Who owns a Facebook page when a business goes bankrupt?

Business Owner Who Refused To Turn Over Facebook Account Passwords Arrested For Contempt Of (Bankruptcy) Court
[Via Techdirt]

A Texas man apparently spent seven hours in police custody over a Facebook page password.

Jeremy Alcede doesn’t own Tactical Firearms shooting center anymore. Soon, he might not even own his Facebook page password.

Alcede was ordered to hand over his Facebook page’s password to the new owners when the business went bankrupt. He refused to provide it and was subsequently arrested for contempt of court on Wednesday.

That’s the short version of what happened. Alcede contends that he was forced out of ownership by the actions of the new owner of Tactical Firearms, Steven “Coe” Wilson. His refusal to sign refinancing papers pushed the business into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Wilson brought in the owner of a former competitor to run the shop (which Wilson apparently intends to rename) and has demanded, via the bankruptcy proceedings, the password to Alcede’s Facebook page. (According to Alcede’s post on Facebook, he has already given up/lost control of his tacticalfirearm.us email account.)

Alcede, obviously unhappy with this turn of events, has refused to turn it over. Alcede is already somewhat famous (along with his former business) for the polarizing statements he has posted on Tactical Firearms’ outdoor sign, including “I like my guns like Obama likes his immigrants: undocumented.” Alcede has also built up a solid following on Facebook. Obviously, the new owners would like to harness Alcede’s steam, but he’s not really OK with that.


Interesting to say the least. Can someone be forced to turnover the password or go to jail? WHat kind of relief is there?

I wonder if they wanted to control the original page and all those who followed it. If so, how much value is there in that?

Interesting questions that I do not really trust our judiciary to figure out correctly.