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Who owns your LinkedIn contacts?

An interesting article on Muddy Wall about the legal ownership of your LinkedIn contacts.

“Back in the day life was so simple. Mobile phones didn’t exist, your favourite 80’s pop star was still a good guy and all of your contacts were saved on your rollerdex which sat, OCD like, in a strict alphabetical order on your desk at work. Therefore, when it came time to change jobs it was as easy as packing up your Sony Walkman and rollerdex, and swanning into the sunset like John Wayne. Times however have changed.”

It reminded me of a drinks company we spoke to about their social strategy. We asked what would happen when the young people they promoted and sponsored, grew out of their target market and took off with their Facebook and Twitter followers. It wasn’t something they’d even considered but it got them thinking about the ownership of the Twitter account. I’m sure this isn’t a problem with a well managed transition though.

While the legal case mentioned in the article might now serve as a precedent I’m not sure it’s important where our contacts are stored but whether we’re allowed to make use of them when we’re no longer employed in or contracted to the company in which they were gained.

“A lot of employment contracts also contain non-solicitation or non-dealing clauses which restrict employees from approaching clients of the company for a certain period after their employment. This has proved a safer approach for companies wishing to take legal action against former employees where they may not have a social media policy in force.”



Image courtesy of Pexel