BLACKSBURG, VA – SEPTEMBER 30: A general view of Lane Stadium prior to the game between the Virginia Tech Hokies and Clemson Tigers on September 30, 2017 in Blacksburg, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)Lawsuits happen in college football, but here is one you never see. A newspaper is suing one of its former employees for ownership of his Twitter account.According to a new report from Richmond.com, the Roanoke Times filed suit against Andy Bitter in U.S. District Court on Tuesday morning. The outcome of the suit will determine whether or not Bitter, a former Virginia Tech reporter for the paper, owns his Twitter account (@AndyBitterVT).Bitter left the Roanoke Times earlier this year to join The Athletic. The suit claims that Bitter was asked to cede control of his account over to the paper, but has refused to do so.Here are some more details:The lawsuit cites the precedent that Bitter had inherited the handle from the previous reporter, Kyle Tucker, and that Bitter signed acknowledgement of the company handbook which stated that the account was company property. At the time Tucker handed the account over to Bitter, the paper was a part of Landmark Media Enterprises. It was sold to BH Media in 2013.According to the lawsuit, the account was created in Aug. 2010 by Tucker, who was with the Virginian-Pilot at the time, and was handed over to Bitter in Oct. 2011. Bitter transitioned to The Roanoke Times after the paper was sold by Landmark to BH Media.This suit sets an interesting precedent, especially with how often reporters change jobs. It will be interesting to see how the ruling impacts future practices between reporters and the outlets that employ them.This is why my handle has never included anything about an employer or anything else. If somebody took me to court, I could quote Marlo Stanfield: My name is my name. https://t.co/AczkSFQL1f— Andy Staples (@Andy_Staples) August 7, 2018Considering Tucker created the account, and later turned it over, it seems the Roanoke Times has a good case.
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