BET 'The Game', Stacey Mattocks: South Fla. woman sues network over Facebook page

MIAMI (AP) -- A South Florida woman is suing the Black Entertainment Television network in a dispute over a Facebook page she developed to promote the show "The Game."

Attorneys for Stacey Mattocks, who lives in Broward County, say in court papers that BET wrongly took control of the page after the two sides failed to reach a financial agreement. BET wants the lawsuit dismissed, contending Mattocks hasn't raised any valid legal claims.

Mattocks says one measure of her page's value was the 7.7 million "likes" it amassed by summer 2012. BET counters that the number of "likes" are not grounds for her to win damages in the lawsuit.

A preliminary scheduling hearing on the case is set for Thursday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale.

According to BET, "The Game" is a show that "follows the lives of professional football players and their significant others as they navigate game, family and friends." It has been renewed for a seventh season in 2014.

The show was originally on the CW network but was canceled in 2009. In her lawsuit, Mattocks said she "continued to aggressively promote" the show on the Facebook page in hopes another network would pick it up - which BET did in 2010.

After that, BET began paying Mattocks $30 an hour for freelance social media work, according to her lawsuit. The network made several offers for the Facebook page, but the two sides could not reach an agreement.

Eventually, BET and Mattocks reached an agreement in February 2011 allowing the network access to the Facebook page and promising not to exclude her. BET made another offer to pay her more than $4,100 a month for a three-year period, which she rejected. She then decided in summer 2012 to "demote" BET's administrative access to the page.

It was then that BET terminated its agreement with Mattocks, and her page was removed from Facebook's site. BET's own Facebook page for "The Game" grew quickly to more than 6.2 million "likes," according to the lawsuit.

Mattocks is asking for unspecified damages for several claims, including breach of contract and "breach of good faith and fair dealing."

In its response, BET contends that it was Mattocks who violated their agreement over use of the Facebook page when she restricted the network's access. BET's attorney say in court papers that the network was "seeking to protect its intellectual property by halting what it concluded was (Mattocks') unauthorized use of that property."

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