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Ferrari in a fight with a 21-year old for control of official Facebook page


Facebook pages have become in the past few years a great boon for companies, helping to increase their brand’s awareness across the globe. Even though companies are now very involved in social media, in the early days fans were those who set up pages for the brands they loved.

Sammy Wasem was one such fan, starting a Ferrari fan page six years ago that steadily went on to become one of the most popular car pages on Facebook.

Now however, Wasem is filing a criminal complaint against Ferrari SpA, for copyright infringement because he lost control of the page. Ferrari sued him arguing that he misused the company’s trademark to advertise non-Ferrari merchandise, and also for personal messages such as invitiations for Wasem’s 18th birthday.

The point of view of Ferrari is that they don’t like when others use Ferrari’s intellectual property to make money out of it – according to Stefano Lai, a spokesperson for the carmaker. He also added that the company has not been informed of any criminal complaint. In his defense Wasem says that he never made any money selling merchandise via the Facebook page.

The first contact between Ferrari and Wasem took place in March 2009 when the latter got an e-mail congratulating him for gaining more than a half a million fans within a year of creating the Ferrari fan page. The company also said that it was now forced to take over the formal administration of the page because of legal issues.

The Wasem family agreed to make the page an official fan page for Ferrari, but then the company named managers for the page without communicating with the Wasems. The family also started working on the page after that without getting the terms they wanted in writing, in particular financial compensation to help fund Wasem’s racing career. This situation continued for four years with the family eventually losing administration rights and in February 2013 they filed a civil lawsuit claiming compensation for more than 5,500 hours of work – somewhere around $11 million.

We’re very curious as to how this will conclude, so we’ll keep you posted when we find out.

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