Marty B In A Snit Over Facebook Page

If you’re like me and you listen to a lot of the Reds on radio, you know that Sean Casey is right when he describes Marty (as he did last night) as “cantankerous.” You don’t hear that word a lot, but it fits. That’s not a criticism, because I love the guy, it’s just an observation. And Marty is really cantankerous right now because someone has created a Facebook page posing as Marty. This is not to be confused with other Facebook pages, such as “Marty Brennaman is AWESOME” or “Marty Brennaman is Just Jealous.” Those pages reference Marty, but don’t pretend to be him. Anyway, Marty is TICKED OFF, and not just at the imposter, but also at Facebook. It seems Marty has discovered that you simply don’t talk to human beings when you have a problem with a social network site. It’s all done via e-mail. For an old school guy like Marty, that is annoying. Anyway, the question is, what can Marty do about it? The answer may be not much. Here’s a very good blog post (from a blog that features Tim Armstrong, a professor at UC Law School) that talks about the issue of celebrity impersonations generally, and about an incident involving Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa in particular. LaRussa ran into a similar problem when someone created a fake Twitter account. LaRussa sued Twitter on a trademark claim, and he either settled or threw in the towel, depending on who you believe (being a big Reds fan/Cardinal hater, I prefer to believe he threw in the towel, but that’s just me). There are reasons why LaRussa proceeded on a trademark claim, which you can read on the link, but typically, a trademark claim looks to stop a “use in commerce.” I’m not sure that an imposter who apparently is not selling anything fits that bill. That’s generally the same with a right of publicity claim – there the celebrity seeks to stop someone from cashing in on the celebrity’s fame. But again, the Facebook imposter seems to be doing this for fun, not profit. I suppose Marty could make a claim for defamation, but only if the imposter makes an offensive comment or otherwise makes people think less of Marty (like if he says “I love the Cardinals”). Failing that, it may be one of those situations with no remedy. Which will no doubt make Marty even more upset.