Now Someone Else Claims He Deserves That 84% Ownership Stake In Facebook

from the as-the-soap-opera-turns dept

The story of the guy who claims to hold a contract that means he owns 84% of Facebook keeps getting stranger. We already noted that Facebook's first official response in court was to say that it was unsure if Mark Zuckerberg signed the contract (which comes close to indicating they think he did...) but TechCrunch points us to an interview with the guy, Paul Ceglia, where it's also revealed that someone else now thinks they may actually hold the rights to that contract. Seriously.

Basically, when Ceglia hired Zuckerberg to do some work for him, in the contract that allegedly includes this ownership stake in Facebook, Ceglia was allegedly working for someone else. The article talks to a guy named Andrew Logan, who ran a competing service to the one that Ceglia had hired Zuckerberg to build. However, Ceglia was actually trying to set up that company while working for Logan, and Logan says that anything Ceglia got, he owns:
"We're going to lay claim that I own it," said Logan. "He was under contract to me."
Apparently the two were involved in a legal dispute over this in the past, and Logan's lawyers are reviewing the settlement agreement.

If you're playing along with the home game, this has to be at least the fifth or sixth person to claim they actually owned some large chunk of Facebook, but this time it's because of a bizarre contract Zuckerberg may have signed with a guy who had hired Zuckerber to program a totally unrelated project... and that guy was supposedly secretly building a competitor to the product of the company who employed him. So that employer now says that any rights to Facebook in that contract belong to him. If I didn't know any better, I'd almost assume this level of insanity was actually planted as marketing material for that fictional Facebook movie coming out this fall.

Separately, it is worth noting that the interview with Ceglia allows him to give a reason why he waited this long to point out this contract. He claims he totally forgot about it. The only reason it came up is because Ceglia is in a legal fight with New York over taking $200,000 from customers of a wood-pellet fuel business and never delivering any wood pellets. In the process of defending himself, he apparently went through some boxes of old files... where he claims to have found the contract.

Separately, after all this came to pass, Ceglia finally signed up for his first Facebook account:
After he filed his lawsuit, Ceglia did take enough interest in the company to sign up for a Facebook account on July 22, his birthday.

"I think it's a great service," he said.

Like many of the 500 million people who use Facebook, Ceglia said he's gotten back in touch with some old high school friends.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Tom Landry (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 4:27pm

    I can't fault the guy. If I thought I had a slim chance at getting a chunk of a billion dollar company I'd make a grab for it as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 4:38pm

    The only thing I know about things like Facebook is that I'm a prick and don't like social networks like Facebook(i.e. MySpace, Orkut...), I'm assuming Tweeter is a different breed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 4:55pm

    I'd have too much pride to pry that wait how many dollars again?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    Maybe I should try and get in on the action and suddenly claim that I own Facebook too. Perhaps we can try and figure out a way to claim we own Google while we're at it. What do you say?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Danny (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 5:57pm

    Springtime for Friendster

    "I'd almost assume this level of insanity was actually planted as marketing material for that fictional Facebook movie coming out this fall."

    All we need now is a beautiful Swede and some Nazi wannabees.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re:

    I own 84% of Facebook and so does my wife!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 3rd, 2010 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I just want my 1% and I'll be happy if I have to settle for 0.5% I guess I'll do it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 6:41am

    Jesus Christ....

    "After he filed his lawsuit, Ceglia did take enough interest in the company to sign up for a Facebook account on July 22, his birthday.

    "I think it's a great service," he said.

    Like many of the 500 million people who use Facebook, Ceglia said he's gotten back in touch with some old high school friends."

    Am I the only one that read that quote from the article and immediately thought of those weirdly worded Sim City 2000 newspaper articles that read like Mad Libs?

    I was immediately expecting a follow up sentence along the lines of, "Chance are 10000 out of 100 that this will effect Mayor Zuckerberg's reelection campaign. A Malevolent priest remarked, 'I could just spit an alligator'."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Ceglia may (sorta) have a case

    Assuming his story is accurate, if I were in Ceglia's position I might assert this as well.

    I've contracted many programmers over the years and although I don't try to claim everything the programmer does on his own time as mine, my contract does specify a limited noncompete. The agreement is that during the period of the contract, the programmer will not work on projects similar to the one being done for me. There is no automatic ownership, merely the right to sue for breach of contract and get damages. My terms are more lenient than is usual, but language covering this sort of thing will exist in even the most boilerplate contract.

    Assuming Ceglia's contract is identical to mine (for the sake of argument), and if Ceglia's project was very similar to Facebook, then he could claim that the damages are pretty large. Given also that he funded, to some extent, the early development of Facebook, taking a share of Facebook to cover the damages strikes me as just.

    However, I would never claim an ownership share in the company -- Facebook's success is not completely due to early software development. Maybe something like 10%.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 8:21am

    Re: Jesus Christ....

    Thank you for my belly laugh of the morning. You're absolutely right.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 4th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Ceglia may (sorta) have a case

    Damn it, I mean Logan, not Ceglia.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    Danny, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    My first question...

    Where were all these people a few years ago before anyone outside of college student even know what Facebook was? I find it odd that now AFTER the site has become so popular its inspired a moive people are coming out of the woodwork to claim it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Spartacus, Aug 4th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    I own facebook.

    I own Facebook

    (ok this is really from known coward, but you get the idea).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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