What is the value of a Facebook Like? A federal court in Virginia recently held that a Like does not have constitutional value, insofar as it is not speech for the purposes of the 1st Amendment. Many commentators disagree with that decision, which, not surprisingly, has since been appealed.
But what about the commercial value of a Facebook Like? Last month, a federal court in Michigan weighed in on this question. The case involved two nail-polish vendors, Lown Cos., LLC, and the unfortunately named Piggy Paint, LLC. Piggy Paint had 19,000 Likes on its Facebook page when it was taken down as a result of a trademark-infringement complaint that Lown filed with Facebook.
Piggy Paint was peeved.
Piggy Paint sued Lown, alleging a claim of tortious interference with business expectancy. The court, however, did not recognize the power of the Like and concluded that there was no immediate way for Piggy Paint to convert its Fans into customers. Particularly, the court noted that the page "did not offer any means of placing orders or doing business." As a result, the court found, Piggy Paint had not shown that it had lost any business and the alleged business expectancy was "too indefinite to form the basis of an actual expectation of business."
So, what say you, dear readers? Do Facebook fans have "real" commercial value? Or is it too difficult to estimate what value, if any, our Likes actually have?
Lown Companies LLC v. Piggy Paint LLC, No. 11-cv-911 (W.D. Mich., Aug. 9, 2012).
Lexis.com subscribers can access the Lexis enhanced version of the Lown Cos., LLC v. Piggy Paint, LLC, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 111527 (W.D. Mich. Aug. 9, 2012), decisions with summary, headnotes, and Shepard's.
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