Twitter Sued By User Who Wants @SunValley Back, Claims Twitter Acted Like Bully

twitter-legal-lawDid Twitter unfairly take away Leonard Barshack’s handle and give it to Central Idaho ski resort Sun Valley Co.? After using the Twitter handle @sunvalley since 2010, Barshack received an email from Twitter last year notifying him that a report had been filed declaring he was engaging in “non-parody impersonation” with his Twitter handle.

The Associated Press reports Twitter claimed Barshack was violating their policy that mandates an account’s profile information “make it clear that the creator of the account is not actually the same person or entity,” as the subject of the impersonation.

“I never tried to impersonate anybody,” Barshack told the AP. “Read my tweets. Is there any attempt to impersonate?”

Barshack admits that his Sun Valley handle included an image of a sun, much like Sun Valley Co.’s logo, but says that the image of the sun in the trademarked Sun Valley logo is positioned above and to the right, while Barshack’s sun image stood alone. The AP stated that Barshack had published a limited number of tweets on a variety of topics under his Sun Valley handle, but was planning to use his account to promote businesses in the region.

After only receiving boiler-plate responses from Twitter when appealing the company’s decision, Barshack decided to file a lawsuit in Idaho’s 5th District Court this month. “One day I woke up, and Twitter had taken my handle away,” said Barshack, “They just came and took my ball away. That’s being a bully.”

Barshack vs Twitter

Barshack is suing Twitter and the Sun Valley Co. to regain ownership of the @SunValley Twitter handle. Should he win, Barshack said the handle will not be for sale, “I have no interest in any monetary reward. I want what was unethically taken from me returned.”

A one-time Wall Street derivatives analyst at Salomon Brothers in NYC, Barshack was the founder of Bigfoot, an Internet email listing service he started in 1997 after winning financing from billionaires Sam Zell and Herb Allen. He’s also the founder of poker software company Tribeca Tables.

Barshack’s lawsuit against Sun Valley Co. and Twitter highlights how valuable branded Twitter accounts have become, and the lengths companies will go to possess Twitter handles that best represent their brand.

Both Twitter’s and Sun Valley’s lawyer declined to comment on the lawsuit for the AP story.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Legal: Copyright & Trademark | Social Media Marketing | Top News | Twitter | Twitter: Accounts & Profiles | Twitter: Legal | Twitter: Marketing


About The Author: is Third Door Media's General Assignment Correspondent, and reports on the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including,, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy's articles.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Marketing Day:

Get the top marketing stories daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Kilorad

    I didn’t even know there was some sort of impersonation recourse. I thought you were stuck with either developing a new appropriate Twitter handle, or attempting to buy off the one you want, like a parked domain name or something.

Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Marketing Land on Twitter @marketingland Like Marketing Land on Facebook Follow Marketing Land on Google+ Subscribe to Our Feed! Join our LinkedIn Group Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Marketing News!

Marketing Day is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!