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The Battle Over Control Of A Popular Facebook Fan Page For BET's Hit Series 'The Game'

Television
by Tambay A. Obenson
July 23, 2013 6:08 PM
2 Comments
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Wow! Who knew all this has been going on behind-the-scenes of one of BET's cash cows? I certainly didn't. Then again, it's not a show that I watch, so this could be a battle that fans of The Game might already be intimately familiar with.

For the rest of us, The Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive on the intriguing full story. 

In short, in 2008, Stacey Mattocks (who was, at the time, in no way affiliated with the series or the network that aired it then) created a Facebook fan page for what would later become a hit BET program. Since then, the fan page not only amassed a significant number of *likes* (over 6 million), it's also been at the center of a battle for control between both Mattocks and BET brass - one that's apparently now heading to the courthouse.

Here's a sample of the THR piece:

Mattocks said she first created a fan page on Facebook in 2008, and by the time BET picked up the show, it had 750,000 "likes." As BET prepared to debut the show, the Facebook page helped create "buzz," and grew at approximately 100,000 "likes" per week. For her work, Mattocks says that BET agreed to pay her $30 per hour to work as a social media "freelancer." But the network wanted more. "BET was searching for a more 'permanent' way to capitalize on the FB Page and Mattocks' efforts," says the lawsuit. "Therefore, on December 15, 2010, BET submitted a proposed contract to Mattocks that would have paid her a maximum of $85,000.00 over a one year period. Mattocks declined this offer because it was unreasonably low, would have stripped her of all rights to the FB Page, and, moreover, could have been terminated at any point by BET, with or without cause."

It gets even more interesting, so you're encouraged to read it.

As they note, the lawsuit raises a number of legal questions related to the contributions of social media to the success of media (film, TV, music etc), matters of copyright when it comes to control over fan-produced social media assets, and much more! It's all especially worth paying attention in an age when social media has arguably become immensely instrumental to the success (or failure) of TV shows. Over 6 million *likes* is nothing to sneeze at.

See Scandal as a good example.

Head on over to THR to read the piece HERE.

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2 Comments

  • ChezCerise | July 24, 2013 12:56 PMReply

    I've been a follower if that page since before "The Game" was on BET. It started as sort of a "bring The Game back" petition. It was seriously a true "fan" page in that it was ran by an actual fan. Crazy that they would use her to get the word out and then expect her to just step aside.

  • ALM | July 23, 2013 9:16 PMReply

    This is my first time hearing of this lawsuit. I watched "The Game" every week when it was on the CW, but I stopped watching as soon as they moved to BET.

    This is a mess. BET had prior knowledge of the site, and basically used Ms. Mattocks to exponentially increase the show's popularity via online "word of mouth". They let her do the heavy lifting, and now they want to take control of everything.

    In reading the larger article, Ms. Mattocks did grant BET manager access at some point, and then she had to demote them. BET has also had the page shut down multiple times.

    This is one of my many issues with BET. If they wanted to buy all access to the site, why pay such a low fee? If they offered Ms. Mattocks a fair offer, this would not have been an issue. It will be something to see how this plays out. This is definitely a David vs. Goliath battle.

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