2.50 per follower over 8 months, amounting to $340,000.
PhoneDog argues that the Twitter followers are essentially a list of customers. But Kravitz says the company didn't raise the issue until after he sued them over unpaid wages. Plus, Twitter followers are often "people who are just gathering accounts and broadcasting their own content—people who aren't necessarily paying attention to anything PhoneDog has to say," notes an intellectual property lawyer. Kravitz's attorney thinks $2.50 is too much. "If that's the case, Kim Kardashian's account would probably be worth billions of dollars of year," he says.