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Can I get ownership transferred on an FB business page?
August 30, 2012 4:57 AM   Subscribe

A business was leased to another party and they set up and curated a business page on FB. When the lease expired they left and set up a competing business. They took the FB page with them and changed the name on the business page - keeping all the old content and relationships. How do I get the page back?

I'm not a FB guru, but I am "The Computer Guy" in the circle of friends that includes the new manager of the bar. He asked me to help him figure out how to address this.

The person who set up and curated the FB page for a bar (let's call it The Palms) left. He's now set up a competing bar (call it Pints) across town (30 minutes away in a different suburb) and simply changed the name on the existing business page. The longtime owners of The Palms feel like the page belongs to the business - Pints is not open yet and all the photos in the posts are of customers in the bar at The Palms, and all the events referenced have this location as context.

The Palms is a local institution, the owners are locals and operated the business themselves for a while before deciding to lease the business. The operators did a good job and maintained a successful operation, but (possibly relying on good faith? I don't really know the inside story) did not renew the lease by the deadline and the option was subsequently not extended to them. Judging by community insider reaction there seems to be some animosity between The Palms' owners and the ousted operators, but neither party has said so in any public way.


I did not find anything in the FB help for business identities other than "get a lawyer for trademark infringement". I sent this to abuse@facebook.com:


...
The business was leased to another party and they set up and curated a business page for the bar. When the lease expired the other party set up a competing business. They have now changed the name on the business page and kept all the old content and relationships.

We would like the business page name changed back, and would like control of the page.
...


I haven't heard anything back, and don't know if I should expect to.

Is it reasonable to take the position that the page belongs to The Palms?

Do The Palms owners have any recourse?
posted by ElGuapo to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Is it reasonable to take the position that the page belongs to The Palms?

Do The Palms owners have any recourse?


These are questions for a lawyer, not random people on the Internet.
posted by Tomorrowful at 5:31 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Probably not, but customers tend to stick to a place and not necessarily the management unless one or the other is awful. If they took pictures of patrons that belongs to them not "The Palms". Just set up a new Facebook page and if you want to play hard ball then like their page and post on their page that "The Palms" is open again. The post will obviously get taken down but it is worth the effort.
posted by JJ86 at 5:32 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is definitely an attorney matter, but as a person who does internet things with marketing, I'd say that asset belongs to the original business, not the new one. It was done using the original business's name and brand.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 5:33 AM on August 30, 2012


Another comment, it is hard to imagine a bar can be competing if they are 30 minutes away. Unless things are different in Charleston, customers aren't going to go that far out of their way from their usual stomping grounds.
posted by JJ86 at 5:37 AM on August 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not just abuse, but I believe you can click Report Page while viewing that page, then the link Is this your intellectual property? then put in a copyright or trademark report.

Since it was a work for hire, they don't get to hold it. Mention that it was a work for hire, it's yours and you have the documentation to back it up.
posted by tilde at 5:57 AM on August 30, 2012


Get a lawyer, stat.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:01 AM on August 30, 2012


Thanks all - I had a feeling the answer was going to be "lawyer".

And JJ86, from downtown it's 15 minutes to "The Palms" and 15 minutes in the the other direction to "Pints"
posted by ElGuapo at 6:07 AM on August 30, 2012


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