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Complexions, a New York based spa, recently saw itself kicked off Facebook after a spa with the same name based in California complained about intellectual property infringement.
There was no prior notification.
As it turns out, Complexions is not alone. Dozens of business and well-known websites have been summarily kicked off Facebook for alleged infringement without a prior investigation by the social network.
Editors of Ars Technica, a popular website that covers technology and related policy (including intellectual property), was surprised to find that Facebook had removed their page Thursday morning.
The site took it upon itself to investigate the matter, finding that Facebook removed its page because a third party had claimed that the site had wrongfully posted its intellectual property.
The disputed property actually belongs to Ars Technica.
The fact is that Facebook is a private company, meaning that, on a basic level, it has a right to decide who can and cannot be on its network.
It can also decide whether it's worth the hassle of investigating complaints prior to taking action.
However, it's likely that Facebook's actions are tied to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The DMCA grants immunity to service providers who remove copyrighted material when an owner makes such a request.
Instead of requiring the service provider to investigate each request, the DMCA states that it is up to the alleged infringer to respond and demonstrate that the takedown was wrongful.
What this means for you is that, should your business be kicked off Facebook, it's your duty to respond, demonstrating that you have rightfully posted the disputed intellectual property.
Whether that's worth the time is up to you.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.