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Eye On Boise

Twitter tussle tossed out of court

An Idaho judge has dumped a complaint by an Internet entrepreneur and former Wall Street analyst accusing the Sun Valley resort and Twitter Inc. of stealing his handle, the AP reports. Leonard Barshack contended that he wasn't trying to impersonate the resort by long tweeting under the name “Sun Valley,” but the judge disagreed; at the resort's behest, Twitter deemed Barshack's account to be forbidden “non-parody impersonation.” Barshack now tweets under the Twitter handle “iwassunvalley,” the AP reports; click below for the full report from reporter John Miller. 

Idaho judge tosses Twitter tussle over Sun Valley
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho judge has dumped a complaint by an Internet entrepreneur and former Wall Street analyst accusing the Sun Valley resort and Twitter Inc. of stealing his handle.

Fifth District Judge Robert Elgee dismissed Leonard Barshack's lawsuit with prejudice, according to documents on Idaho's court website.

Barshack, who founded the Internet email listing service Bigfoot, sued Sun Valley and Twitter in May after losing his “Sun Valley” name on the social media site.

Earlier, the company had told Barshack that his account bearing the name was engaged in “non-parody impersonation,” something forbidden by San Francisco-based Twitter. Its policy 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.

Company spokesman Jim Prosser said Thursday his company was pleased with the outcome of the lawsuit.

Among other things, Elgee said in his Sept. 24 ruling that a claim that Twitter broke a contract established when Barshack set up his original handle was without merit.

Barshack, who now tweets using the handle “iwassunvalley,” insisted Thursday the case wasn't yet over, even while conceding the judge's judgment, issued Sept. 24, appeared to be a “resounding defeat.”

Barshack declined to comment on whether he might pursue the matter further.

“I can't talk about the story for about a week,” he said from his home in Ketchum, near the resort.

Barshack accompanied his “SunValley” handle with the image of a sun, much like the one the 77-year-old destination resort in the Idaho mountains employs to market itself.

As part of his bid to have the handle returned to him, Barshack insisted he wasn't seeking to impersonate the resort, merely to opine on matters important to him or the community in 140 characters or less, as Twitter requires.

Sun Valley spokesman Jack Sibbach didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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