12:52pm PT by Eriq Gardner
Teen Who Created OMGFacts Twitter Feed Gets Victory On Path To Reclaiming Control
Remember Adorian Deck, the teenager who created a hit Twitter feed, @OMGFacts, publishing titillating tidbits about celebrities and pop culture, only to lose intellectual property of his creation to a digital development company hoping to take advantage of the teenager's millions of followers?
Deck has just been given a big boost towards reclaiming full control and exploitation of @OMGFacts after a California federal judge denied an attempt to dismiss or transfer his lawsuit.
Deck's @OMGFacts Twitter account continues to be popular with tweets such as "During the 2002 Iraqi election, Saddam Hussein's campaign song was Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You.'" and "The time machine in Back to the Future was originally intended to be a refrigerator."
Created in 2009, this Twitter feed became part of a "joint partnership agreement" between Deck and Emerson Spartz of Spartz Inc., which has commercialized a number of websites, mobile sites, and apps.
The partnership over OMG Facts happened during the burgeoning "Twitter Gold Rush" where a number of popular feeds got scooped up for TV development in Hollywood. In this instance, Spartz intended to create a website and YouTube channel utilizing the trademark and profit from merchandising.
But despite the burgeoning popularity of OMG Facts, Deck maintained that he only had gotten a paltry $100 for his efforts, which led to what the judge terms Deck's "OMG-moment" realizing the need to cancel the contract.
Deck argued that the contract that assigned Spartz the IP and didn't require Spartz to disclose revenue was "unconscionable and unenforceable," particularly because he was a minor at the time he signed it.
In reaction, Spartz moved to dismiss the lawsuit or move it to Indiana, where Spartz is based and where the parties had agreed to adjudicate contractual disputes.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John Mendez dismissed that motion, pointing to the fact that Spartz is a California resident and the forum selection clause is immaterial if the contract at large is being rejected. Judge Mendez also seems to credit Spartz' minor status at the time of signing sufficient to disaffirm the agreement.
"This is a rough result for Spartz," writes Venkat Balasubramani, a tech lawyer in Seattle. "The court pretty much nukes the agreement, and this does not put Spartz in a great position in the dispute. It looks like control over the @OMGFacts brand will revert to Deck, and the parties will probably resolve this dispute in short order."