Username Jacking: Tips and Tricks When Jacked Yourself by Ashley Rhoads

Username Jacking has been at the forefront of conversation in the realm of Intellectual Property Law for quite some time. In summation, username jacking exists when individuals or brands, usually of popularity or prominence, go to register a website or social media account for themselves and discover that another individual or brand has registered the account first. Of course, this could occur coincidentally. However, intentional username jacking happens all the time, and it usually ends with the prominent figure or brand having to buy out the registered owner for a large amount of money.

Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut method of resolution for this problem. So, the question remains, how do you navigate this problem when it happens to you? For starters, you can evaluate the Terms of Use for a social media platform and find out if they have protections in place for this type of activity. Websites have varying methods of resolution, whether it be requiring account owners to identify themselves as “parody” accounts, or removal of the account entirely.  Additionally, there is legal recourse available, but not without a cost. Social media platforms are protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency act, so your best bet for legal action is to try to identify the account owner and pursue a lawsuit directly. Big brands, however, can take legal action in the form of a trademark infringement lawsuit, which can provide a more clear cut path for getting the fake account removed.

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