Everybody Wants A Piece Of Facebook
I’ve written before about the legal fight between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the Winkelvoss twins over the rights to the social media behemoth. The Winkelvoss challenge is over, thanks to a Ninth Circuit ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review that ruling. But the Winkelvoss twins aren’t the only ones claiming an ownership interest in Facebook. Paul Ceglia, who hired then Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg to work on Ceglia’s StreetFax product, claims that as part of that deal, he invested $1000 in Facebook, and is, for that reason entitled to over half ownership. But according to this piece from Wired, Ceglia may soon be out the picture too. Facebook claims that in its review of electronic discovery in the litigation, it has found the authentic contract between Zuckerberg and Ceglia. And that contract doesn’t provide for any investment or ownership interest. Ceglia’s response is interesting. He says the contract, and about 100 other documents recently unearthed in discovery, are subject to a confidentiality agreement between Ceglia and Zuckerberg that precludes their use in the litigation. Um, good luck with that one Mr. C. I see at least two flaws with that argument. First, courts usually take the reasonable position that private parties can’t trump the subpoena power of the court. Second, courts don’t like it when one party gets an unfair advantage. Ceglia picked this fight. Having done so, he can’t fall back on a confidentiality provision that would prevent Zuckerberg from making his case. I’ve not seen Ceglia’s Facebook profile, but if he refers to himself there as a co-owner of Facebook, I think he’s going to need to update that pretty soon.