Trying To Understand: Facebook's Lawsuit Against Power.com Makes No Sense
from the help-me-out-here... dept
Facebook has apparently sued social networking aggregator Power.com for a variety of things, including copyright and trademark infringement, unlawful competition and violation of the computer fraud and abuse act. I’m having trouble seeing how Power.com violates any of these things. Power.com, like plenty of other aggregator services, lets you bring together all your different social networking profiles in one spot. That seems like it could be valuable if you use a lot of those services. It doesn’t do anything fraudulently, and it does not appear to misrepresent that it is a separate service. Users have to decide whether it’s worth providing their username and password to Power.com, but it’s not as if Power.com tricks anyone into doing so or does so in a misleading way. There’s no confusion, so it’s difficult to see what the trademark problem is about. It seems like a pretty big stretch for Facebook to also claim that showing the content from a user’s profile is copyright infringement as well. Computer fraud? Please. Unlawful competition? Again, it may be (slightly) competitive, but it appears to actually improve the value of Facebook, rather than diminish it.
This is a pretty weak response from Facebook. Basically, it looks like Facebook trying to exert undue control over what other websites and services can do, and it’s not clear that it has any real legal basis for doing so. It’s a shame that a company like Facebook is becoming a legal bully at such a young age. I would have expected better. In the end, though, if Facebook keeps up actions like this, it will only hasten the shift to other social networks that don’t try to limit what their users can do. Facebook might want to take a lesson from the eventual flop of Friendster after that social network was accused of being too controlling.