Now This is coming into play given on what happens when a staff member leaves a company.

THE CLAIMS ARE SERIOUS. Misappropriation under the Defend Trade Secrets Act and the Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Stored Communications Act, and the Virginia Computer Crimes Act. Conversion and breach of fiduciary duty.

All because a sports reporter took his Twitter account with him when he left his newspaper.

The short version is that Andy Bitter, who covered Virginia Tech football for The Roanoke Times, resigned in July 2018 to join the sports-news website The Athletic, which has been poaching talent from local media. While at the Times, Bitter had used a Twitter account to share his stories, break news, and engage with readers. He had more than 27,000 followers when he left.

Bitter declined requests from the Times’s parent company, BH Media Group, to hand over his login information—and he has continued to use that account at The Athletic. BH Media, which says it owns the account, is suing Bitter in federal court, making the many claims listed above. The company has also filed a motion asking the court to prevent Bitter from using the account. And to make things more interesting, just over a week ago, Bitter countersued BH Media for defamation.

It’s a messy case, factually. BH Media says it owns the account because another reporter created it in 2010, “within the scope of his employment” for a partner paper, before resigning and returning the account to his employer. Bitter was hired in 2011 on the same beat, at which point he received the account’s login information. A story in the Times suggested that the paper provided it to Bitter, who disputes that and says he received it by email from the reporter who created the account—an email sent from his predecessor’s personal address to Bitter’s personal address.