In a court of law, as a Katy, Texas man has found out the hard way. Jeremy Alcede owned the gun shop, Tactical Firearms, until he lost it last year in bankruptcy.
In early April, Chief U. S. Bankruptcy Judge Jeff Bohm ordered Alcede to turn over passwords to the Facebook and Twitter accounts for the business. In a 30-page opinion, the judge deemed the social media accounts and posts to be business assets.
The judge wrote that social media is a new territory for the courts, and this case has the potential to shape future disputes about the use of social media for business.
Alcede lost the store and shooting range last year, and says he “doesn’t give a damn” that his refusal to give the court his passwords landed him in a detention center. Even John Boyert, who managed the Facebook page, said he didn’t see much worth in the posts or followers on the account.
But the two men agreed that the question of ownership of the two accounts was worth standing their ground in bankruptcy proceedings. Tactical Firearms gained national attention after posting photos of a curbside sign with attacks on Barack Obama, which might also make one wonder if Alcede is being targeted.
The store has since been reorganized under Alcede’s former business partner, who has hired Boyert to manage the store under a new name, Boyert Shooting Center.
“This is a huge case for all entrepreneurs and business owners,” Boyert said.
Alcede said he wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t think it was serious. He has been locked up since April 9 in solitary confinement.
He appeared last week in court to see if Judge Bohm would reconsider his ruling and release Alcede from detention.
The judge did not reconsider, saying, “He holds the key to his jail cell.” He says that when Alcede turns over the passwords, he will be released from jail.
Alcede’s attorneys expect to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Will this make you think twice about how you use social media for business purposes?