Did you know that Facebook “likes” could be illegal? Accordig to a federal judge, Lucy Koh, a lawsuit against Facebook is allowed to continue. The lawsuit claims that sponsored stories, where people like the stories are in violation of California’s Right of Publicity Statute, which says that permission must be given to use a photo or name of a person.
“[The] plaintiffs have articulated a coherent theory of how they were economically injured by the misappropriation of their names, photographs and likeness,” she wrote in her ruling.
Judge Koh’s decision means that plaintiffs may pursue claims that the company’s sponsored ads violate state law and are fraudulent, however the report ads that she did dismiss a claim that it is “unjustly enriching” itself through its sponsored advertising.
Frank Reed at Marketing Pilgrim had an interesting comment:
It is obviously Facebook’s desire to take every bit of information they gather from their users and turn it into dollars. Wait, you mean the company’s altruistic PR about connecting the world and making it a better place isn’t the real reason that they do what they do, you ask? No, Virginia, it’s not and Santa isn’t real either. Facebook always tries to come off as the kid who didn’t realize that what they were doing might be wrong. They exemplify the “ask for forgiveness rather than permission” mantra that runs through many Internet players.